Wellington or Auckland | Which is New Zealands Best City

Listening in on other people's conversations is the best way to get yourself an honest opinion, or giving them a few drinks, and it is through this means that I began to understand a little bit of a healthy rivalry between Auckland City and Wellington City. When I delved a little bit more it became much more apparent that this Wellington Vs Auckland debate resulted in some pretty passionate feelings and opinions.

What better way to channel such extreme passion than to exploit it to my advantage to discuss which city will take the crown as the best city of New Zealands North Island: Wellington or Auckland. Auckland is the biggest city, Wellington is the Capital city, so if you could only visit one of them, which would you choose?

Auckland Vs Wellington

In order to understand the big picture we must remind ourselves of a little New Zealand history. Auckland was originally the capital of New Zealand but Wellington replaced it in 1865 suggesting a possible inferiority complex on Auckland's part. Nobody likes to be demoted. Perhaps this is why Auckland strives to remain in close competition with the capital city to the present day.

wellington vs auckland - auckland mission beach rangitoto


On paper, these cities are ridiculously similar in what they can offer.

  • Both have the obligatory city sites: a zoo, botanical gardens and museums as well as that something different.
  • Both are situated on the waterfront and have nearby Islands to explore and escape the city.
  • Both cities have impressive beaches nearby and even share the same claim to fame that their beach featured in the film 'The Piano', Auckland's Muriwai Beach and Wellington's KareKare Beach.
  • Both have parks and green areas.
  • Both have top drinking spots and fine cuisine.

In both of these New Zealand cities there is pretty much something for everyone, so which one has the edge over the other? I asked around for some input in to whether Wellington or Auckland should reign supreme and the results are both surprising and insightful.

AucklandMuseum edit gobeirne

Auckland is New Zealands Best City?

"Auckland is a necessary evil where international people arrive and go no further and where people choose salary over lifestyle". Possibly a fair point although from my experience it is a struggle to get people to remain in Auckland and to this day I have not heard one person remotely suggest that their salary is the reason they are in Auckland.

"Auckland is trying to be London, it is too big and widespread with unfriendly people." No offence London!

On a more positive note, "Auckland is a thriving, young, and culturally diverse town. Combine that with every possible destination you actually want to visit at your fingertips and you have paradise!" it has to be said, as a base Auckland is possibly second to none. Spectacular Islands, the Hauraki Gulf, remote black sand beaches and rainforest all within an hour of the city centre.

Wellington is New Zealands Best City?


There's fighting talk from the Wellington camp though "The Te Papa Museum in Wellington does not bore you to death, it is modern and exhibits exhibitions that people are interested in, there is even an outdoor garden and wildlife centre."

Many people mentioned Wellington for it's cafes, restaurants, shopping, and general laid back atmosphere, "Wellingtonians are the most laid back compared to other cities... there's a good mix of business people in suits as well as funky artsy people doing all sorts of creative things."

However, if I'm honest there were a couple of questionable claims to fame including "Home of the New Zealand Soccer Team". Firstly it's football and secondly, it is commendable that they have made the World Cup but most other countries have been doing it consistently on a regular basis.

"While Wellington is great for a visit with all of its bars and style, there's only so much one can take of musos, wind, crap weather, politicians, and guys in stovepipe black jeans!" A very diplomatic response from Team Auckland.

At the end of this discussion I am none the wiser as to which city should claim to be New Zealands best city out of Wellington or Auckland and I am certain the debate and rivalry will and should continue.

Why not check out both cities for yourself and then please let us know what your opinion is, who should win, Auckland or Wellington?

  • Book your stay in Wellington at Nomads - Book Now!
  • Book your stay in Auckland at Nomads - Book Now!

From the Author: Cheska would like to thank her fellow colleagues in both Auckland, from Nomads Auckland and Wellington, from Nomads Capital, for their passionate contributions to the article!

Hero Image: Auckland by night across water. Credit Sky City Auckland. Tourism New Zealand


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