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Favorite thing: There are also some cafés and bars in Cuba Street (Mall) but for going out in the evening Courtenay Place is clearly nicer, has much better atmosphere. During daytime Cuba Street, also known for the Bucket Fountain, is more interesting, as there are many trendy shops, often with an alternative touch, tattoo studios and second-hand bookshops. When those shops and the cafés with their outdoor areas are closed at night the atmosphere is gone, and we thought it was not even nice to walk there, as it was so empty and lifeless.
Cuba Street has the problem of many pedestrian zones created in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s where the emphasis was on shops, and not on entertainment and hospitality. So such malls are great during the day and dead at night, and attract folk you would rather not meet.
As we went to a bar we had to walk there at night, but the dubious creatures hanging around did not really make us feel safe. It was not that we felt threatened but we were happy when we were back in a livlier area.
As we were there over the weekend and out of the city on a Monday we did not get aware of the daily problem Wellingtonians face in Cuba Street during the day. The business people were so fed up with drunken people fighting, urinating, and vomiting in front of their shops that they demanded action, and the city councillors were too happy to think about setting stricter rules to not let louts ruin Wellington as a tourist destination. So at the end of March 2008 they passed a bylaw, extending the liquor ban from the weekend and certain places only to the whole city centre and 24/7. This means that you as a visitor cannot drink alcohol in public places either.
Updated Apr 16, 2008
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Believe me, Wellington is not the only windy place in New Zealand, especially in spring, although it has the label Windy Wellington. Wind speeds are not much higher than in other coastal cities. What makes Wellington special in this respect are the powerful gusts of more than 63 km/h (34 knots) which blast the city on an average of 199 days per year. Such days are counted as windy days. Other cities might have such strong gusts on 30 or 35 days. Very windy days are days with wind speeds of more than 96 km/h (52 knots). Wellington has an average of 64 of these… (Source: www.nz.com)
New Zealand consists of long thin islands located in the roaring forties, so it is a windy place. Wellington, at the bottom of the North Island, experiences westerly gales sweeping through Cook Strait, and southerlies that come up from Antarctica. This narrow passage has the effect of a funnel that bundles the gusts which then sweep into the lenghty harbour basin.
The narrow streets, bordered by high-rise office buildings have the same effect – and so even make the gusts worse. When once you get into such a blast and it rains, do not even think of opening your umbrella. Either you lose it, or it breaks, and whatever happens – it does not protect you from the rain at all. Better you go to a museum or have a coffee break ;-)
Written Apr 16, 2008
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The 1855 earthquake was the most dramatic tremor of the earth ever recorded in New Zealand but not the first and not the last one, especially not in Wellington. The magnitude was 8.2 on the Richter scale, and it rocked the southern part of the North Island. It was caused by a movement of a fault in Palliser Bay, east of the capital and the North Island’s southernmost point.
The city is prone to earthquakes because it rests on the point where two tectonic plates meet. Several kilometres beneath Wellington the light and thick Australian plate rides over the heavier, but thinner Pacific plate. These plate movements have resulted in five major fault-lines running either through or very close to Wellington City. When one of these faults shifts suddenly an earthquake occurs.
Thanks to the frequent earthquakes Wellington has become one of the world's leading centres for the study and research of earthquake activity and for the development of seismic strengthening techniques in buildings. An impressive example of the latter – the shock absorbers – can be seen in the Quake Brake exhibition at the entrance of Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum.
The European settlers experienced their first major earthquake in Wellington in 1848 when a 7.1 magnitude shock claimed three lives. In 1855 – when 80 per cent of all chimneys collapsed - only one person died in Wellington when a two-storey hotel collapsed, and three people in the Wairarapa. The coastline was raised by up to 1.5 metres. Part of this land – which should have become a shipping basin – is now home of a famous cricket ground, named the Basin Reserve. (There, BTW, is NZ’s only cricket museum.)
One of the early safety measures was to replace brick buildings by timber constructions. However, whereas most residential homes were built of timber most commercial buildings were reconstructed in brick because of the fire risk of a wooden construction.
On the website of the Greater Wellington Regional Council I read that today a large, shallow earthquake magnitude about 7.4 along the Wellington fault during the day could cause 500 deaths and 4000 injuries. 100,000 buildings would be damaged in some way.
In the whole of NZ we have about 150 significant earthquakes every year, and 10,000 to 15,000 in total, many of them are not felt and are only measured by seismographs. Records suggest that NZ has to expect several magnitude 6 earthquakes every year, one magnitude 7 every ten years, and one magnitude 8 every century. But remember: Earthquakes are not evenly spaced!
In 1855 the Wairarapa Fault ruptured; it has a recurrence interval of 1150 to 1200 years. The Ohariu Fault ruptured about 1100–1200 years ago, and has a recurrence interval of 1500 to 5000 years. The Wairau Fault last ruptured more than 800 years ago and has a recurrence interval of 1000 to 2300 years. Shepherds Gully Fault last ruptured about 1200 years ago and has a recurrence interval of 2500 to 5000 years. The Wellington Fault last ruptured between 300 and 500 years ago producing an earthquake of about magnitude 7.6. This fault produces a large earthquake about every 500 to 700 years. So this fault has the highest probability of rupturing next in the Wellington region. And with five faultlines Wellington’s destiny is to shake more or less lightly every some days.
More information on the following websites:
Written Apr 16, 2008
Favorite thing: You might wonder why Lambton Quay is a quay although it looks like and is a normal street. But it once was the fringe of the land, so a beach road – and not even the original one. Its name is testimony to the many harbour reclamations since the arrival of the Europeans who successively expanded the area of the inner city.
When European settlers arrived in Wellington in 1839 there was little flat land close to the harbour. Reclaiming part of the harbour started in 1852 when the provincial government reclaimed 0.3 hectares. Between 1857 and 1867 another 8.4 hectares were added in a succession of projects. In total the inner city area grew by a total of more than 350 hectares since 1852.
The actual Government buildings sit on the fourth reclamation of 1.1 hectares. Directly beneath this area was the Lambton Quay beach. Fill was taken from a hill behind the Parliamentary Library.
The early reclamations had been undertaken by horse and dray. Later, wagons which ran along railway lines, were used.
Two major earthquakes in 1848 and 1855 also helped to raise the land fringing the harbour.
Lambton Quay today is Wellington’s traditional main shopping and business street. Although some well-known shops have moved to other areas, it is still the heart of the CBD.
Lambton Quay starts at the intersection with Willis Street, and reaches up to the Parliamentary Buildings and Old Government Building at its northern end. There it continues as Molesworth Street.
Apart from many beautiful shops you also find the city stop of the Cable Car on Lambton Quay.
Written Apr 16, 2008
Favorite thing: Wellington is certainly the coffee capital of New Zealand and probably of Oceania with Australia a long way behind. With such great places as Cafe Laffare, Iona, Plum and Mojo Wellington has major competition for the best cup of coffee. This situation is enhanced with the central city being quite compact so you need only walk 400 metres or so and you are at a new place to relax for a cuppa.
Fondest memory: The measure of any coffee house is the quality of its espresso or short black as it gets called in many spots. This is my drink of preference first thing in the day with the latter drinks often a Moccha (Laffare put a stick of chocolate in theirs!!!). I'm normally in too much of a rush to sit and enjoy my morning drink unless I'm on holiday so bring on the hoilidays!!
Written May 3, 2007
Favorite thing: Wellington is surely the city in NZ with the most character. Not just in the society and people, but also in the architecture.
Maybe because of the layout or the "terrain" of the city, which has many hills and valleys, there seem to be a few of these interesting buildings that are only one shop wide but two or three stories high.
Fondest memory: I love this example of these skinny buildings. It has been renovated well and looks very resplendent in its painted glory.
Written Jun 23, 2005
Favorite thing: This is the official Visitor & Travel Centre for the Capital City, operated by Positively Wellington and backed by Wellington City Council & part of New Zealand's national Visitor Information Network (VIN). The centre is located on the corner of Victoria & Wakefield Streets, in Civic Square.
You can seek help all your travel plans for Wellington, as well as all of New Zealand. You can also pick up free brochures on everything about Wellington and visitor guides for other regions. A range of maps & phonecards are available for purchase here. Before you arrive, you can plan & book your accommodation, activities and transport on-line @ www.WellingtonNZ.com. Phone: (04) 802 4860.
Other facilities you'll find while you are @ the centre... the Simply NZ store for souvenirs & gifts, send e-mails @ their E-Mail facility, or step into Nui Espresso to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Visitor Centre hours (close on Christmas Day):
8:30am-5:30pm, except Thursdays opening @ 9:30am
December - April open until 6pm
• Weekends and Public Holidays
9am-4:30pm (May - November)
9:30am-5pm (December - April)
Updated Feb 22, 2005
Favorite thing: Wellington still has electric buses running. That means that many of the streets have wires and cables hanging around...making it nearly impossible to make nice strret pictures, because these wires ruin it all...well, at least I think so.
Written Jul 29, 2004
Favorite thing: Is that Gollum I saw at the Wellington Airport terminal?????
He was adorning buildings in the city at one time, but seems he has ended up here for visitors to see. What a wonderful creation he is, be sure to look out and see if you can spot him. Wellington benefited in so many ways from the production of Lord of the Rings, and will always make it's appearance in one way or another. You can sense that the city is proud of it's production.
Written May 30, 2004
Favorite thing: As we were wandering the streets of Wellington, I happened to notice a sign announcing the Alliance Francaise, and as I am a member of this organisation in Australia, I decided to check out the building....and found one of the prettiest, most colourful (yet still restful) that I'd seen yet....a green roof with yellow trim at the top skirting, 3 toned walls, and a blue area beyond an arched doorway.
It was just such a beautiful foyer to me.
Written Apr 24, 2004
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