Sometimes you have to travel a long way to find a gem among the world’s most scenic countries and cities. If you are able to make it all of the way south to the gorgeous country of New Zealand, be sure to locate Wellington, which Lonely Planet calls not only one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit, but “the coolest little capital in the world.”
Wellington is not only cool, it is remote. It is the world’s most southerly capital and the most distant from any other national capital in the world. Yet, when you do travel a bit further to find ideal tourist locations, you often are stunned that not more people made the trip with you. Wellington looks unlike any other capital city on the planet, situated on the southwestern coast of New Zealand’s North Island, hard on the Cook Strait that separates New Zealand’s North and South Islands.
On clear days you can see the snow-capped peaks of the Kaikoura Ranges on South Island, the picturesque beaches of the Kapiti Coast to the north, the verdant Rimutaka Range to the east and the wine region of Wairarapa to the west. Yet, how can you convince your friends back home of the beauty of Wellington unless you can take a dynamic photo of the city and its three islands in Wellington Harbour? To pull that off, you’ll need to get high above sea level, and fortunately the Mount Victoria Lookout was created for a perfect scenic view of the city. If you don’t have your own transport, a quick visit to one of the CBD’s many car rental Wellington companies should hook you up with a temporary vehicle quickly and easily.
You will need to take the Southern Walkway through to the South Coast and locate Charles Plummer Park. From there, you can see clearly how to get to the famed lookout, from which you can watch ferries making their way through the Cook Strait, jets landing and taking off from the airport or simply enjoy the mountains that rise behind the city. You will get a unique perspective on this cool capital and understand why it is so densely populated—there is simply no more room to grow in any direction.
You’ll also get a sense of how committed Wellington is to preserving its limited green spaces. The city council works actively maintains a network of bush walks and reserves that wind through the urban area, another factor in the city’s high livability rating. And, you can ascend to the lookout almost every day of the year as Wellington’s moderate climate rarely stretches beyond its lowest average high of 11.4 degrees in July to its highest average of 20.6 in February, a wonderful range for comfortable tourism.
Once you come down from the mountaintop, you can take in Wellington’s thriving art galleries, its flourishing café scene (more per capita than New York City!) and abundant nightlife once the sun goes down. Another unusually cool fact about Wellington is its restaurants’ frequent willingness to let you bring your own wine to dinner.