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Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 405,000 residents. It is at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. Wellington is the major population centre of the southern North Island and is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which also includes the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa. As the nation's centre of government, the New Zealand Parliament, Supreme Court and most of the civil service are based in the city.
The Wellington urban area comprises four cities: Wellington City, on the peninsula between Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour, contains the central business district and about half the population; Porirua on Porirua Harbour to the north is notable for its large Māori and Pacific Island communities; Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt are largely suburban areas to the northeast, together known as the Hutt Valley.
Despite being much smaller than Auckland, Wellington is often referred to as New Zealand's cultural capital. It is home to the National Archives, the National Art Gallery, the National Library, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, numerous theatres and two universities. Wellington has many notable buildings including the Government Building - one of the largest wooden buildings in the world - as well as the iconic Beehive. It also plays host to the annual World of Wearable Arts, the Wellington Sevens, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Wellington's cafe culture is internationally recognised and the city is known for its large number of coffee shops and roasteries. It is also the centre of New Zealand's film and special effects industries, and increasingly a hub for information technology and innovation.
One of the world's most livable cities, the 2014 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Wellington 12th in the world. In 2011 Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2011 named Wellington as fourth in its Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2011, referring to it as the "coolest little capital in the world".
The main airport serving the city and region is Wellington International Airport, which is the country's third biggest airport and offers domestic flights as well as connections to Australia and the Pacific. Wellington's transport network includes train and bus lines which reach as far as the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa, and ferries connect the city to the South Island town of Picton. Wellington is also the world's windiest city, with an average wind speed of over 26 km/h, and the world's southernmost capital city of a sovereign state.
Geography of Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington is at the south-western tip of the North Island on Cook Strait, separating the North and South Islands. On a clear day the snowcapped Kaikoura Ranges are visible to the south across the strait. To the north stretch the golden beaches of the Kapiti Coast. On the east the Rimutaka Range divides Wellington from the broad plains of the Wairarapa, a wine region of national notability. With a latitude of 41° 17' South, Wellington is the southernmost capital city in the world. It is also the most remote capital city, the farthest away from any other capital. It is more densely populated than most other cities in New Zealand due to the restricted amount of land that is available between its harbour and the surrounding hills. It has very few open areas in which to expand, and this has brought about the development of the suburban towns. Because of its location in the Roaring Forties and its exposure to the winds blowing through Cook Strait, Wellington is known as "Windy Wellington". It is often called the world's windiest city, with an average wind speed of 27 km/h (17 mph).
The Wellington Urban Area (pink) is administered by four city councils
Wellington's scenic natural harbour and green hillsides adorned with tiered suburbs of colonial villas are popular with tourists. The CBD is close to Lambton Harbour, an arm of Wellington Harbour, which lies along an active geological fault, clearly evident on its straight western shore. The land to the west of this rises abruptly, meaning that many suburbs sit high above the centre of the city. There is a network of bush walks and reserves maintained by the Wellington City Council and local volunteers. These include Otari-Wilton's Bush, dedicated to the protection and propagation of native plants. The Wellington region has 500 square kilometres (190 sq mi) of regional parks and forests. In the east is the Miramar Peninsula, connected to the rest of the city by a low-lying isthmus at Rongotai, the site of Wellington International Airport.
The narrow entrance to the harbour is to the east of the Miramar Peninsula, and contains the dangerous shallows of Barrett Reef, where many ships have been wrecked (notably the inter-island ferry TEV Wahine in 1968). The harbour has three islands: Matiu/Somes Island, Makaro/Ward Island and Mokopuna Island. Only Matiu/Somes Island is large enough for habitation. It has been used as a quarantine station for people and animals, and was an internment camp during World War I and World War II. It is a conservation island, providing refuge for endangered species, much like Kapiti Island farther up the coast. There is access during daylight hours by the Dominion Post Ferry.
Wellington is primarily surrounded by water, but some of near-by locations are listed below.