Wellington New Zealand

Wellington New Zealand is the capital city and is located at the bottom of the North Island.

Although most visitors to New Zealand are not usually attracted specifically to the cities, Wellington can’t be avoided if travelling from the North to the South Island because it is where the ferries are.

You could just go straight to the harbour if you don’t want to go into the City but, if you have time, there are many unique places to visit in Wellington.

View of Wellington From the Harbour
Wellington New Zealand City Harbour, Lady Elizabeth Lane, Waterloo Quay Buildings

A lot of Wellington is built on reclaimed land due to the surrounding hills restricting available flat building space. Reclamation of land into the harbour to accumulate enough flat land for the city to expand went on for around one hundred years.

Nevertheless, the hills around the city do have houses built all over them, some of which seem to be in precarious positions and can only be accessed on foot. The views from the Victorian and Edwardian residences perched up on the steep slopes must be fantastic though.

Wellington Waterfront, City, and Hills
Wellington waterfront, city buildings, and suburbs in the hills, Capital City, North Island, New Zealand

Central Wellington

Central Wellington is fairly compact due to the shape of the landscape restricting available building land. This is good because it makes it easy to walk around the central city without having to think too much about transport. The city mix is of historical and modern buildings, bustling cafe culture waterfront, beaches and marinas, surrounded by a backdrop of native bush, beautiful parks and Zealandia urban wildife sanctuary.

Wellington Harbour

Wellington City Ferry Terminal
Wellington New Zealand Ferry Terminal and View of City Buildings

In my opinion, you can get the best overall view of Wellington when you are out on the water. Wellington Harbour has excellent water based activities such as kite-boarding, windsurfing, kayaking, diving, paddle boarding and pedal boats.

If you want to go faster have a go at water skiing, wake-boarding, and jet skiing. And if you have no experience of any of these activities you can book lessons or a course.

Fishing, sailing, and charter boats are all on offer in Wellington harbour, along with sailing lessons.

Wellington Ferry Terminal

Wellington to Picton Ferries - Cook Strait Ferries

Day trips on a Wellington Harbour Ferry across the harbour from Queens Wharf.

Wellington Train and Bus Transport

Climate in Wellington New Zealand

Wellington is known as the windy city for a good reason… it is really windy! Chilly air blowing through the Cook Strait seems to blow harder through the high-rise buildings in the central city. Even in higher temperatures of summer it may not feel that warm if it is one of those characteristically windy days in Wellington.

Very Brief History of Wellington Settlement

Oral histories maintained by the Maori tell of; Maui fished up the North Island with the fish mouth being the harbour and Kupe, the first Polynesian navigator in 925AD, who discovered the harbour and named the islands after his daughters. There was rich fishing in the area for the original Maori settlers and the harbour provided protection for their settlements.

Although Abel Tasman tried to get into Wellington Harbour in 1642, followed by Captain Cooks attempt in 1773, neither managed to enter the harbour due to strong winds. It was 1840 before Europeans managed to start settling on land by the harbour followed by having to move several times to avoid Hutt River flooding. The eventual location for settlement was known as Lambton Harbour and got renamed to Wellington (after the Duke of Wellington). Originally, Auckland was the capital city of New Zealand but in 1865 the growing city of Wellington was given the title.

Wellington Population

Wellington region population is the second highest in New Zealand at 418,500 (2019). Auckland is the most populated city but it is Wellington that hosts the government offices of parliament and associated institutions.

Tourist Information for Wellington

Wellington has a free i-SITE Visitor Information Centre for advice about travel, activities, tours and accommodation in and around Wellington. The centre can make bookings and arrangements for you, not only in Wellington but also across New Zealand. An i-SITE centre is always a good place to visit if you are a tourist or a local.

The Wellington i-SITE centre is currently sharing with the Department of Conservation (DOC) which means it’s easy to visit the local DOC office at the same time.

Wellington i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
18-32 Manners Street, Te Aro 6011, Wellington

Wellington New Zealand Location