Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and known as Windy Welly. We decided to settle here for the most of our Working Holiday Visa. We will at least spend 6 months in New Zealand (spring and summer). A month after, we start to get our bearings in Wellington.
Arrival in Wellington: time to find a house and a job
After three days spent in Auckland, we did not feel very comfortable in the city and decided to head to Wellington. Even before travelling to New Zealand, we had the feeling that Wellington would seduce us more than Auckland and we were right. We decided to travel by bus as it was the cheapeast option with the company Naked Bus. The bus had a nice wifi connection, toilets and heating equipment. As the trip was to last 11 hours, we chose to travel by night.
We arrived to Wellington at 7:30 am, welcomed by the famous wind, which definitely woke us up! You have to know that Wellington is the world’s windiest city. This is due to its exposure to the wind blowing through Cook Strait, which connects the Tasman Sea on the northwest with South Pacific Ocean on the southeast. Our bus stopped at Wellington Railway Station, and from there we walked to our hostel.
Trek Global Backpackers is well located in the city center and was ok to stay at for five days. We could enjoy free wifi (which is not so common in hostels in Wellington), free pool and babyfoot tables, a room with a TV to watch movies and a library. There are also two big kitchens in the hostel and you can have you own basket to store your grocery shopping. It appeared that many backpackers were living in the hostel for a long-term period. We paid 50$ per night for two persons. Our experience of the hostel was pleasant, except on our first night. We had to share our dorm with a repellent guy, who totally messed up the room. All his stuff were spread out everywhere in the dorm and totally stinky. He was living in that room for weeks, regardless of other people sharing the room with him. The day after, we asked for another room.
As soon as we arrived in the city, we rushed to find flatmates and jobs. THE website everybody recommends for these researches is Trade.me. After 5 days of visits, we had found our new house in Mount Victoria, and after a bit less than two weeks, we both had found jobs. All of this done, it was time for us to start enjoying the city! After a month in Wellington, let us share with you our first impressions and favorites places.
The weather in Wellington
Gone with the wind
The nickname “Windy Welly” is definitely not a bad joke. You seldom spend a day without feeling some breeze on your face. Some days, you really feel like the wind could make you fly away like a sheet of paper. Keep calm and get used to it, as the wind is not something you can avoid in Wellington.
The four seasons in a day
In addition to the wind, you’ll also get some some rain and some sun…on the same day! The weather forecast is not really reliable in the city, as the the weather is subject to several changes a day. I let you imagine the complexity to get dressed in the morning. You go out with a coat in the morning, walk without sleeves in the afternoon, and wear your windbreaker in the evening.
You have to be careful with the sun in New Zealand. Indeed, because of my beloved France and its nuclear tests, New Zealand is located close to the hole in the ozone layer. Consequently, New Zealand is competing with Australia on the 1st rank as countries with skin cancers. Even if a day feels a bit cold, as soon as the sun rises (and if the wind is not too strong), you get very warm and should be careful. One advice: think about having your solar cream with you.
Our top places in Wellington… so far
This street is full of bars, restaurants and shops. Everybody will tell you about Cuba street when you arrive in the city. The night is burning here and this long street has everything you need to grab some drinks, enjoy a nice brunch on Sunday, or just to wander around the city turmoil, as the street has a pedestrian area.
Courtenay Place… the place where all the craziness comes out at night. With Cuba Street, this is the other place where you will necessarily get some drinks. The place is crowded with bars and clubs and gets toatally wild after midnight.
Mount Victoria Lookout
Mount Victoria Lookout rises 196m above the city and is located next to the Central Business District. This an amazing natural area in the heart of the city. From up there, you can enjoy a stunning panoramic view of Wellington. We are actually very lucky as our home is just a few minutes down the walkway to Mount Victoria Lookout.
Island Bay and the seals colony
To go to the Seals coast, you will pass through the charming Island Bay. There you will be able to enjoy the sublime view of the sea and the beautiful houses standing uphill or along the coast. About 2-hours-walk are necessary from Island Bay to reach the Seals colony. But this walk is worthing it, as you will walk between sea and mountains, and at the end you may have the chance to observe the seals lying in their natural environment. A real pleasure for the eyes!
The Botanic Garden
In the city center, you can take the famous Cable Car for 4$ (one-way ticket) and reach the Botanic Garden. If you want, you can even walk up instead of grabbing the Cable Car. Then, just enjoy the big Botanic Garden, with amazing trees, paths through an amazing nature with different trees, flowers, some small rivers and waterfall. This is a real breath of fresh air, in the middle of a city already surrounded by nature. Lovely!