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When most people think of New Zealand, they think of beautiful landscapes, stunning viewslots of nature, and crazy adventure sportsAnd that’s because those are the things people most often write and post photos about. But I would imagine that very few people, upon hearing “New Zealand,” would think of the Beehive in Wellington, the harbor in Auckland, or the cobbled streets of Queenstown.

People know OF New Zealand’s cities. But I would hazard a guess that not many people have any idea what they actually look like.

So for the next couple of Fridays, I’ll be highlighting a different aspect of New Zealand for you, doing my best to show you what this beautiful country’s cities and towns look like beyond the rolling green hills and snow-capped mountains.

This week, the spotlight falls on Wellington.

Houses at Oriental Bay, Wellington, New Zealand

Houses looking out on Oriental Bay.

Wellington is my favorite city in New Zealand. It’s the capital city of the country, but forget about picturing any other world capital when you think of “Windy Welly,” as it’s been dubbed by the locals. This beautiful harbor city is not only the political capital of New Zealand, but also its cultural capital. Yes, you’ll find government-type folk here, but you’ll also find students and buskers and artists and normal Kiwis just going about their daily lives. Wellington isn’t nearly as big as Auckland to the north, but it’s still big enough to have a public transportation system and its own international airport. At the same time, though, it’s small enough to be walkable.

Instead of me telling you about it, though, let me show you:

Wellington, New Zealand

View of the harbor and Mt. Victoria from Queen's Wharf.

Civic Square, Wellington, New Zealand

Civic Square, with the fern ball sculpture suspended above.

Old Government Buildings, Wellington, New Zealand

The Old Government buildings down by Parliament.

NZ Parliament, Wellington, New Zealand

NZ Parliament, with the Beehive (Executive Wing) at the far end.

Wellington, New Zealand

View of the city from in front of the Beehive.

Wellington, New Zealand

Down by the waterfront.

Wellington, New Zealand

The view over the city from the cable car stop at the Botanic Garden.

Courtenay Place, Wellington, New Zealand

Courtenay Place, a popular nightlife spot downtown.

Courtenay Place, Wellington, New Zealand

Sculpture near the Embassy Theater at the end of Courtenay Place.

Courtenay Place, Wellington, New Zealand

Courtenay Place during the day.

Wellington Writer's Walk, New Zealand

Part of the Wellington Writer's Walk along the waterfront.

Taranaki Street, Wellington, New Zealand

The view up Tarnaki Street, one of Wellington's major roads.

Lambton Quay, Wellington, New Zealand

An alleyway off Lambton Quay.

Lambton Quay, Wellington, New Zealand

Walking down Lambton Quay. Those cables overhead are for the trolley buses.

Lambton Quay, Wellington, New Zealand

Still on Lambton Quay.

Lambton Quay, Wellington, New Zealand

Lambton Quay on a slow day. This is the city's main shopping district.

Old Saint Paul's, Wellington, New Zealand

Old Saint Paul's church, constructed of native NZ timber.

Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington waterfront.

Cuba Street, Wellington, New Zealand

Cuba Street! My favorite part of Wellington.

Wellington, New Zealand

The downtown business district.

Wellington, New Zealand

Boat houses near the harbor.

Wellington, New Zealand

Near Queen's Wharf.

Wellington, New Zealand

Down by the waterfront - the best place to be on a sunny day.

Te Papa, Wellington, New Zealand

Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum of New Zealand.

Wellington Buses, New Zealand

Part of the GoWellington bus fleet near the railway station.

Wellington Railway Station, New Zealand

Wellington railway station.

Circa Theater, Wellington, New Zealand

The colorful Circa Theater down by Te Papa and the waterfront.

Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand

The suburb of Miramar, to give you a taste of Wellington's residential neighborhoods.

Frank Kitts Park, Wellington, New Zealand

The lighthouse slide at Frank Kitts Park.

Wellington, New Zealand

The city lit up at dusk, as seen from the Mount Victoria lookout.

Wellington has character. From its colorful buildings to its colorful people, this is one city I can definitely see myself living in someday.

For more NZ city features, check out:

And stay tuned next week, when I’ll feature Queenstown!


So what do you think of Wellington after this post? Is it a place you’d like to visit?

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51 Responses to New Zealand Cities, Part 2: Wellington in Photos

  1. Alouise says:

    I love these photos. Wellington looks like a really cool city, I love the variety of architecture. And I can definitely see why you love Cuba Street, it looks like a fun, and vibrant area.
    Alouise recently posted..My Weekly Wednesday Wrapup for November 9

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Wellington is SUCH a cool city. It always makes me sad when people leave it out of their NZ itineraries just because they assume it’s just your average capital city.

  2. Christine says:

    Absolutely loved Wellington–and like you said, I had no idea what to expect in a New Zealand city! It has such a great vibe, and you can’t beat the waterfront on a sunny day :)
    Christine recently posted..Postcard from Brighton Beach

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Hopefully these posts can give people a better idea of what NZ’s cities actually look like. Because, while NZ does have amazing landscapes, its cities are equally awesome!

      I’m so glad that you loved Wellington, too!

  3. fotoeins says:


    Wow, I was going to write a couple of posts about my brief time in the Welly, but your article is comprehensive, complete with the photo-pretties! (When I visited last October, I stayed with friends in the southern hills by Vogeltown : windy, yes, but also very scenic, even in the grey skies of early-spring.)

    I can’t wait to visit Wellington again. Your post is only making that desire all that much stronger; so yeah, thanks for that. ;-)
    fotoeins recently posted..In the field of stelae – Berlin

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I had a hard time choosing the photos to use in this post. I have SO many. In the end, I decided to to throw more in than I wanted to, because I just can’t discriminate when it comes to Welly!

      And, if it makes you feel any better, writing this post made ME long for Wellington, too. ;)

  4. Rachael Sena says:

    Your photos are amazing! I feel like I’m seeing the sights with my own eyes! I spent a few weeks in Australia, and I wish I had had the opportunity to visit New Zealand!
    Rachael Sena recently posted..The Inspiring Millennium Fountains of Chicago

  5. NLM says:

    I agree about Wellington–I got there by accident, as I arrived just after the earthquake and had to re-route to miss Christchurch. I’m so glad; I really loved the city, the harbor, the people and of course, Cuba Street! Great pix!
    NLM recently posted..Smoking in Xi’an

    • DangerousBiz says:

      That’s definitely what I’d call a happy accident! I’m glad you got to explore Wellington, and that you enjoyed it so much!

  6. David says:

    Great set of pictures from Wellington. I especially remember civic square from celebrating New Year’s Eve there some years ago.

  7. I have a soft spot for Wellington, having worked there for a few months, doing a play at the Capitol E, a great children’s arts centre right in the middle of town, across from the Te Papa museum. Thanks for taking me back there briefly.
    Richard Tulloch recently posted..OUTPOST PROJECT – Banksy found on Cockatoo Island

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I feel like most people who spend any amount of time in Wellington develop a soft spot for it. At least, that’s been my experience/observation. I’m glad I could help take you back there. :)

  8. Erik says:

    Just a little over 4 months from now!!! (Hopefully)

    Thanks for keeping my excitement level peaking!
    Erik recently posted..Photo of the Day- Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, Vermont

  9. Julia says:

    Can’t wait to be in New Zealand! It has long been top of my wishlist as my Dad lived there when he was younger and my whole family have visited separately (bar me!) but all that is about to change :) Thanks for the photos, just gets me even more excited.
    Julia recently posted..Travelling For Those Who Can’t (Or Won’t)

  10. Rachel says:

    I studied abroad at Otago and got to visit some friends studying at Victoria U for only one night. But I really enjoyed Welly the brief time I was there. You’ve reminded me I want to spend more time there when I come back to visit NZ!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      You definitely should spend more time in Welly if you ever have the chance! It’s such a great city, though often gets overlooked/undervalued by travelers.

  11. Cam says:

    Ah, Wellington! One of the few cities in the world that I can see myself relocating to. I don’t know what it is, but I dig it!
    Cam recently posted..Our Greatest Adventure has Finally Started!

  12. Andrea says:

    We loved Wellington – such a great foodie town!
    Andrea recently posted..A Night Out in Dresden’s Neustadt (Photo Essay)

  13. Those houses on a hill are so cute! They kind of remind me of the SF Bay Area and parts of the Oregon Coast. Must be the green. ;)
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Prague, Grog, and Gorgeous Views

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’ve never been to San Francisco, but the first time I visited Wellington, I thought “this must be what SF is like” with all the hills and little houses built into them. You don’t find this in many other NZ cities, though, which is part of why Welly is so unique!

  14. WOAAAAH! Must. Get. Myself. To. Wellington. Immediately. Thanks for sharing your photos!
    Bianca of Off Track Planet recently posted..Top 10 Things to Do in Zurich on a Backpacker’s Budget

  15. Studied there for 3 years and would live there if the weather was nicer more often!

  16. [...] New Zealand   Amanda presents Wellington in Photos posted at A Dangerous [...]

  17. Annie says:

    I hate wind but Welly really looks worth it! You do such a good job capturing the city!
    Annie recently posted..Lazy Days in Dubai

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m used to living in windy places, so Wellington’s weather wasn’t too too shocking to me. But, even if I hated the wind, perhaps I could forgive Welly for it; it’s just such a great city! I’m glad you enjoyed these photos! Perhaps you should pop on over to NZ again yourself sometime. ;)

  18. Candice says:

    Goddamn, these are beautiful!
    Candice recently posted..Travel Friends, Poolside Pampering, and Carrying Baggage

  19. Dave Coffman says:

    I lived in Wellington for 3 years and loved it. I moved from there to Seattle, which felt like a giant Wellington- hilly with cool neighborhoods. But I agree- Welly is the best city in NZ (and up there with Melbourne if you’re throwing in Australia) if you get down into the southern hemisphere…

    • DangerousBiz says:

      You know, I’ve never really thought to compare Wellington with Seattle before. But you’re totally right — they are very similar! Maybe it explains why I also like Seattle so much. :)

      I’ve heard so many great things about Melbourne… sounds like I definitely need to visit one day!

  20. Cailin says:

    Wellington was one of my favorite cities when I visited New Zealand!
    Love the photos, gives me a flashback :)
    Cailin recently posted..Wales was a pleasant surprise

  21. James Cook says:

    i loved living in Wellington. Such a cool little city!
    James Cook recently posted..Kiva – Helping People Help Themselves

  22. Love all the pictures to really get a wonderful feel for the city. A picture is worth a thousand words.
    Eileen Ludwig recently posted..Exciting to Meet Astronaut Scott Parazynski for Lunch at Kennedy Space Center (KSC)

  23. [...] you for visiting our Wellington NZ Hotels article.Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand. It is located at the southern tip of the North Island…es for families, businessmen and nature lovers who flock to the city at various times of the year. [...]

  24. [...] great scenery, but it also has surprisingly great towns. There’s big, cosmopolitan Auckland, character-filled Wellington, resilient Christchurch, and beautiful Queenstown, just to name a few. And that’s not taking [...]

  25. [...] is one of the coolest, most colorful cities I have ever been to. It might even be able to give Wellington a run for its money (it certainly seems to have similar [...]

  26. [...] fallen in love with quite a few capital cities on my travels — Wellington, Budapest, Reykjavik, and London, to name a few. And I now have to also add Ljubljana to that [...]

  27. Katie says:

    I live in Wellington, and it is seriously THE best! All you guys wanting to visit, definitely do it! Especially in summer when the pohutokawas are out, everyone has this cruisy kiwi summer feel, and thr weather is to die for!

  28. Matthew Fine says:

    My girlfriend and I have just planned a two month long stay in New Zealand, thanks for helping us add something to our itinerary.
    Matthew Fine recently posted..Pitch Your Park! Rangers Plug Six of the Best US National Parks

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