Major State Highways 1 and 2 lead to Wellington. Go Wellington runs the bus system, including the trolley buses (www.gowellingtonbus.co.nz). Several companies offer bus tours of the city and surrounding regions, try Hammonds Scenic Tours (www.wellingtonsightseeingtours.com). For hire cars, try Ace Rental Cars (+64 (0)4 471 1176; www.acerentalcars.co.nz) or Apex Car Rental (+64 (0)4 385 2163; www.apexrentals.co.nz).
Wellington International Airport is a 15-minute drive from the city centre and less than an hour's flight from anywhere else in New Zealand. Domestic carriers include Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.com) and Sounds Air (www.soundsair.com); from Australia you can also pick up flights on Qantas (www.qantas.com.au) and Pacific Blue (www.flypacificblue.com.au).
Tranz Scenic runs the Overlander, which links Auckland and Wellington, taking in the spectacular Mount Ruapehu, river gorges and the world-famous Raurimu Spiral, a single-track railway spiral (www.tranzscenic.co.nz). For city train travel, see www.metlink.org.nz.
Country code for New Zealand: +64; Wellington (0)4.
Wellington Biography of a City by Redmer Yska describes the history of the city from colonial times to the present day. Big Weather: Poems of Wellington is a collection of poems, chosen by Gregory O'Brien and Louise White, which celebrates local life. The Garden Party and Other Stories by acclaimed Wellington-born author Katherine Mansfield includes tales set in her native New Zealand, written towards the end of her tragically short career.
Do go / Don't Go
The Windy City's exposure to the Tasman Sea's weather systems mean that winters can be harsh; temperatures range from 10C to 14C. But during the summer months from December to March temperatures are about 19C to 24C.
Wellington has more cafes and restaurants per capita than New York, and offers a huge range of dining options. Expect a wide variety at a high standard, with many quirky and unique concepts also on the dining map, thanks to the city's arts and cosmopolitan vibe.
Wellington Combined Taxis is the city's largest taxi company (+64 (0)4 384 4444). For something different, take a Baxi, a bike-taxi company that runs throughout the CBD (Central Business District).
Optional 5-15 per cent depending on service.
New Zealand dollar (NZ$).
Wellington's known as the windy city, so bring a windproof jacket and keep a firm grip on your sunhat.
For an insight into Maori culture and New Zealand history, Te Papa Tongarewa, or the Museum of New Zealand, has more than 130,000 objects such as ancestral carvings and clothing, as well as a number of interactive exhibits (www.tepapa.govt.nz). City Gallery Wellington is also strong on the visual arts, although it's currently undergoing an NZ$6.3 million revamp, and is expected to reopen late 2009 (www.citygallery.org.nz).
Flat Earth New Zealand offers guided tours including Lord of the Rings movie locations and the Weta Cave, the tourist access point to director Peter Jackson's movie special-effects company (+64(0)4 977 5805; www.flatearth.co.nz).
The main shopping area is delightfully compact - it will take about 20 minutes to walk from one end to the other. The Cuba and Lambton quarters are the best bet for high-end and boutique stores; see the tourist board's fashion map for a full guide (www.wellingtonnz.com/shopping/fashion_map). Modern Love stocks labels from both New Zealand and Australia, and vintage clothing (112 Cuba Street); New Zealand designer Kate Sylvester also has a store at 32 Cuba Street. In the Courtenay quarter, Soup is a treasure trove of second-hand designer labels, including Armani and acclaimed New Zealand fashion talent Karen Walker (8 Blair Street). In Lambton, try another native designer, Annah Stretton (101 Willis Street).
The bright red Wellington Cable Car - although technically a tram - travels from the heart of the city up to the top of the Botanic Gardens in just five minutes, offering striking views, for NZ$5 adult return (+64 (0)4 472 2199; www.wellingtoncablecar.co.nz). There's also a free museum at the top, which has original trams that are more than 100-years old.
The Wellington Botanic Garden is free to visit, encompassing 25 hectares of protected native forest, specialised plant collections and flowers, including the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, the Begonia House, a cafe, playground and garden shop. It's at 101 Glenmore Street, but the main entrance is on Tinakori Road ( +64 (0)4 499 1400).
February/March Get a hit of music, theatre, dance and opera at the biennial New Zealand International Arts Festival (the next event is in 2010), when the cream of the city's performing arts crop takes to Wellington's stages (www.nzfestival.nzpost.co.nz). In alternate years, the Cuba St Carnival is New Zealand's largest street festival, a free event that takes over the city with music, performances and costumes (www.cubastcarnival.co.nz). March The city hosts the biennial Wellington Jazz Festival, which draws native and international artists to events held across four different venues (www.jazzfestival.co.nz). May The New Zealand International Comedy Festival holds court in May (www.comedyfestival.co.nz). July/August The nation's film festival hits Wellington (www.nzff.co.nz).