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Windy Wellington

Aprile 2019
A prima vista sembra una città tranquilla, ma è solo apparenza! Venti forti, rischio di terremoti, stelle del cinema e caffè la rendono piena di imprevedibili avventure.

di Alex Phillips

The capital of New Zealand since 1865, Wellington replaced Auckland, a more populous city to the north that still covets the title. Wellington is certainly the more scenic: located on the southernmost point of North Island on the Cook Strait, it has a waterfront promenade, sandy beaches and colourful houses on the surrounding hills. The city centre is very compact. Over 18,000 of the city’s residents walk or jog to work.

SCOTCH HUMOUR?

Wellington is home to New Zealand’s Parliament, known locally as The Beehive. It was built by the Scottish architect Basil Spence in 1964, and some people say that it was sketched on a napkin or on a cigarette packet as a joke! Parliament’s grounds are open to the public. They have rose and camellia gardens, beautiful iron gates, many flags and commemorative statues and plaques. For a more in-depth history of Wellington and New Zealand, head to the expansive Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

WINDS AND EARTHQUAKES

The capital is known as Windy Wellington, as strong winds blow in over the Cook Strait all year round. New Zealand suffers many earthquakes, and Wellington, with a fault line running through it, is a high-risk zone. The largest recorded earthquake to have hit the country was in 1855 and measured 8.2 on the Richter scale. The quake lifted the lower part of North Island by up to three metres!

CABLE CARS

When Wellington was made capital, it began to expand very quickly and there was a shortage of housing. Many residents now live on the surrounding hills. The iconic red Wellington Cable Car, a funicular railway inaugurated in 1902, connects Lambton Quay, the city’s main shopping street, and Kelburn, a suburb in the hills 120 metres up. Some residents even have personal cable cars to reach their hilltop homes, which are inaccessible by car.

LORD OF THE HILLS

Miramar is Wellington’s most famous hilltop suburb as it is New Zealand’s version of Hollywood! Filmmaking is a big industry in the region. The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson lives in this area and his studio is located here. He doesn’t need a cable car, though, as he has a private jet. Film-making has created thousands of jobs in the region, and has contributed greatly to the country’s economy.

ESCAPE TO WILD ISLAND

For great views, head up Mount Victoria that rises 196 meters above the city and has walkways leading you up there. From the top you can enjoy views of the city, and of Matiu/Somes Island can also be seen from Mount Victoria. It is a historic reserve and a predator-free scientific reserve that takes 25 minutes to reach by boat. The island was once a home to Maori. Back on the shore, the expansive Wellington Botanic Gardens features 25 hectares of protected native forest, conifers, plant collections and seasonal displays in the heart of Wellington.

CAFFEINE BUZZ

Wellington is also famous for its café culture. This began a century ago with tea rooms, and then ‘milkbars’ in the 1930s that served milkshakes and a coffee essence and chicory served in hot milk! European immigrants established coffee shops in the 1950s and they became very fashionable. These atmospheric cafés experienced a resurgence in the last twenty years, and today the demand for excellent coffee is high.   


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