New Zealand is an all-rounded country with everything you can enjoy, be it beer, food, or nature. Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, is a center for Kiwi culture, creativeness, and culinary genius. While Auckland doesn’t fall far behind, Wellington truly excels in all aspects and is an interesting place to visit when you travel to New Zealand. It has even been dubbed as the Capital of Cool. Wellington truly lives up to the image, and you'll love the vibe of this whole city.
Where is Wellington?
So, where is Wellington exactly located? This capital of cool is located in New Zealand, in the south most tip of the North Island. It is right between Cook straight and Remutaka Range, which provides a nice silhouette against the Wellington sky. This city is also the world’s southernmost city.
Traveling to Wellington
Wellington is easily accessible whether you are traveling by air, sea, road, or train. The airport is located at a convenient distance from the city center. It will only take 15 minutes to reach here. If you are traveling by sea or cruise, you can easily do that too. For those who are traveling from Auckland to Wellington, take the awesome rail journey. Or, you can hit the two major state highways SH1 or SH2 and travel to Wellington in no time. The road is beautiful, so you won't get tired of driving. Auckland, too, is easily accessible. But the airport is a good 45 minutes away from downtown Auckland. So, it’s far easier to travel to Wellington.
Now you know where Wellington is and how you can travel there. But what is the best city when you compare Auckland to Wellington? There are mixed opinions about this all over the internet. Both of these cities offer similar attractions. But there are some points about Wellington which make this city the best among the two.
From craft beer to artistic creations, here are 10 reasons why you should travel to Wellington instead of Auckland.
1. Excellent food wherever you go
It’s not an exaggeration to call Wellington a paradise for foodies. When you travel to New Zealand, trying the awesome food from Wellington is a must-do. From pop-up food trucks, craft beer, to fine dining, you’ll get to experience a range of international tastes in Wellington. If you want to get an insight into the culinary genius of this city, join a culinary walking tour. You'll get to check out awesome places, including chocolate and peanut butter factories.
The street food scene in Wellington, too, is far superior to Auckland. The little shops sell everything from waffles to Japanese food items. Hannahs Laneway is the greatest place for the best foodie experience.
You should definitely taste craft beer and wine in the Wairarapa region when you visit Wellington. This city is also famous for coffee. Anywhere you go, you’ll get awesome coffee that can beat Starbucks coffee on any day. While you are here, check out the local Maori cuisine. For fine dining, visit Logan Brown. This restaurant offers awesome food combining Kiwi tastes and French cuisine.
2. The Cuba street
Cuba Street is a fine representation of the creativity of Wellingtonians. Complete with awesome food, live music, local bars, and nightlife, this street is a street for everyone. The local book stores have an impressive collection of books, including books by local writers and poets. If you love music, you'll love record stores like the slow boat records store. Experiencing the nightlife in Cuba street will leave you in awe.
This street hosts an annual festival called CubaDupa to celebrate everything that creates Cuba street. So, if you come here, you definitely need to see this festival. From craft beer bars and awesome live performers at every corner, Cuba street is one of the best reasons why you should travel to Wellington rather than Auckland.
3. Oriental bay
The oriental bay is a must-visit place when you travel to New Zealand. It offers an awesome view of the coastline complete with mountains against the cloudy New Zealand sky. This is the perfect place for a walk, a picnic, or a little bicycling in the evenings. And, if you fancy a dinner looking over at the waterfront, this is the best place.
4. Historical sites around Wellington
What better place to see the best historical sites in New Zealand than the cultural capital, Wellington? This city is far more attractive in historical value than Auckland. The national archive contains everything from the independence declaration to women’s suffrage petition. This certainly is a cool place for a history geek. Spots like Old St. Paul are also great spots for history lovers.
If you love movies, the New Zealand Film Archive is a great place to visit. This place reflects the movie industry's history and has an impressive collection of movies, including American silent movies. Here, you may also get to see free shows.
5. Te Papa Museum
After you visit the national archives, visit the Te Papa (Our Place) museum, which is right next to it. This extraordinary museum deserves a spot by itself. It is the ideal place to go to get the gist of Kiwi culture and history. It's so large, and you'll hardly cover it all in one day. Being Wellington, this museum also has an excellent coffee shop you might want to check out.
Visit the art gallery and see the detailed life-like statues portraying the history of New Zealand here. Te Papa is the best place to see the beautiful culture of the native Maori people and different artifacts from all over the world.
Auckland has a similar museum, but the Te Papa gives double the value completely for free. Yes, you read it right. You can access this museum free of charge. Awesome, right? And you can only get this in Wellington.
6. Carter observatory
The native Maori people of this ‘Land of Long white clouds’ (as the Maori people called New Zealand) used to be seafarers. They used the stars in the sky to find their way. Keeping that legacy alive, the Carter Observatory is the longest-serving observatory in New Zealand. This is the best place to do some stargazing of the southern skies through the Thomas Cooke telescope.
7. Cable car ride
The cable car ride is definitely a highlight in Wellington. This historical ride is between the shopping street Lambton Quay and Kelburn. Kelburn is a suburb in the hills and will offer an amazing view of the city below. If you come here at nighttime, you’ll get to see the city lights too.
At the end of the 5-minute ride, visit the cable car museum and see the original cable car that was used on these tracks. When you are at the top, you can either get a ticket and return from a cable car or take a walk down to the city through the botanical garden. This botanical garden has a beautiful collection of native and exotic plants and incredible landscapes. So, we, of course, recommend you take this route. Also, if you come here in summer, there are frequent summer concerts hosted in this garden.
8. Wellington zoo and Zealandia
This awesome zoo is one of the best zoos in New Zealand. It has many animals from African lions, giraffes, chimpanzees, penguins, and more. Auckland too, has a similar zoo. But, the highlight of Wellington zoo is that it's completely free. After walking around the zoo, don't forget to visit Zealandia too. Zealandia is an ecosanctuary located in Wellington. This is home to some rarest animals, including native birds like the kaka birds. If you are a nature lover, this sanctuary is perfect for visiting.
9. The harbor-side market
Markets are great places to enjoy the local scene and discover different things unique to a country. The Wellington harbor side market is one of the most colorful places in Wellington. Here, you can buy anything from flowers, cheese, bread, seafood, and many more. You’ll surely encounter many food trucks as well.
10. Weta Workshop
We saved the best for the last. The Weta Workshop is one of Wellington's best things that makes this city far more superior to Auckland. Weta workshop is responsible for some incredible movie productions like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Chronicles of Narnia, Avatar, Lord of the Rings, and more. Visit this place to see the original statues of different creatures right out of The Lord of the Rings movies. There is also a souvenir shop, and you can have a chat with the staff and watch a short documentary as well. This place is an incredible showcase of Wellingtonian creativity at its best.
If you have plans to travel to New Zealand, Wellington is a must-see place. But, don’t forget to check out Auckland as well. While Wellington has a vibrant vibe about it, Auckland is definitely a great spot for adrenaline junkies who’d enjoy bungee jumping from the Auckland sky tree.
The comparison of Auckland to Wellington has been an ongoing battle for some time now. While both cities are amazing, Wellington is the best place to come into contact with the unique Kiwi culture. You’ll enjoy every moment of Wellington.