Occupying the southern tip of the North Island of New Zealand, the Wellington Region refers to an area of land covering over 20,720 square kilometres and containing over 504,000 inhabitants. It holds the capital of the country, Wellington, which includes the other main cities Upper Hutt, Porirua and Lower Hutt. Natural beauty fills the region with 497 kilometres of stunning coastline and 500 square kilometres of regional parks and forests, making the area popular with visitors from around the world.
The Wellington Region contains numerous popular beaches, and visitors can embrace the fine sands and blue seas along the Kapiti Coast which lies in the shadow of the Rimutaka and Tararua mountain ranges. For a forested landscape, visitors can hike in five large regional parks including Queen Elizabeth Park, a stretch of wetlands and dunes offering endless opportunities to walk, cycle, swim, or simply relax and enjoy the view. The capital, Wellington, is best for nightlife, art and culture, hosting a range of museums, impressive botanical gardens, zoos, galleries and cathedrals, all in a beautiful coastal location.
Wellington Region has a range of transport services, including buses, trains and ferries, and even a cable car in the capital city, all of which have long distance links to other cities of New Zealand. The region has low rates of car ownership, yet the roads remain well equipped for drivers. Wellington International Airport serves the region.
The Maori People formerly occupied the land of the Wellington Region, who knew it as “the head of Maui’s fish”. Legend says that Kupe explored the area in the 10th century, a tribal wanderer believed to have discovered New Zealand for the Polynesian People. European settlers arrived in 1839, and it became the capital of the province in 1853 and the capital of the country in 1865.