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Wellington, New Zealand – Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Wellington, New Zealand – Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, at the southwestern tip of the North Island between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. The Wellington urban area is the major population centre of the southern North Island and is New Zealand’s third most populous urban area with 381,900 residents. There are 473,700 residents in the Wellington Region (June 2008 estimates).

Wellington’s suburbs lie across four cities. Wellington City, on the peninsula between Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour, contains the central business district and about half of Wellington’s population. Porirua City on Porirua Harbour to the north is notable for its large Māori and Pacific Island communities. Lower Hutt City and Upper Hutt City are suburban areas to the northeast, together known as the Hutt Valley. Although each of the four cities also contains a rural hinterland, almost all of the population is within the urban area.

Name

Wellington was named after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo. The Duke’s title comes from the town of Wellington in the English county of Somerset.

In Māori, Wellington goes by three names. Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara refers to Wellington Harbour and means “the great harbour of Tara”. Pōneke is a transliteration of Port Nick, short for Port Nicholson (the city’s central marae, the community supporting it and its kapa haka have the pseudo-tribal name of Ngāti Pōneke). Te Upoko-o-te-Ika-a-Māui, meaning The Head of the Fish of Māui (often shortened to Te Upoko-o-te-Ika), a traditional name for the southernmost part of the North Island, derives from the legend of the fishing up of the island by the demigod Māui. Wellington also has nicknames including The Harbour Capital, Wellywood and the Windy City .

Importance

Wellington is New Zealand’s political centre, housing Parliament and the head offices of all Government Ministries and Departments, plus the bulk of the foreign diplomatic missions that are based in New Zealand.

Wellington’s compact city centre supports an arts scene, café culture and nightlife much larger than most cities of a similar size. It is an important centre of New Zealand’s film and theatre industry, and second to Auckland in terms of numbers of screen industry businesses. Te Papa Tongarewa (the Museum of New Zealand), the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Museum of Wellington City & Sea and the biennial New Zealand International Arts Festival are all sited there.

Wellington has the 12th best quality of living in the world in 2009, a ranking holding steady from 2007, according to a 2007 study by consulting company Mercer. Of cities with English as the primary language, Wellington ranked fourth in 2007. Of cities in the Asia Pacific region, Wellington ranked third (2009) behind Auckland and Sydney, Australia. Of New Zealand cities only Auckland rated higher with a ranking of fourth best in the world in 2009, rising slightly from fifth in 2006 and 2007.

Wellington became much more affordable, in terms of cost of living relative to cities worldwide, with it’s ranking moving from 93rd (more expensive) to 139th (less expensive) in 2009, probably as a result of currency fluctuations during the global economic downturn from March 2008 to March 2009.[11] “Foreigners get more bang for their buck in Wellington, which is among the cheapest cities in the world to live”, according to a 2009 article, which reported that currency fluctuations make New Zealand cities affordable for multi-national firms to do business, and elaborated that “New Zealand cities were now more affordable for expatriates and were competitive places for overseas companies to develop business links and send employees”.

Settlement

Legend recounts that Kupe discovered and explored the district in about the tenth century. European settlement began with the arrival of an advance party of the New Zealand Company on the ship Tory, on 20 September 1839, followed by 150 settlers on the Aurora on 22 January 1840.

The settlers constructed their first homes at Petone (which they called Britannia for a time) on the flat area at the mouth of the Hutt River. When that proved swampy and flood-prone they transplanted the plans, which had been drawn without regard for the hilly terrain.

Earthquakes

Wellington suffered serious damage in a series of earthquakes in 1848 and from another earthquake in 1855. The 1855 Wairarapa earthquake occurred on a fault line to the north and east of Wellington. It ranks as probably the most powerful earthquake in recorded New Zealand history, with an estimated magnitude of at least 8.2 on the Richter scale.

It caused vertical movements of two to three metres over a large area, including raising an area of land out of the harbour and turning it into a tidal swamp. Much of this land was subsequently reclaimed and is now part of Wellington’s central business district. For this reason the street named Lambton Quay now runs 100 to 200 metres (325 to 650 ft) from the harbour. Plaques set into the footpath along Lambton Quay mark the shoreline in 1840 and thus indicate the extent of the uplift and reclamation.

The area has high seismic activity even by New Zealand standards, with a major fault line running through the centre of the city, and several others nearby. Several hundred more minor fault lines have been identified within the urban area. The inhabitants, particularly those in high-rise buildings, typically notice several earthquakes every year. For many years after the 1855 earthquake, the majority of buildings constructed in Wellington were made entirely from wood.

The 1996-restored Government Buildings, near Parliament is the largest wooden office building in the Southern Hemisphere. While masonry and structural steel have subsequently been used in building construction, especially for office buildings, timber framing remains the primary structural component of almost all residential construction. Residents also place their hopes of survival in good building regulations, which gradually became more stringent in the course of the twentieth century.

New Zealand’s capital

In 1865, Wellington became the capital of New Zealand, replacing Auckland, where William Hobson had established his capital in 1841. Parliament first sat in Wellington on 7 July 1862, but the city did not become the official capital for some time.

In November 1863 the Premier Alfred Domett moved a resolution before Parliament (in Auckland) that “… it has become necessary that the seat of government … should be transferred to some suitable locality in Cook Strait.” Apparently there was concern that the southern regions, where the gold fields were located, would form a separate colony. Commissioners from Australia (chosen for their neutral status) pronounced the opinion that Wellington was suitable because of its harbour and central location.

Parliament officially sat in Wellington for the first time on 26 July 1865. The population of Wellington was then 4,900. Wellington is the seat of New Zealand’s highest court, the Supreme Court of New Zealand. The historic former High Court building is to be enlarged and restored for the court’s use. Government House, the official residence of the Governor-General, is in Newtown, opposite the Basin Reserve.

Food

Wellington’s cafe culture is prominent. The city has more cafes per capita than New York City.[59] Restaurants are either licensed to sell alcohol, BYO (bring your own), or unlicensed (no alcohol); many let you bring your own wine. Restaurants offer a variety of cuisines from around the world, including from Europe, Asia, Polynesia. “For dishes that have a distinctly New Zealand style, there’s lamb, pork and cervena (venison), salmon, crayfish (lobster), bluff oysters, paua (abalone), mussels, scallops, pipis and tuatua (both are types of New Zealand shellfish); kumara (sweet potato); kiwifruit and tamarillo; and pavlova, the national dessert,” recommends one tourism website.

Festivals

Wellington has become home to a myriad of high-profile events and cultural celebrations, including the biennial New Zealand International Arts Festival, biennial Wellington Jazz Festival, and major events such as World of Wearable Art, Cuba Street Carnival, New Zealand Fringe Festival, New Zealand International Comedy Festival (also hosted in Auckland), Summer City, The Wellington Folk Festival (in Wainuiomata), New Zealand Affordable Art Show, the New Zealand Sevens Weekend and Parade, Out in the Square, Vodafone Homegrown, the Couch Soup theater festival, and numerous film festivals.

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Sydney – Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Sydney – Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Sydney is the largest city in Australia, and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney has a metropolitan area population of approximately 4.34 million and an area of approximately 12,000 square kilometres. Its inhabitants are called Sydneysiders, and Sydney is often called “the Harbour City”. It is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflected in its role as a major destination for immigrants to Australia.

The site of the first British colony in Australia, Sydney was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip, commodore of the First Fleet. The city is built on low hills surrounding Sydney Harbour – an inlet of the Tasman Sea on Australia’s south-east coast. It is home to the iconic Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and its beaches. The metropolitan area is surrounded by national parks, and contains many bays, rivers and inlets. Sydney has hosted major international sporting events, including the 1938 British Empire Games, 2000 Summer Olympics and the final of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The main airport serving Sydney is Sydney Airport.

Sydney is considered an alpha+ world city, listed by the Loughborough University group’s 2008 inventory and ranked 16th among global cities by Foreign Policy’s 2008 Global Cities Index. According to the Mercer cost of living survey, Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city, and the 66th most expensive in the world. Sydney also ranks among the top 10 most livable cities in the world according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting and The Economist.

Culture

Sydney hosts many different festivals and some of Australia’s largest social and cultural events. These include the Sydney Festival, Australia’s largest arts festival which is a celebration involving both indoor and free outdoor performances throughout January; the Biennale of Sydney, established in 1973; the Big Day Out, a travelling rock music festival which originated in Sydney; the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras along Oxford Street; the Sydney Film Festival and many other smaller film festivals such as the short film Tropfest and Flickerfest.

Australia’s premier prize for portraiture, the Archibald Prize is organised by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The Sydney Royal Easter Show is held every year at Sydney Olympic Park, the final of Australian Idol takes place on the steps of the Opera House, and Australian Fashion Week takes place in April/May. Also, Sydney’s New Years Eve and Australia Day celebrations are the largest in Australia.

Tourism

In the year ending March 2008, Sydney received 2.7 million international visitors. The most well known attractions include the Sydney Opera House, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Other attractions include Royal Botanical Gardens, Luna Park, the beaches and Sydney Tower.

Sydney also has several popular museums such as, the Australian Museum (natural history and anthropology), the Powerhouse Museum (science, technology and design), the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Transport

Most Sydney residents travel by car through the system of roads and motorways. The most important trunk routes in the urban area are the nine Metroads, which include the 110 km (68 mi) Sydney Orbital Network. Sydney is also served by extensive train, taxi, bus and ferry networks.

Sydney trains are run by CityRail, a corporation of the New South Wales State Government. Trains run as suburban commuter rail services in the outer suburbs, then converge in an underground city loop service in the central business district. In the years following the 2000 Olympics, CityRail’s performance declined significantly. In 2005, CityRail introduced a revised timetable and employed more drivers. A large infrastructure project, the Clearways project, is scheduled to be completed by 2010. In 2007 a report found Cityrail performed poorly compared to many metro services from other world cities.

Sydney has one privately operated light rail line, Metro Light Rail, running from Central Station to Lilyfield along a former goods train line. There is also the Metro Monorail, which runs in a loop around the main shopping district and Darling Harbour. Sydney was once served by an extensive tram network, which was progressively closed in the 1950s and 1960s.

Most parts of the metropolitan area are served by buses, many of which follow the pre-1961 tram routes. In the city and inner suburbs the state-owned Sydney Buses has a monopoly. In the outer suburbs, service is contracted to many private bus companies. Construction of a network of rapid bus transitways in areas not previously well served by public transport began in 1999, and the first of these, the Liverpool-Parramatta Rapid Bus Transitway, opened in February 2003. State government-owned Sydney Ferries runs numerous commuter and tourist ferry services on Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River.

Sydney Airport, in the suburb of Mascot, is Sydney’s main airport, and is one of the oldest continually operated airports in the world. The smaller Bankstown Airport mainly serves private and general aviation. There is a light aviation airfield at Camden. RAAF Base Richmond lies to the north-west of the city.

The question of the need for a Second Sydney Airport has raised much controversy. A 2003 study found that Sydney Airport can manage as Sydney’s sole international airport for 20 years, with a significant increase in airport traffic predicted. The resulting expansion of the airport would have a substantial impact on the community, including additional aircraft noise affecting residents. Land has been acquired at Badgerys Creek for a second airport, the site acting as a focal point of political argument.

Utilities

Water storage and supply for Sydney is managed by the Sydney Catchment Authority, which is an agency of the NSW Government that sells bulk water to Sydney Water and other agencies. Water in the Sydney catchment is chiefly stored in dams in the Upper Nepean Scheme, the Blue Mountains, Woronora Dam, Warragamba Dam and the Shoalhaven Scheme. Historically low water levels in the catchment have led to water use restrictions and the NSW government is investigating alternative water supply options, including grey water recycling and the construction of a seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant at Kurnell. As of May 2009, the plant was 80% completed, and was due to start suppling fresh water to Sydney at the end of the year. [99] Sydney Water also collects the wastewater and sewage produced by the city.

Four companies supply natural gas and electricity to Sydney: Energy Australia, AGL, Integral Energy and Origin Energy. The natural gas supply for the city is sourced from the cooper basin in South Australia. Numerous telecommunications companies operate in Sydney providing terrestrial and mobile telecommunications services.

Entertainment and performing arts

Sydney has a wide variety of cultural institutions. Sydney’s iconic Opera House has five theatres capable of hosting a range of performance styles; it is the home of Opera Australia—the third busiest opera company in the world, and the Sydney Symphony. Other venues include the Sydney Town Hall, City Recital Hall, the State Theatre, the Theatre Royal, Sydney, the Sydney Theatre and the Wharf Theatre.

The Sydney Dance Company under the leadership of Graeme Murphy during the late 20th century has also gained acclaim. The Sydney Theatre Company has a regular roster of local plays, such as noted playwright David Williamson, classics and international playwrights.

In 2007, New Theatre (Newtown) celebrated 75 years of continuous production in Sydney. Other important theatre companies in Sydney include Company B and Griffin Theatre Company. From the 1940s through to the 1970s the Sydney Push, a group of authors and political activists whose members included Germaine Greer, influenced the city’s cultural life.

The National Institute of Dramatic Art, based in Kensington, boasts internationally famous alumni such as Mel Gibson, Judy Davis, Baz Luhrmann and Cate Blanchett. Sydney’s role in the film industry has increased since the opening of Fox Studios Australia in 1998.

Prominent films which have been filmed in the city include Moulin Rouge!, Mission: Impossible II, Star Wars episodes II and III, Superman Returns, Dark City, Son of the Mask, Stealth, Dil Chahta Hai, Happy Feet, Australia and The Matrix. Films using Sydney as a setting include Finding Nemo, Strictly Ballroom, Muriel’s Wedding, Our Lips Are Sealed, Independence Day and Dirty Deeds. Many Bollywood movies have also been filmed in Sydney including Singh Is Kinng, Bachna Ae Haseeno, Chak De India, Heyy Babyy. As of 2006, over 229 films have been set in, or featured Sydney.

Sydney’s most popular nightspots include Kings Cross, Oxford Street, Darling Harbour, Circular Quay and The Rocks which all contain various bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Star City Casino, is Sydney’s only casino and is situated around Darling Harbour. There are also many traditional pubs, cafes and restaurants in inner city areas such as Newtown, Balmain and Leichhardt. Sydney’s main live music hubs include areas such as Newtown and Annandale, which nurtured acts such as AC/DC, Midnight Oil and INXS. Other popular nightspots tend to be spread throughout the city in areas such as Bondi, Manly, Cronulla and Parramatta.

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