The music of buskers rings out along Courtenay Place, the main entertainment street of Wellington. Quirky bars lure in strangers, while vintage record stores stand beside modern office buildings and a colourful array of shops. With its huge collection of bars, cafes and restaurants, Courtenay Place provides entertainment for visitors of all ages. It's also a major hub for the arts, especially when the New Zealand International Arts Festival is hosted here every other year.
While the flashing lights and busy rock bars might suggest otherwise, Courtenay Place retains the laid-back ambience of New Zealand. Courtenay Place is still a street for making friends with strangers and saying hello to people who pass. Many of the country's major shopping brands have stores along here, punctuating the collection of restaurants and bars. Funky boutiques and quirky cafes can be found in the side streets jutting off Courtenay Place, including second-hand bookshops and clothing stores.
Courtenay Place is a relatively small street, even if it's made to feel bigger by the sheer concentration of establishments to visit and explore. Buses run up and down the street, and there are various places to alight. Courtenay Place is situated in the heart of the city, a couple of blocks away from the waters of Wellington Harbour. Mount Victoria provides the backdrop, and there are great views onto the street from here. Also close by is the Museum of New Zealand, which takes visitors on a fabulous journey through centuries of history.
The oldest building on the street lost one of its three floors during the recent earthquake, yet still stands proudly on the corner of Courtenay Place and Allen Street. It now makes for an iconic photo of history defying the power of nature.