Set between mountain ranges and a bustling port, Wellington combines the charms of a seaside village with the cosmopolitanism of a major metropolitan centre. As New Zealand’s legislative capital, Wellington is also its undisputed arts, literary and theatre capital—home not just to the cutting-edge film production and post-production facilities that brought us Avatar and The Hobbit, but to some of New Zealand’s top museums, galleries, theatres and dance companies. Yet it also sits right on the doorstep of some of the country’s most beautiful native bush, bike tracks, and beaches. It’s not hard to see why the city that Lonely Planet voted the “coolest little capital” routinely ranks among the top ten travel destinations in the world.

Wellington’s vibrant creative culture is fuelled by great coffee, wine, food and craft beer, and the city is often said to boast more bars, cafes and restaurants per capita than New York City. While lunches at CSAA will be fully catered by Pomegranate, a refugee-run food collective, delegates are encouraged to sample some local café and restaurant fare. Try Bouqita on Kent Terrace for vegan tacos; The Leeds St Bakery for its famous salted caramel cookie; Ti Kouka, for the kumara Gnocchi or marmalade lamb; Capitol Restarant for modern Italian; or Havana on Cuba Street for the Cheeseboard salad. Many of these cafes sit within convenient walking distance of the conference venue.

If you plan to stay over the weekend, or want to enjoy time out from the conference, the city’s mild December summer will make getting around the city a breeze. The waterfront is a walkable public space dotted with cafes, and if you stroll far enough, you’ll hit the inner city beaches of Oriental Bay, which are sun-steeped and swimmable. Culture-vultures are encouraged to take a trip down Cuba Mall, an eclectic pedestrian plaza filled with great cafés, shops, studios and gallery-spaces; visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand; or take in a show at Wellington’s Downstage, Bats, or Circa theatres. Delegates eager to escape of the hustle and bustle, meanwhile, might wish to hike along the Skyline walkway, which offers full rural, city and coastal views; explore Khandallah Park, one of the many areas of continuous native bush located immediately outside the city; or hire a car and drive around the coast to picturesque Island Bay.

Massey University, Wellington Campus

Massey University’s Wellington campus is centrally located, near the city’s artistic and entertainment quarters of Cuba Street and Courtenay Place in the heart of Wellington.