Influence of Situation
The north-west – south-east trend of the hills has hampered the development of transport links between the city and its northern hinterland. This physical obstacle has resulted in the formation of only one main arterial outlet from the city as far as Ngauranga, where it bifurcates to continue northwards to the Manawatu and north-eastwards to the Hutt Valley and the Wairarapa. The steepness of the surrounding hills has largely determined the physical layout of the city. The commercial and industrial concerns are situated on the few flat areas of the inner business district while the suburbs occupy sites enjoying sunny positions and views of the harbour.
Due to its position astride the Wellington Fault, the city has had many earthquakes, one or two of which have affected the face of the city. The one in 1855 raised much of the coast of the harbour some five feet and aided reclamation work along the Lambton foreshore, where Wellington's commercial district now stands. Another heavy tremor occurred in 1942, when considerable damage was done to buildings in the city and surrounding districts.