Wellington's location in central New Zealand gained the role of the capital in 1865. Today, the Parliament and the Beehive building are national icons. Wellington is approximately 8 and a half hours from Auckland by road, and about an hour by air. The South Island is a scenic three-hour ferry ride across the Cook Strait (Cook Strait is the strait between the North Island and South Island of New Zealand. Named after James Cook, who was the first European to browse it).
The city of Wellington is wedged between steep hills and the sea. Rugged mountain ranges (the Rimutakas and the Tararuas) hover over the harbor. The diversity of natural resources means that within 10-15 minutes you can be hiking or mountain biking in native bush, or kayaking along the coast.
The capital's location has created a central business district that encourages the famous coffee and craft beer culture. The creative, IT, education and government sectors combine in a way that means there's always something going on.
economy and industry
Like the capital, Wellington is home to many national institutions and government agencies. In recent years, Wellington has developed film and digital technology industries with archives such as The Hobbit, King Kong, The Lord of the Rings and Avatar being produced here. Tertiary education and research are other important contributors to the local economy.
Average summer highs range between 17-21°C, while winter highs average around 9-10°C. In general, temperatures rarely rise above 25°C or fall below 4°C. However, falling temperatures in the south can make the temperature much cooler. Temperatures tend to be warmer north on the Kapiti Coast. The city is also relatively windy, affected by gusts channeled through the Cook Strait.
Wellington is cosmopolitan: only Auckland is more ethnically diverse. Average salaries and education levels are high, supporting a thriving arts and cultural community with many galleries, museums, theaters and festivals. The city is known for great restaurants and its coffee culture - it has more cafes per head than New York.