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Wellington sign

The story goes that one of the reasons Wellington is so windy is that there are so many politicians in town. Once labeled “the coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet, Wellington can get really, really windy (and cold!), but on a good day, it’s a great place to be.

The country’s capital (pop 210,000) is compact, with bushy hillsides and steep slopes surrounding the harbour and city, flat land at a premium. This is the capital, becoming so in 1865 because of its proximity to the centre of the country, in order to appease South Islanders who opposed the capital being Auckland.

It’s a busy, bustling city with all the buildings you’d expect - Parliament and Te Papa (the National Museum) - but it also shows its quirky side in Cuba Street, a full-on craft beer and caffeine scene, plus it’s nickname of Wellywood (think Wellington & Hollywood), mainly thanks to Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fame.

There’s always plenty going on – but hang onto your hat when the wind blows!

Eat, Drink & Ents Wellington

Shop Wellington

Cuba Street

Colourful & quirky

Mt Victoria Lookout

Best views of the capital

New Zealand Parliament

Watch decisions being made!

Te Papa

NZ's national museum

Wellington Cable Car

Impressive views & botanic gardens

Sky Stadium

Wellington's "Cake Tin"

Weta Cave

Imaginary worlds brought to life

Zealandia (Te Māra a Tāne)

Predator-fenced urban eco-sanctuary

Text © Craig McLachlan

Image by Bex Walton