Recently, a couple participating in an Australian television quiz show lost the chance to win more than R5m when they failed to identify New Zealand’s capital from four Kiwi cities listed. Although one might be tempted to snigger at their stupidity, to be fair Wellington does rather sail under the radar – the Antipodean equivalent of Switzerland’s Bern. Everyone knows about Auckland because it’s New Zealand’s only proper-sized metropolis. Christchurch garners headlines for its devastating earthquakes and Queenstown draws thrill seekers to its near-vertiginous slopes. But Wellington? You might find yourself drawing a blank — wondering what, aside from being a seat of government, it has to offer. It turns out quite a lot, as I discovered over the course of a long weekend. First, it’s very pretty. Sandwiched between ocean and lush hillside, the city has bent to nature’s will, rather like Cape Town has, while its wooden houses are reminiscent of a diminutive San Francisco. It’s no wonde...

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