Wellington is New Zealand's capital, and the terminus for all traffic from the South Island. The city is sandwiched between green hills and the waterfront, and anyone arriving by road is delivered right into its high-rise heart, within a stone's throw of Lambton Quay, the main business and shopping street.  Lambton then doubles back north to meet Molesworth Street, Thorndon and the Parliament District. The Harbour, with its merging main roads of Quay, Customhouse, Jervois, Cable Street and Oriental Parade, sweeps back south and east, encompassing the modern, revitalised waterfront. Here the main landmark is the Te Papa Museum, the city's top tourist atttraction. From the heart of the waterfront south, Willis and Jervois connect with Victoria, Cuba and Courtenay Place, lined with restaurants and cafes. Behind the Central Business District (CBD) are the Botanic Gardens and hillside suburbs of Kelburn, and dominating the view southeast is Mount Victoria, an ideal place to get your bearings.




According to Maori legend Kupe, the great Polynesian explorer, landed here in about AD950. The first European ships to arrive were the Rosanna and the Lambton, on a preliminary exploration for the first New Zealand Company in 1826, and the first settlers came in 1839 and 1840. The original community was in the area that is now Thorndon. A major earthquake in 1855 created new, flat land suitable for building, and Wellington began to prosper. It became the capital in 1865 and takes its name from Arthur Wellesley, the I st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852).



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