I’m writing this post as I’ve met lots of people travelling around NZ who said they weren’t sure if Wellington is worth visiting. Without a solid answer they went straight to/from the ferry terminal, bypassing Wellington and carrying on their journey.
Why were they doing this? There were three reasons popping up regularly:
- The weather was shit.
- Not enough time to see everything.
- It’s expensive and I don’t like cities.
I’ll have to agree with the first one. If the weather is shit and the forecast is for the next few days, then biting the bullet and moving on is smart.
Not enough time to see everything. Yea, okay I can sort of buy into this one as there’s so much to see in the country, and if you’ve got just a couple of weeks then not some stuff simply can’t make the cut.
But writing off the cities as expensive and just another city I can’t handle. It’s the countries coolest capital after all. And there’s no place in NZ that’s cheap. As you can tell, I’m definitely on TEAM WELLINGTON.
So here I go with eight reasons to visit Wellington. Because it’s worth it!
8 Reasons Wellington Is Worth Visiting
1. The Coffee Culture Is World Class
Cuba Street is the mecca for coffee in Wellington, perhaps even across the country. That’s supported by all of the other places serving up great coffee around the city. I’m no coffee connoisseur, but locals and tourists have repeated over and over again how good it is. Two of the must-visit spots are Fidels and Midnight.
2. See Epic View Points Over The City
Wellington CBD right on the harbour, exposed to any weather coming off the waters. To the east of the CBD there’s Mount Vic overlooking everything, and bordering the western side of the city is an awesome Green Belt littered with nice walking trails. These are beautiful trails in themselves and offer some great city views.
You can walk the likes of Mount Kaukau, or after visiting Zealandia, you can walk up to the Brooklyn wind turbine. For another sweet view, you can catch the ferry to Somes Island and look back at the city.
3. To Get A Balanced View Of The Kiwi Life
There’s no denying that NZ has heaps of natural beauty. For most of you reading this, it’s likely one of the reasons you’re coming to the country in the first place. That’s awesome and given the size of the country, other than landing and departing from one of the international city airports you might find yourself nowhere near a city.
Like a lot of the world though, NZ’s population is becoming urbanized and while you’ll meet awesome kiwis everywhere you go, you need a sample of regular life (whatever a regular life is?) to understand the country a bit better. Why not make the one city you spend a couple of days in be Wellington?
4. It’s So Damn Windy
Haha for real! When I was living there, I guess I got used to it. But having spent most of the last few years overseas, each return visit gives me a reminder. Even on a normal day, there seems to be a presence of wind. Now that you’ve read this, you’ll probably get a rare beautiful calm day while you’re in Wellington and think I’m lying (in which case, visit the beach). I’m not though, honest! If you want to learn why it’s so windy, this Wikipedia article will introduce you to the Roaring Forties.
Pro tip: leave the short dresses/skirts in the suitcase in Wellington.
5. Breweries Out Your Ears!
This is a scene that’s moved rapidly ever since Garage Project started to make a splash. New Zealand is often a bit behind the rest of the world with things that are trending, but the Craft beer game is strong. And Wellington is the strongest of them all as the craft beer capital of NZ. Walking into a supermarket gives you a plethora over local and international craft beer options, but the bars and breweries are where you really want to be.
One street I recall from my University days (2010ish) was a street people would go an take a pee on when on the beers. But now you’ve got some places like Goldings (mentioned below) and Fix and Fogg, making it a popular thoroughfare.
Some of the places to visit for a good quality craft beer are Goldings Free Dive, Hashigo Zake. At worst, if you leave Wellington having only had a high-quality beer, the Wellington is definitely been worth visiting. Right?
6. The City Is Walkable
I spent four years studying in Wellington, and other than owning a scooter with a friend for about two of those years (we didn’t live together so split the use of it), I walked pretty much everywhere. Wellington CBD is bordered by the harbour and hills meaning it is a higher density than most of the country, but this also means things are compact. There’s public transport, but it’s not super frequent like the bigger, more densely populated cities in the world (only dense by NZ standards).
7. A Base To Visit Lord of the Rings Locations
Thousands of people visit Hobbiton everyday, but that’s not the only famous movie location in the country, granted it’s the most iconic. Wellington has several, and they can all be accessed comfortably and if you’re super ambitious you can complete them all in a day. There’s Mount Vic, QE Park, the Pinnacles, and the Hutt River, as well as The Weta Cave. Read this post for more in’s and out’s.
8. 100% Epic Vegan Food Scene
This one is mainly for me and the few others who are vegans out there. Heck, it works vegetarians too. The vegan food scene is getting really competitive in the city. But the competition is friendly with many of the vegan related businesses coming together once a month to form an event called The Vegan Vault. That’s the sign of an awesome vegan community if you ask me.
If you want to try a couple spots, Laundry and Plant Blazed are top of the pops in my books. There are at least nine 100% vegan options on Happy Cow, plus lots of vegan options at other restaurants.
The only thing I’m a little concerned by is the amount of vegan junk food there is coming on the scene in NZ. Dominoes push their vegan pizzas now, and Magnum has released vegan ice cream. that’s two of the more popular ones.
Well there you go! Eight reasons why Wellington is worth it. What do you think? Is Wellington worth it?