Wellington New Zealand, has been called the ‘Coolest Little Capital in the World’. I am not going to argue with that. Wellington is a small city nestled on a beautiful harbor, surrounded by a lovely accessible green belt and a ‘couple’ of hills. The upside of those hills – the view. This is our Beginner’s Guide to Wellington City, where we share some of our favourite places to visit, things to do, and of course, to eat.
Recently, I posted about having a staycation, which got me to thinking – if I had a good friend coming to Wellington for the first time, what would I recommend they absolutely must do? This is our guide to Wellington, New Zealand.
Wellington is the Captial City of New Zealand and has a rich Maori history pre-dating European colonisation. An insight on some of that history can be found here and here. Our Maori heritage in New Zealand provides us with a unique place in the world. It is important to start this guide to Wellington by acknowledging the original inhabitants of this place.
So let’s begin our Beginner’s Guide to Wellington with a few things you should know:
Before we go any further, I need to get something off my chest. Wellington’s weather can be tempestuous, changeable, stunning, warm, cold, wet and windy. Oh, and that could be in one day. But life is what you make of it. I think we should celebrate the weather in Wellington, it always gives us something to talk about. The trick is to be prepared – this is captured in one magic word layering. You will need to be prepared for any types of weather and the best way to do that is to wear layers. Our favourites are Icebreaker Merino which is warm enough to keep the wind out and very easy to layer – here are a few we always have in our bag – Icebreaker Merino Women’s Dia Long Sleeve Zip Hoodie, Snow/Gritstone Heather, Large, Icebreaker Women’s Terra Long Sleeve Half Zip Hoodie, Black/Black/Black, X-Large, Icebreaker Merino Women’s Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe Align Print Top, Black/Snow, Small, Icebreaker Merino Men’s Descender Long Sleeve Zip Sweater, Black, Large, Icebreaker Men’s Tech T Lite Long Sleeve Shirt, Black, Medium.
When our days are warm and sunny they are glorious. Our waterfront fills up with people soaking in some warmth or enjoying a coffee or glass of wine at one of our many cafes or restaurants. When our days are blustery and cold, then I think there is something quite special about Wellington. You can wrap up and see a whole different side of the city.
Also, it can get a touch windy in Wellington. So keep this in mind as it will quickly undo your newly coiffed hair, ruin you umbrella (don’t bother!), or blow away the precious parking coupon you had in your hand. A good raincoat and hat is worth investing in too.
The upside of the wind – it can also blow away your brain fug. There have been many, many times I have been very happy to be a larger lady when the wind whips up in Wellington and my smaller counterparts have to grab something to hold on to – not me my friends. Me, I am anchored solidly in place. Boom.
You can fly, drive, sail, train or bus into Wellington. The airport is a 15 minute bus or $20 – 30 cab ride from the city centre.
Wellington is great for getting out and exploring. Getting around in Wellington is pretty straightforward. We are a compact city, so walking is a good way to get around the city centre. Wellington is situated on a harbour, surrounded by hills, so if you are going further afield than the city centre there are a couple of good options. A good place to start comparing these options is here.
Out and about
No guide to Wellington can be without ideas for getting out and exploring, having a wander and just being a bit nosey:
Things to do in Wellington, New Zealand
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Apparently, Wellington has more cafes per head of population than New York. Where to eat in Wellington is a surprisingly difficult question. There are so many choices for good restaurants in Wellington. You can find the full spectrum of dining choices in Wellington restaurants. I can tell you that if you are a coffee drinker – then Wellington is the place for you. So much good quality coffee – we love these places, plus you can check out their roasteries….go on, I know you want to. Wellington really is a great place if you love travel and food, here is our guide to Wellington restaurants to try.
We are also very, very spoilt for choice for food. Definitely, try and check out some of these, we love them, and have enjoyed good food/drinks and service at them all, all do blooming good coffee, so here are the places we love (and frequent):
So many choices, and so many more. If there is a particular kind of food experience of cuisine you want to know about – leave a comment below – or get in touch with Andrew, who could tailor a tour of some of our favourite spots for you.
There are plenty of Wellington hotels to choose from. Here are a few options of where to stay in Wellington, ones we love and have enjoyed staying at.
If you have a bit more time you should also head out to Petone (train, bus, drive) where another foodie mecca awaits– but that would be a whole other guide which you can find here!
Wellington is a great place to explore. Lots to do and see – plus the people are lovely and friendly.
Come and visit, you can’t beat Wellington on a good day, hopefully, our guide to Wellington has whet your appetite. If you liked this post, check out our other posts from our home country New Zealand:
In case you need more of an incentive to come and visit, check out these gorgeous videos of Wellington:
‘The Coolest Little Capital in the World’ by Stephen Patience
‘Little Wellington‘ by Michael Jooss.