Where the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films were made, Wellington replaced Auckland as New Zealand's capital in 1865. In 1893, Wellington passed in parliament the "Electoral Act 1893" which gave women the vote and was the first country in the world to do so. Sitting on the north island's southernmost point overlooking the Cook Strait, the waterfront city is sophisticated and dynamic. It is however in direct line of the strong winter winds off the Strait, hence its nickname of "Windy Wellington". It is actually the southernmost capital in the world and has over 400 cafes which when put on a per capita basis, rivals New York as a foodie haven. According to legend, Parliament Building known as "The Beehive" was drawn on a napkin, no doubt over a long lunch at one of the many restaurants in town, with no thought that it would one day be built. Close to the harbor, Lambton Quay was built on reclaimed swamp caused by a land upheaval in the harbor during a massive earthquake in 1855.
It is a city of steep streets with the locals who prefer to walk everywhere being some of the fittest in New Zealand. There are over 50,000 hectares of parks and forests to explore. For the history buff, the oldest building in Wellington is the Colonial College in Nairn Street, Mount Cook that dates back to 1858. If you want to know a bit more about New Zealand's history head to the National Museum, "Te Papa" or to get the photo opportunity to make your friends green with envy, go to Mount Victoria Lookout. Walk via the town belt greenery and watch the boats in the harbor or the planes at Wellington Airport as you go. You can ride the historic Wellington cable car or meander along the waterfront dotted with sculptures and locals out for a jog or a bike ride.
Don't forget that with so many restaurants dotted around the town, the productive farmland in the north and the seafood straight from the ocean, you will have to spend numerous hours feeding your stomach. When you can't stand the sight of any more food remember this is the "craft beer capital" and head to the Garage Project for a taste of whatever is brewing when you walk in. You can even take in your own flagon for a fill-up or laze around the grass outdoors sculling a few different flavored brews.
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