Wellington

Located at the end of a large, natural deep-water harbour, Wellington is known for its steep hills which have largely stopped further development of the city. Although its population is considered to be around a third of a million, less than half of these people live in Wellington itself, with the rest living in satellite cities in the Hutt Valley and Porirua.

New Zealand's capital, Wellington, is situated at the Southwest tip of the North Island at the end of a large natural harbour. Houses cling to steep hillsides surrounding the city which, with little suitable land to expand on, has in recent decades spilled out into the Hutt Valley and Porirua. When the cities of Upper and Lower Hutt and Porirua are included with Wellington, it becomes the country's second largest city with around a third of a million people. The scat of government was transferred from Auckland to Wellington in 1865, and to this day there is still rivalry between the two. The main government buildings comprise the self-descriptive Beehive, a circular building of concentric floors, each one smaller than the previous, which was opened in 1977; and the 1920s building housing the Legislation Chamber.

Wellington has a sophisticated cafe and restaurant scene and a strong artistic and cultural contingent. The International Festival of the Arts is held biannually, celebrating various arts including theatre and opera, as well as fringe and alternative arts. Costing hundreds of millions of dollars, the massive museum of New Zealand Te Papa opened in 1998. The museum, with 36,000m2 of virtual reality and interactive displays (taking a recommended five days to see), charts the history and identity of New Zealand.

Wellington is an artistic and cultural city, and has also become known for its fine restaurants and cafes. The International Festival of the Arts is held biannually, celebrating various arts including theatre and opera, as well as fringe and alternative arts.

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