The capital city of New Zealand, Wellington is located on North Island's southernmost peninsular tip overlooking Cook Strait. The urban conurbation is made up of four cities, Wellington itself with its harbour, Porirua with its Maori and Pacific Islander residents and the Hutt Valley community. Voted in 2011 as one of the world's top ten cities for visitors, Wellington is known for its laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals.
The city is a living example of New Zealand's multicultural population, and is a cultural hub for music, dance, the dramatic and visual arts, movies and festivals. The stunning natural beauty of these unique islands surrounds the city, offering golden beaches, mountain ranges and fertile plains perfect for exploring with a rented campervan. In spite of New Zealand's short history as a unified country, there's plenty to see in Wellington as regards heritage buildings, museums and long-established gardens.
For the best views of the cityscape and harbour, the Wellington Cable Car runs from the Botanic Garden to Lambton Quay, and the Cable Car Museum holds the original, vintage cars and machinery used pre-1987. The timber edifice at Old St Paul's Cathedral, now replaced by a contemporary version, is of interest and the huge, also wooden, Old Government Buildings are found opposite the present Parliament building.
For Victorian and Edwardian architecture as well as a plethora of shoportunities, waterfront Lambton Quay is the place, and the pedestrianised Cuba Mall area is home to nightlife, pubs, bars and restaurants as well as street performers. The Colonial Cottage Museum, dating from 1858, is a genuine pioneer cottage, the oldest structure in the city, and is included in the Heritage Highlights Tour of Wellington's historic landmarks.
After you've visited the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, more insight into the country's Maori and Pacific Island heritage is found via a 26km- drive to Porirua along State Highway 1. Here you'll find the Pataka art gallery and museum and Takapuwahia Marae, the headquarters of the Maori Ngati Toa tribe, set on tribal land adjacent to the harbour.
Wellington Waterfront Motorhome Park boasts the most central location of all the city's campervan sites. Just minutes from bars, restaurants, theatres and other attractions, the site is modern, clean and offers all the usual facilities.
Capital Gateway Motor Inn is found on the edge of the city centre in Newlands suburb, set on grassy lawns with picnic tables. Facilities include a modern kitchen block, licensed restaurant, TV room, bathrooms with hot showers and disabled access, and there's a pub just outside the complex.
Waitarere Beach Motor Camp is located right on the beach in the Wellington suburb of Lower Hutt and is a popular site for family holidays. There's a swimming pool, swings, slides and plenty of space for kids to play, and tennis courts, eateries, bars and stores are within a short walk.
A car isn't necessary in the city's core, as it's small enough to explore on foot and the one-way systems can be slightly confusing. However, traffic isn't heavy outside rush hours, and parking is easily found in metered streets and multi-storey car parks. Suburban parking is free for the first two hours.
- Speed limits in the city: 50kph.
- Speed limits on national roads: 100/kph.
- Help number: 111