I moved to Wellington about four months ago. To this day, I can’t actually think what drove me to come here. I’m originally from the UK, so it’s not like New Zealand was right on my doorstep. However, one day I got on a plane and, after a few months pottering around the rest of the country, Wellington is where I eventually settled. Not a day goes by when I’m not glad to be here.
When in Manila, some of you might be thinking, ‘Why the heck should I go to Wellington?’
Well, here’s my list of reasons to spend some time in New Zealand’s coolest little capital.
1. It’s pretty. No, scratch that. It’s Beautiful. Wellington is enclosed by rolling hills, and surrounded by crystal blue water. I’m not even exaggerating: look below.
Try: Braving the climb up Mount Victoria on a sunny day. Trust me; the views are worth it. You can even see the South Island on a clear day. Take a picnic and make an afternoon of it. it’s where I look the above photo.
2. It’s friendly. NZedders are renowned for being a chilled out bunch of dudes and dudettes, and the ones who reside in Wellington are no different. People smile at you over shop counters, and offer help willingly if you need it. They’re interested in you and where you came from, and are happy to share stories over a cold pint of lager.
Try: Pub Quiz at the Green Man, Corner of Willesden and Victoria Streets. A great way to make friends and have a yarn on a Monday night.
3. The nightlife is awesome. It’s true. Don’t let the size of this capital deceive you; Wellingtonians know how to party. Courtenay Place on a Friday and Saturday night is nothing short of rambunctious, with music blasting out of the many clubs and bars and a festival atmosphere on the street. If a quieter night is more your thing, there are plenty of other well-stocked bars on tamer streets, so you’ll never be short of somewhere to go.
Try: Matterhorn Bar, Cuba Street. Voted best bar in the country and a great vibe. Hashigo Zake on Taranaki Street is also a personal favourite of mine, and offers a mind-boggling selection of brews and amazing Umeshu (Japanese plum wine).
4. It’s artsy. This also. In the day time, if you’re not too hungover from a night spent on Coutenay Place, there is SO much to see and do in this city, and mostly at cheap prices. There’s a whole ton of art galleries you can mosey your around in, or you can just sit and listen to the vast array of buskers and street performers on Cuba Street. Also, why not take a trip to the theatre? I recently went to see a production at Bats Theatre, and it really was impressive.
Try: The Medicine stand up comedy, at Meow on Te Aro Street. Fine comedians, 2 hours of comedy, and a great setting. What more could you ask for at 5 bucks a pop?
5. The shopping is great. High Street chains on Manners and Willis street. Funky independent stores on Cuba street. High End boutiques on Lambton Quay. Whatever your shopping style, Wellington definitely caters for it. You can pick up some awesome bargains, too.I got some nifty little ankle boots from High Street store Cotton On the other day, and they only cost NZ$15!
6. The food is even better than the shopping. New Zealand is a melting pot of so many races and cultures, and this really shows up in the food that’s on offer. Japanese, Thai, Turkish, Indian… it’s all here, and there are some great authentic little restaurants.
Try: Pan De Muerto Mexican Restaurant on Kent Terrace. Authentic Mexican cuisine, great cocktails, and $5 tequila shots on Saturday nights. Perfection.
7. It’s relatively cheap to stay here. Maybe I’m just used to London, but I find that Wellington is surprisingly gentle on the purse-strings. I stayed at a number of backpacker hostels when I first arrived, all offering rooms at around NZ$27 a night. New World and Pac n’ Save supermarkets sell your staple foods at low prices, and watch out for countless cheap drinks deals at the student bars around town.
Try: Downtown Backpackers, Bunny Street. Conveniently close to the shops and train station, and a huge list of activities on offer. Dorms start at $25 per night.
So there we have it; I hope I’ve managed to convince you that Wellington really is worth a visit.
When in Manila, if you want to go to Wellington, all you need to do is apply for a visa!
Why should I go to Wellington? 7 Reasons why YOU should visit New Zealand’s Capital