Wellington, New Zealand
New Zealand's capital and home to the country's parliament, Wellington is currently at the top of the list of most livable cities in the world. Dubbed as the world's windiest city, the weather in Wellington is rather pleasant and cozy (under multiple layers of clothing) despite it's gusty reputation. Beautiful, scenic and surrounded by nature, Windy Wellington is a great destination to get stunning views and a good mix of history, culture and great coffee.
As the capital of New Zealand you wouldn't expect such a laid back vibe from Wellington but it's certainly what you'll get. Walk around and you'll find parks full of children and families playing and spending time outside which adds to the fun and wholesome energy of the city.
A hub for international cuisine and a premiere coffee destination, Wellington is a food lover's paradise. Don't miss Cuba Street for some local and international flavor. Explore the city center for a look at the historic parliament buildings and check out the interactive museums for a dose of culture and a peek into the history of the Maori people. If getting physical is your thing, visitors can go for a hike or a bike ride on the many trails scattered around the city.
For travelers seeking a unique and quiet place to unwind with family yet have access to some great spots sure to spark some interest, Wellington is a great place to explore. A compact and accessible city with easygoing people and much to see, Wellington is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
You can’t visit Wellington without a trip to Cuba Street. Located in the city center, it’s a great place to go for a casual afternoon stroll, to get your caffeine fix in one of the many hip coffee shops, shop at unique shops that sell lots of retro stuff, or to enjoy a great book in secondhand bookshops. Don’t miss the night market every Friday and Saturday that sells different kinds of streetfood.
Located near the airport, locals and visitors are greeted by the Wellington sign which they call Wellywood. The Hollywood-style sign was built as a way to promote Wellington’s budding film industry while the last few letters of sign flying off depicts the city’s infamous wind and rain.
Mount Victoria's Lookout
One of the best vantage points in Wellington. It’s accessible by car, tour buses, public transport (No. 20 Highbury to Mt. Victoria) or if you can endure it you can hike it. Bring a jacket with you as it can be cool and very windy.
Just 10 minutes from the city, Wellington Zoo is pretty compact compared to other zoos, but has a great variety of wildlife such as kangaroos, kiwis, bears, lions, meerkats, and dingos among others. Staff were enthusiastic and the facilities were well looked after. Sometimes animals hide due to their being housed in a recreation of their natural environment, so viewings can sometimes be a hit or miss. Make sure to check the animal shows and talks so you can see everything. There is also a vet centre where you can watch sick animals being cared for. Entrance to the zoo is around $25 for adults and $12 for children. better to go on a weekday to avoid crowds.
The national museum of New Zealand, you can easily spend the whole day wandering around the museum with their many interactive exhibits that both children and adults will find interesting. This is the museum if you want to learn more about the Maori culture. Always check their website because they always have special exhibits. They also have a great gift shop where you can find beautiful local pieces as well as some cafes where you can hangout.
The museum paints a vivid picture of the Wellington’s past and would be of interest to visitors keen on history, particularly maritime or social history. It is small compared to Te Papa museum but equally worth a visit. Admission is free and it’s open daily from 10am – 5pm.
Weta Cave is known for being Peter Jackson’s movie and effects studio most famous for the Lord of the Rings series. Besides the studios, Weta has a small museum/shop that contains props, characters and displays from notable movies you would have enjoyed over the years such as Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Adventures of Tintin, Ghost in a Shell, and District 9 among others. You can also purchase memorabilia and replica props there with prices that go up to a thousand dollars. There is a 20-minute screening that explains Weta’s involvement with special effects in many A-list movies. It is definitely worth checking out especially if you’re a fan of the movies on their repertoire. If you’d like to see more, the main studio is right next door and is where they conduct different tours for a fee. Check the link below to know more.
Wellington is home to the offices of the members of the parliament. There are free tours where you can go inside the buildings and get the opportunity to see the parliament in session. You can just walk up without a booking, and the tours run every hour and usually continue up to 4pm. Worth the visit if you want to see what goes on in the New Zealand government.
Easily accessible from the city centre (located in front of Te Papa or Wellington Museum), this attractive harbor houses Wellington’s iconic colorful boat sheds that make it a perfect backdrop for your social media snap. It also has a great open space for a leisurely stroll with the family. There are a lot of places to eat or drink along the promenade. Every Saturday, there is an underground market where you can buy locally handcrafted items.
Pick up local crafts or fresh produce, enjoy some street food, or meet and greet the locals.
Wellington Underground Market
Frank Kitts Carpark, Jervois Quay (Wellington Waterfront)
Monday – Sunday
10:30am – 9pm
Wellington Night Market
Fridays & Saturdays
7:30am – 2pm
Next to Te Papa
Wellington’s railway station is a charming old historic building that offers train and bus rides within the city and to other states. There is a small café and a modest supermarket for longer waits. This is also a good place to start your exploration of Wellington and surrounding area.