There’s nothing more exciting than visiting a new country, but with a limited time frame where should you go? It all starts with finding that one, unmissable destination that you simply have to see while you’re on holiday. If you’re visiting New Zealand? It has to be Wellington!
Affectionately known as ‘Wellywood’ or ‘The Windy City’ is New Zealand’s one and only capital city, despite what Auckland may have you believe! Wellington is alive with everything that Kiwis are best known for; arts, culture, food, and the great outdoors all come together in this wonderful little city, which makes it the perfect destination for travellers of all kinds.
Even backpackers on a tight budget will love all the free things Wellington has to offer.
So what is it that makes Wellington such a great destination? These six reasons sum it up nicely.
6 Reasons You Need To Visit Wellington, NZ’s Capital City,
1. You Can Get Around The City By Foot
If there’s one thing travellers remember about Wellington, it’s how easy it is to get around. And it’s true. Wellington is uniquely compact for a capital city, making it easy to walk from one end to another without so much as breaking a sweat. From Lambton Quay to Oriental Bay, you can discover the heart of New Zealand’s Harbour City without wheels.
No matter where you’re staying – be it central or on the outskirts – you’ll quickly learn the best ways to get from A to B. Most of the time, all you’ll need is a good pair of shoes. If your accommodation is a little further out, Wellington has an excellent public transport system.
Oh, and don’t forget to take a ride in the world-famous Cable Car from Lambton Quay to the beautiful suburb of Kelburn. This quirky ride takes you up to one of Wellington’s steepest slopes where you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the city once you reach the top.
2. Wellington Is Home To New Zealand’s Proudest Food & Coffee Culture
When it comes to food and coffee, Wellingtonians have it down to an art. You’ll find cuisines from all around the globe as well as eateries that cater to even the most intricate dietary requirements. Smell the aroma of freshly roasted beans as you walk past cafe after cafe where baristas share an unparalleled passion for all things coffee.
- Head to Cuba Street where you’ll find some of Wellington’s oldest cafes such as Fidel’s Cafe and Midnight Espresso (perfect for a late-night latte or bite to eat).
- Enjoy an award-winning meal at the Boulcott Street Bistro, Logan Brown, or Capitol Restaurant.
- Take a bus out to the popular Maranui Surf Life Saving Club in Lyall Bay or the Chocolate Fish Cafe in Miramar for coffee or lunch with coastal views.
- Get your Mojo Coffee fix at The Old Bank Arcade, where you’ll also find Wellington’s delightful Smith The Grocer.
From the beginning of Lambton Quay to the end of Courtney Place, Wellington City’s thriving food and coffee culture is one of the most memorable things about visiting this vibrant capital city.
3. There’s An Amazing Music & Arts Scene
Those who want to immerse themselves in the arts often move to Wellington, which explains the city’s amazing music and arts scene. Home to one of New Zealand’s leading drama schools, Tou Whakaari, Wellington has produced some of New Zealand’s most prominent actors, dancers, and musicians.
Whether you’re into musical theatre, opera, live gigs, or fringe theatre, you’ll find it in abundance in Wellington City. From the talented Cuba Street buskers to the bands that ignite the nightlife on Courtney place, music is a big part of Wellington’s culture.
Make sure you check out the City Gallery and open your eyes to contemporary art. The City Gallery is located in the central city’s Civic Square and, best of all, entry is free. If you love what you see, be sure to make a donation so wonderful Wellington attractions such as this can keep doing what they’re doing.
4. There’s Always Something To Do In Wellington
You won’t be sitting around twiddling your thumbs when you visit Wellington. Entertainment is what Wellington does best. Year-round, Wellington’s events list is constantly overflowing. With venues across the city and beyond, all you need to do is find out what’s on.
Wellington also offers plenty of free events for the budget-conscious traveller.
A capital city is not complete without a stadium, and Wellington is home to the Sky Stadium (formerly known as the Westpac Stadium). There is always a concert or major sports event to check out, and this much-loved landmark has been entertaining the masses since January 2000.
5. You Can Visit Wellington’s Beloved Te Papa Museum
Te Papa Museum debunks the myth that if you’ve seen one museum, you’ve seen them all. The architecture alone will draw you in. The Te Papa building has become one of Wellington’s most iconic landmarks.
Rich in symbolism, Te Papa’s structure consists of two sides. The north Maori face that looks out over the harbour, with walls representing the sea, hills, and sky, and the south European face that looks out to the city with vibrant colours and panels that represent European settlement.
Once inside, you’ll see why this museum is unlike any other. With an environment that seamlessly includes visitors of all ages and cultures, everyone can enjoy Te Papa’s world-class exhibitions and interactive opportunities. The best part? You can check it out for free.
6. Wellington Is Where Nature Meets The City
Wellington is known as the ‘hilly’ Harbour City for good reason. Bays and beaches line the city and its outskirts, while rolling hills give Wellington the undulating shape that it’s so well-known for. Walk to Oriental Bay in the central city or take a short bus ride out to surfers’ territory at Island Bay or Lyall Bay.
Each of Wellington’s bays and beaches are unique and worth checking out. But if you don’t make it further than the city centre, you’ll still be able to take in the waterfront beauty at the Queens Wharf.
Get close to nature without going too far by heading to Wellington’s stunning Botanic Gardens in the suburb of Thorndon. It’s here that you’ll find 25 hectares of lush garden filled with international and native collections. You could spend all day at the Botanic Gardens. In fact, many do.
These are just some of the reasons Wellington remains a must-visit location while you’re in New Zealand. Rain or shine, there are always plenty of things to do in Wellington. If you get stuck, the friendly locals will be only too happy to guide you in the right direction.
If you’re visiting New Zealand, don’t forget to add this cool capital to your destination list!
Author: Robert Jacob is a lifelong writer who loves the buzz of a busy airport, the first coffee in a new city, and meticulously organising his next trip in obtuse spreadsheets. He calls it a passion. His friends call it an obsession. You’ll find Robert waiting to catch that next flight or online across social media.