New Zealand’s capital city, built on dramatic hills surrounding one of the southern hemisphere’s largest deep water ports. In 2011 Lonely Planet called it the world’s “coolest little capital”.
Wellington region takes up the southern end of the North Island. Most people here live in the four cities at the south western corner - Wellington, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Porirua. The Wellington region consists also of the Kapiti and Wairarapa regions.
Wellington region 471,315
Main cities combined 381,000
% born outside NZ:
Average house price March 2016:
Wellington city: $610,102
Wellington region: $491,236
Wellington’s location at the centre of New Zealand won Wellington the role of capital in 1865. Today, Parliament and the Beehive building alongside it are national icons. Wellington is approximately 8½ hours from Auckland by road, about an hour by air. The South Island is a three hour scenic ferry ride away across Cook Strait.
Wellington City is wedged between steep hills and the sea. Rugged mountain ranges (the Rimutakas and the Tararuas) loom beyond the harbour. Lack of flat land - much of what there is has been reclaimed - has created a compact, vibrant central business district. Lower and Upper Hutt are relatively flat, being built on a fertile plain. Porirua and Kapiti have a coastal feel, and Wairarapa is set amidst the hills.
Wellington is cosmopolitan: only Auckland is more ethnically diverse. Average salaries and education levels are high, supporting a thriving artistic and cultural community with many galleries, museums, theatres and festivals. The city is known for fine restaurants and its café culture – it has more cafes per head than New York.
Wellington region’s hills and town belt offer great walking, tramping and mountain biking. Hutt River is popular with kayakers while in summer swimmers can choose peaceful inner harbour beaches or more exciting coastal surf. Windsurfing and sailing are also popular and there’s excellent fishing and diving.
Accommodation options range from hip urban apartments to spacious suburban homes, seaside villages and rural lifestyle blocks - many people commute in from Upper Hutt, Wairarapa and the Kapiti Coast.
As capital, Wellington is home to many national institutions and government agencies. In recent years it’s developed thriving digital technology and film industries - Lord of the Rings was completed at the Weta studio Peter Jackson has established here. Tertiary education and research are other important contributors to the local economy.
Average summer maximums range between 17-21°C in Wellington, while winter maximums average around 9-10°C. Overall, temperatures rarely rise above 25°C or fall below 4°C. However southerly blasts in winter can make the temperature feel much colder. Temperatures tend to be warmer to the north on the Kapiti Coast.
The city is also relatively windy, affected by gusts funnelled through Cook Strait.
Many migrants have already made Wellington home. The table below shows where these migrants are moving from and demonstrates the diverse population you can expect to find in Wellington.
It can be comforting to know there are others, similar to you, who have experienced the move.
Country of origin
No. of migrant
UK and Ireland
|Europe (excl. UK and Ireland)||9,720|
|Middle East and Africa||9,180|
Now that you know about what Wellington has to offer, have a read about everyday life in the region, and services and support you can access.
Upcoming events in your region
Events for new migrants are regularly held throughout the country. Gain local insight into finding a job and getting setup and settled in New Zealand.View events calendar