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Think of New Zealand, and chances are images of dramatic natural landscapes spring to mind long before its cultural triumphs do. But for culture vultures swooping in on Kiwi country, New Zealand’s charismatic Wellington capital (affectionately dubbed “Welly”) makes for an engaging urban base to sample the creative local take on Kiwi culture.
The lively little city brims with world-class museums and galleries; quirky outdoor sculptures; a slate of local theaters, live music venues, and performing arts centers (including the Royal New Zealand Ballet, New Zealand Opera, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, to name a few); regular arts and cultural events; and a vibrant film industry (“Wellywood” is the base for Peter Jackson’s international film empire). But you’ll still get that wow-factor true-to-New Zealand natural setting nestled between a picturesque harbor and rolling windswept hills. Plus, a coffee, culinary, and craft beer culture (perhaps best sampled in the Bohemian quarter near Cuba Street) help fuel this urban jewel’s pulsing creative buzz.
Read on for some of the best cultural freebies to ensure your time and money is well-spent in Wellington. Read more
It’s been just about a dozen years since I first earned my traveler’s stripes out on that well-trodden European backpacking, budget-crunching circuit, and while that rite-of-passage trip was right on in just about every way, I’ve been lamenting missing out on a pit stop in storied Prague pretty much ever since. Fast forward to 2012, and I’ve found myself out here once again, Eurail pass in hand, backpack on back, and budget top of mind, but this time, with a firm eye on the Prague prize.
The one caveat? While I’ve managed to tuck away a few more fun-funding dollars on this go-around, I’ve found myself with an only slightly higher-than-hostel budget, coupled with disproportionately high-end tastes. I set out on a mission: Relive the glory days of my budget-crunching college hosteling days, without sacrificing style or privacy. Read more
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