Wellington, New Zealand, was named the Coolest Little Capital in the world by Lonely Planet and we can see why with a booming café and dining scene, diverse culture, breath-taking ocean views, friendly locals, and a strong community.
Are you planning a move to the Coolest Little Capital in the world? Yes, you read the right – Wellington, New Zealand, was named the Coolest Little Capital in the world by Lonely Planet.
And we can see why with a booming café and dining scene, diverse culture, breath-taking ocean views, friendly locals, and a strong community.
Let’s find out more about life in Wellington, New Zealand.
Situated at the bottom of the North Island, Wellington has a diverse and beautiful landscape. To the south, there is the Cook Straight and to the north, stretches of beautiful golden beaches known as the Kapiti Coast.
As a hilly region surrounded by water, you get spectacular views wherever you go. The close proximity and diversity of the region means within 10 minutes you can be hiking through trails or surfing down the coastline.
What’s more, the Wellington CBD is situated on the harbour making your work views that much nicer.
The nickname “Windy Welly” really says it all. Wellington is the windiest city in New Zealand, and some argue in the world. We have the Cook Straight to thank for that!
However, when Wellington isn’t blowing a gale, the climate is mild and temperate. In summer, Wellington’s average temperature ranges between 19-21 degrees Celsius and in winter between 6 and 12 degrees Celsius.
Don’t let the wind put you off – as locals say you can’t beat Wellington on a good day!
Wellington is home to over 380,000 people making it New Zealand’s second-biggest city. Over 60% are New Zealanders, and another 33% are ex-pats. The biggest number of ex-pats living in Wellington are from Asia, the UK, and Europe.
Majority of the Wellington population are NZ European (74%) while 14% are Māori and 13% are Asian.
According to the Mercer 2022 Cost of Living Survey, Wellington is a more affordable city than Auckland, New Zealand. For a family of four, the estimated monthly cost is around $5,252 and $1,463 for a single person. That is nearly 7% lower than Auckland.
The average household income in Wellington is roughly $120,000.
From modern apartments to sleek townhouses to large family homes – the Wellington region has it all.
The median house price is $1,000,000 and rent for a three-bedroom home is $940 a week, however, house prices vary significantly based on the suburb.
Four major areas that make up the Wellington region, Wellington City, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, and Porirua.
In the centre of all the action is Wellington city, this area is popular with families who want to be close to the CBD, university students, young professionals, and retirees. The average median house price in Wellington city is $1.2 million.
Popular suburbs in Wellington City include Newton a quirky neighbourhood that attracts students, creatives, families, and ex-pats. Home to the Wellington Hospital, Wellington Zoo, and some of Wellington’s best cafes, restaurants, and eateries it’s no wonder so many choose to live in Newton.
Another popular inner-city neighbourhood includes Kelburn. A laid-back suburb best known for the Wellington Botanic Gardens, Cable Car, Cater Observatory, and Victoria University of Wellington. This district is popular with people at all stages of life and because of this, it’s one of Wellington’s most diverse suburbs.
15 minutes from the city centre is the Lower Hutt region called “The Hutt” by locals. A popular place with young professionals and families due to its range of housing options, great public transport, award-winning public and private schools, and over 14 playgrounds.
What’s more, rent and house prices in Lower Hutt tend to be cheaper than in the city centre. The average median house price in Lower Hutt is $900k
The seaside town of Eastbourne is a popular spot with families, due to its tight-knit community feel and incredibly friendly locals. With large green parks, bush walks, and the beach all within 5 minutes walk there is plenty to keep the kids entertained over the weekend. For anyone who works in the city, it is just a short 20-minute ferry ride across the harbour.
Another popular suburb is Petone, again situated along the harbour, Petone offers a quaint and quirky small-town vibe. First home buyers, families, and retirees all enjoy life in Petone with the main strip Jackson St home to an array of cafes, bars, restaurants, and artisan food products. Only a street over is the Petone Esplanade which is perfect for biking, walking, swimming, and rowing.
A stone’s throw from Lower Hutt is the district of Upper Hutt. Home to 70% of Wellington’s parks and reserves Upper Hutt is a popular choice for those who love the outdoors. With a very strong sense of community Upper Hutt is made up of mainly young families and retirees.
The median house price in Upper Hutt is $920k
Popular suburbs in Upper Hutt include Silverstream and Heretaunga. Silverstream is the second largest suburb of Upper Hutt and home to six schools including, Hutt International Boys School and St Patricks College. Silverstream Park is one of the neighbourhoods’ best green spaces and is directly across from the Village which is filled with quaint cafes, supermarkets, and shops.
Up the road from Silverstream is Heretaunga – a leafy suburb popular with families and retirees due to its quiet tree-lined streets.
20km North of Wellington is Porirua a town made up of beaches, forests, and wetlands. This city is a popular place to live, as it’s far enough from the CBD that you can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere but close enough that you don’t miss out on all the fun. Porirua offers a range of housing from modern homes to lifestyle blocks and beautiful beachside properties.
The median house price in Porirua is $985k
Pāuatahanui is a popular suburb in Porirua for those after a quiet, relaxed vibe. The village centre has some of the oldest buildings in the Wellington region and showcases the history of both Māori and European settlers. At the centre is the Pāuatahanui inlet, the largest unmodified estuarine area in the North Island. Filled with walking tracks, picnic areas, and viewing spots – your Sunday morning activities are sorted.
Much like Eastbourne, the Seaside suburb of Plimmerton is a tight knit community. The Plimmerton Domain is a popular place for families with over 3 football fields and plenty of areas to play. Just across the town centre is the shopping area which includes medical centre, grocery store, and several eateries.
New Zealand has a world-class health care system. It is heavily subsided by the government and hospital services are free or at a low cost if you’re a resident, citizen, or have held a work visa for more than two years.
Wellington has four public hospitals including, Wellington Hospital, Hutt Hospital, Wairarapa Hospital, and Kenepuru Hospital.
There are over 246 schools in the Wellington region with a mix of public and private, primary, and secondary schools. Most schools in Wellington are zoned – which means if you live in the area your child is guaranteed a place, if not they have to go into a ballet. The good news is that there are top ranked schools scattered across the region – so wherever you live, your child will receive a quality education.
Popular schools include:
Primary to Secondary:
Wellington is also home to world-class universities including Victoria University of Wellington one of New Zealand’s top-ranked universities, Massey University, and Whitireia New Zealand.
Whether you’re an artsy creative type or an analytical numbers type, Wellington is an innovative city that has plenty of job prospects in a range of industries.
As the Cultural and Film Capital of New Zealand, Wellington is home to Weta Workshop famous for making Lord of the Rings and Avatar. Because of this, lots of creatives set up shop in Wellington.
What’s more, Wellington houses New Zealand parliament and all the head offices for ministries and departments so there are plenty of jobs available in the government sector.
Other popular industries include IT, engineering, business and finance, health, and construction.
To see current job availabilities, visit:
First and foremost, it’s time for a cup of coffee… ranked as one of the best cities in the world for coffee and an array of quirky cafes to choose from – how could you not. If you’re not from New Zealand and love a Latte you must try the signature kiwi Flat White!
Once you’ve got your coffee fix there is plenty more to keep you and your family entertained. You can spend the day with wildlife at Zealandia, Wellington’s Wildlife Sanctuary or check out the animals at The Wellington Zoo. If you prefer to spend your days indoors, Te Papa – The Museum of New Zealand has a range of exhibits to explore, and the discovery centre is especially popular with kids.
We could go on and on but to save us writing a novel here are 50 more things to do in Wellington.
Overall, Wellingtonians have a fantastic quality of life. In the most recent quality of life, survey 91% of locals rate their overall quality of life as positive. With 89% saying Wellington is a great place to live.
To top it off, the 2021 Safe Cities index ranked Wellington as the safest city in New Zealand and the 7th safest city in the world.
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