Wellington City (of New Zealand) may be understated but it truly is the Coolest “little” Capital! If you’ve never been to Wellington, you’re seriously missing out.
Wellington offers a combination of natural beauty, interesting history, varied indoor/outdoor pursuits, good quality food and wine, and like the rest of New Zealand, stunning beaches.
This is a city I arrived in with no prejudgements or expectations. I knew practically nothing about it except that it was windy! Since the move, I’ve made it my mission to get to know both Wellington and NZ as a whole better. While I’ve travelled around NZ, I’ve stayed in Wellington pretty much the whole time. And when I haven’t been out of town, I haven’t been bored at all as there’s been lots to discover in Wellington. Apart from bonding with my other half, spending as much time together, discovering Wellington has led us to talk about the aspects of life, learn history and simply be entertained. This place is packed full of surprises!
From the scenery and history, to nightlife and food, here are 9 reasons I think makes Wellington the Coolest “little” Capital.
- Wellington is stunning!
Situated right at the bottom of the North Island of New Zealand, this little capital is simply beautiful to view from any angle – from the top (flying), driving/walking/cycling around, and/or sailing in the ferry. Almost every part of it is pretty – the harbour, restaurants, beaches, geography, etc.
- Wellington has been the Capital of NZ for around 152 years
- Most of Wellington downtown is built on reclaimed land!
- The Museum Hotel which isn’t far from the waterfront was one of the largest buildings to be moved from one place to the other as it made way for the well-known National Museum of Te Papa.
- The City is said to be built on one of the zone’s most active geological faults, which means a major earthquake can cause serious damage to this cool capital. It amazes me that despite laying within the earthquake-generating collision zone, this city has survived all these years!
2. Wining and Dining
Apparently Wellington, as small as it is, has more pubs and restaurants/cafes per capita than New York city. Say whaaat??…. Yeah! If you’ve never been to Wellington, you may then be wondering if it’s all about eating OR if it’s just too cramped. Well, not really! The CBD has many restaurants that’s for sure, which makes shopping (*clear throat) slightly limited (compared to NYC). But ey, there’re enough shops for everyone.
If you go out especially Thursday/Friday or the weekend, you’ll see many people eating out. The choices are endless – only depends on your pocket, preferences and basically how much you can fit in your tummy! From expensive/fine dining to affordable, fast food etc, Wellington restaurants cater for all. There’s a wide variety of ethnic food places to choose from – Asian/European/South American/African etc. Some simply prefer the odd fish and chips.
In fact, many locals will tell you their secrets to eating out. Come nighttime, most of those pubs pump up the music for the locals to have a good old time!
3. Culture and Heritage
Wellington is one of the most multicultural places I know. While it truly embraces diversity, the museums, statues and Maraes all show the history and culture of Wellington/NZ. Most places you visit will have something that reminds you of the Maori heritage.
Along with the stunning buildings and churches, Wellington past really shines through.
With mountains, flat land, ocean/sea etc, flying, driving or sailing into Wellington is scenic and very pretty! Its everlasting beauty shines during the day and at night, ALL YEAR ROUND! The beaches are soo inviting you feel like taking a walk or going for a swim anytime you go past.
5. World recognition
On a global scale, Wellington is known as the home of the production of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Also the latest movie “Ghost in the Shell” Scarlett Johansson features in, cool right!
6. It’s closeness to amenities
As compared to other places, it doesn’t take long to get anywhere in Wellington. Supermarkets, restaurants, pubs, shopping malls, beaches, churches – all these are within a short distance walk/drive from pretty much anywhere making it an ideal base for anyone to explore everything the city has to offer.
Interesting fact: As small as it is, there’re many churches in Wellington. The Anglican Church alone has more than 65 Parishes in the Wellington region!
7. The PEOPLE and Life in general
Talk of family/life balance, Wellingtonians like many others love those simple things like spending time with family and friends, eating and drinking, etc. While the culture is diverse, people share the same core values, warmth, care and generousity!
8. It’s small enough to tour in a few days!
Yeah! It’s a “little” capital remember? You can escape to Wellington for a few days OR a weekend and enjoy a lot of things without spending too much.
In one day you can swim in the ocean (on a warm summer day), sip wine in the Wairarapa wines, explore the diverse inner city suburbs and still have time to watch the sunset or simply enjoy a quiet evening with family/friends.
Well, there’s no point in skirting around the fact that Wellington weather isn’t that great, although it’s better compared to other places like the UK! The “Coolest Little Capital” can also be too cool (literally), hence the sign!
Locals will tell you the city can be very windy and those Southerlies can be unforgiving! Because of this, Wellingtonians embrace the warm weather whenever they get the chance as there’re few warm days in the year. On a nice warm day, almost everyone is out making the most of it. Those staying in are most likely making the most of it from the inside, and carrying out those chores like laundry and gardening.
SO, even if one can manage a few days in Wellington, they’ll sure make some memories. In Wellington, you won’t run out of places to explore. Do hope this encourages anyone to take a trip to The Coolest “little” Capital.
So, have you visited Wellington before? If so, how did you find it? Please share your experience below. If you haven’t, and you need any tips or recommendations for a future visit, watch the space or do flick us a message!