Wellington, situated at the southern tip of New Zealand's North Island, is the nation's political and cultural capital and home to Te Papa: The Museum of New Zealand, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. It is one of the best resourced information centers in the South Pacific and cherishes Peter Jackson and 'Weta Studios' where much of Lord of the Rings was pieced together.
It's a compact city nestled into the foothills with all the advantages of a big city: cafes, galleries, museums, cinema and theatre and a fabulous sports stadium but without the usual traffic and smog that make city-life a grind. Wellington hosts regular cultural festivals including the biennial New Zealand International Festival of the Arts and the annual Fringe Festival, Laugh Festival, International Jazz Festival and International Film Festival. Downtown Wellington is famous for its café culture and coffee is something Wellingtonians take very seriously. There are more than 300 cafes and restaurants - from Malaysian to Mongolian, Pakistani to Pacific Rim - Wellington is a gastronomic delight. On any given evening you can find live music and because everything is within walking distance, it's easy to get around.
Wellingtonians, like most New Zealanders, have a passion for sport and in particular rugby. The Westpac Stadium is where they go to cheer on their beloved Hurricanes and Lions rugby teams or to watch world class soccer, australian rules football or cricket. For students, Victoria University provides access to playing fields and facilities that allow students the chance to be involved in rugby, soccer, cricket, tennis, squash, netball and climbing. Students can also go mountain biking in the close green belt areas or enjoy kayaking in the harbour.
All the shops are within walking distance from the university and Wellington is a great place for all shopping including the best of New Zealand's designer fashion, great New Zealand wines, Maori greenstone carvings (pounamu), tramping/hiking gear, and woollen/sheepskin products. The exchange rate means that you can get some fantastic bargains.