The capital of New Zealand is a fantastic city to spend time in. It has bags of character and allure, with distinct districts going from the hills to the sea to downtown, and it also boasts many classy museums and landmarks.
In recent years the New Zealand capital has really found its stride as a sophisticated hotspot of café culture and fine dining. The city certainly isn’t lacking a depth of history either, with traditional Maori art on display in its many galleries, and a scattering of world-class museums like the outstanding Te Papa Tongarewa. A sweeping coastline with native wildlife is on your doorstep, while nearby hills hide the film locations of some very famous productions.
Don’t just stick to the city – Wellington’s surrounds offer unrivalled natural beauty and relaxed rural communities. Drink your fill in the wine towns of Martinborough and Masterton, or head to the rugged hills and coves of the Kapiti Coast. Only happy with high-rises and luxury hotels? Downtown Wellington delivers these and more, with a choice of the bustling CBD or the quieter waterfront and Oriental Bay.
Even the most reluctant shoppers will find something to pique their interest in the streets of Wellington. Start with the Golden Mile, a popular shopping area with all the high street trimmings. Then, if you fancy delving into the more bohemian side of the city, head to Cuba Street – home to vintage fashion, quirky bookstores and lashings of street art. Of course, there are also plenty of weekly produce markets for fresh local veg, seafood and even cookery classes.
Wellington’s culinary scene is world-famous, and for good reason. The city enjoys a healthy supply of fresh produce from both the land and the sea, with specialties including fresh seafood and Wairarapa wine. Take advantage of these superb New Zealand flavors by visiting internationally acclaimed seafood restaurant Martin Bosley’s or well-established eatery The White House, which prides itself on using local free range pork and herbs from its rooftop garden.
From the lofty cable car and Mount Victoria Lookout to coastal seal tours and the verdant marvels of Zealandia, exploring Wellington throws up a whole host of exciting highlights. Every whim is catered for here, with films buffs delighting in the Lord of the Rings tours and culture vultures able to while away endless hours in some of the most interactive museums in the world.
As far as spread of attractions and entertainment options, Wellington is about the best city in New Zealand for the enjoyment factor. It is beautifully laid out, with busy city thoroughfares, a delectable waterfront and lush hills all within the city, making it an ideal destination for walkers.
Unlike Auckland, Wellington is compact and easy to navigate for shoppers and there are all kinds of shopping options, from top-end designer gear and crafts to second-hand goods. There are also some excellent markets in Wellington and it is fun to shop any time of year.
Wellington has a huge number of snack bars, cafés, coffee shops, restaurants and food courts per head, and the best thing is that most of it is all within the city center. You can get everything from traditional Maori fare and the best New Zealand venison and lamb, to top quality seafood and a variety of ethnic cuisines.
The New Zealand capital is in-keeping with most of the rest of the country, in that it is safe and has little in the way of violent crime. Petty theft will always be a worry no matter where you go and bear in mind that New Zealand's summers and winters are switched with those of the northern hemisphere.
The New Zealand capital has a wealth of heritage preserved in its ancient buildings and streets, more so than any other city in the country. A combination of its setting on a hillside overlooking the water and profusion of high profile government buildings and museums has led to this status.