The capital, at the southern tip of the North Island, is a cosmopolitan centre of government and commerce. It is known for its winds, its winding streets, and its homes clinging to the hillsides, but above all, its harbour.
Wellington has one of the most beautiful harbours in the world and rejoices in the motto, ioSuprema a situlr, supreme by site. The original site was the flat delta shaped land at Petone. The town was then called Britannia, making New Zealand’s major cities start with the letters A, B, C, and D (Auckland, Britannia, Christchurch, and Dunedin). Wellington became the capital in 1865 when the seat of government was transferred from Auckland. Until the earthquake of 1855 most of the land now lying between Lambton Quay and the waterfront did not exist. The Hutt motorway and the railway now runs along an uplifted part of the seabed. The Port of Wellington serves other New Zealand ports and provides links with other parts of the world. It is the North Island terminal for the Cook Strait ferry service.
There are many places of interest and many buildings to visit including Parliament with its dynamic-shaped annexe. Others include the Beehive, the Victoria University and National Museum, the National Art Gallery and one of the world’s largest wooden buildings, the old Government Buildings. Good views of the city are obtained from Mount Victoria and also by taking the cable car to Kelburn. Oriental Bay is an attractive inner city beach just a few minutes walk from the central business district.