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New Zealand’s cool and breezy capital, known for culture and craft beer

Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand, though the second largest and second most populous in the country after Auckland.

Hanging from the southwest foot of North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range, the waterfront capital is well situated in the geographical centre of New Zealand and was originally chosen by British settlers for this strategic trading location.

Wellington is the world’s southernmost capital and holds the title of the windiest city in the world, with an average wind speed of 26 kilometres per hour. Don’t let the bracing ocean breezes put you off though, as the city is a cultural hub of compelling museums, creative arts, hipster coffee joints and a craft beer scene determined to rival New Zealand’s exceptional wine industry.

The National Museum of New Zealand, known as Te Papa, is a great place to start to get to know the country’s unique cultural, geological and biological history (plus, admission is free).

Tolkien fans will love a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Middle Earth at the Weta Cave mini-museum of Lord of the Rings special effects, while nature lovers should take a trip to nearby Zealandia, a project which aims to return 225 hectares of bush into a pre-human state.

Take a ride on the iconic Wellington Cable Car for gorgeous cityscapes and a visit to the Space Place at Carter Observatory (New Zealand has some of the darkest skies in the world, ideal for stargazing). Alternatively, scale Mount Victoria for panoramic views of the harbour, then grab some fish and chips to watch the sun go down and the lights come on.

Rumour has it that Wellington has more bars and restaurants per capita than New York City, fed by the fertile farmlands of North Island and fresh seafood from the surrounding waters.

This is also the craft beer and coffee capital, so get your glitterbeard on and head to hipster Cuba Street to sip on some expertly brewed coffee beans/hops.

“Windy Welly” may be the windiest, but it’s arguably also one of the coolest capital cities in the world, with a wide range of sightseeing and cultural activities that perfectly bookend a luxury trip around New Zealand.

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Best times to visit Wellington

As is a general rule in New Zealand, summer (December, January and February) can be uncomfortably busy as schools break up and festive holidays begin, as many New Zealanders flock to Wellington for their own holidays. Winter (June, July and August) is low season, however the strong gusty winds that make this city famous are also at their strongest and chilliest. Therefore, we recommend the best times to visit as the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn, particularly between March and May when the weather is still warm, but the summer crowds have departed.

As expected from a creative, cultural and literal capital, there are plenty of festivals and events going on throughout the year. Some popular ones to look out for include the NZ Fringe (February-March), Summer City (February-March), LUX Light Festival (May) and Beervana (August).

New Zealand's monthly weather chart

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to start planning your holiday, we’re looking forward to hearing from you


Accommodation in Wellington

Our stays in New Zealand’s capital include accommodation at the Novotel Wellington, a convenient and comfortable big-name hotel with a great location and chic contemporary style. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic views of the harbour and the property also has direct lift access to Lambton Quay, one of the city’s major shopping districts.

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