Sprawling around a hook-shaped peninsula, Wellington is a vibrant and energetic seaside capital. A compact, well-stocked city of buzzing bars and chatting cafes, New Zealand's capital is a bright and breezy place with an infectious, easy-going atmosphere. Known as the creative hub of the South Pacific, there are shows to see, art installations to enjoy, and rich flavours to savour here.
The sounds of rare and beautiful birdlife fill the hills around the city, and the bush of the green belt provides easy-to-access sanctuary, strolls and cycle rides. The Botanical Gardens break up the buildings, even more, while an iconic, cherry-red cable car rumbles up Wellington's slope to the city's best viewpoint, looking out over the city's scenic harbour from above. Zealandia has provided an urban home for rare and endangered birdlife, bringing many species back from the brink. Varied museums cover everything from Maori traditions to earthquake simulations and even the real-life Kraken - a displayed colossal squid.
Wellington is only New Zealand's third-biggest city, but spend some time here and you'll realise that's a blessing. Eminently strollable, you can stop in at countless cool cafes to top up your caffeine levels whenever your energy is flagging - the smell of a fresh artisan espresso is never far away. The wines grown nearby are revered, and the city's craft beers are also making waves. Wander the breezy waterfront, and admire the surfers riding the wind-whipped rollers of the self-proclaimed 'coolest little capital in the world'.