22 Feb 2009

Huge crowds flock to Capital's centre on party day

5:56 am on 22 February 2009

Wellington is in party mode, with two major events on Saturday drawing tens of thousands of people to the central city.

The Cuba Street carnival and the National Harley Davidson Hog Rally have been taking place, and the flow-on traffic has caused disruption for motorists.

Radio New Zealand's Wellington Issues reporter says the capital's "vibrant heart has been pumping", as partygoers flock to the biennial Cuba Street carnival.

Bands including The Tutts, Olmecha Supreme, The Shennanigans and Sam Manzana were playing on various stages around a fenced-off area in Cuba Street, Courtney Place, Manners Mall and surrounding streets.

There are also comedians, DJs, street performers and numerous stalls.

Festival director Chris Morley-Hall says 300 people watched a film in the rain on Friday night, but the skies cleared on Saturday for the predicted crowd of 150,000.

And he says there's more to come with the parade taking place at 9pm where the streets were expected to be at their busiest.

Harley Davidson motorbike lovers from around the country are also parked up in the Capital for the weekend.

National Hog Rally manager Barry Hutton says Saturday's Thunder Ride was a huge success with 1000 to 1200 bikes on the road.

Widespread road closures remain in place throughout the Wellington CBD, though most of them be lifted by Sunday morning.

People are advised to leave their cars at home and use public transport.

Lambton Quay and Jervois Quay are closed and Queens Wharf is closed until three am on Sunday.