The coolest little capital in the World
Spread over a rather rugged landscape, Wellington itself hardly has any room for expansion. This explains the higher-than-usual population density and a rather European urban feel, missing in other parts of New Zealand. The central business district is rather compact and bustling. Yet, this also means that Wellington is dotted with tiered suburbs of pretty colonial villas overlooking the harbour, city, or strait. Wellington’s harbour is very scenic and countless nature reserves (500 km2 of forests) dot the region as well as the city itself. Tertiary education is very important to the economy and contributes to the overall young population.
Porirua, Lower Hutt, and Upper Hutt, are a result of the population spreading north, and all are part of the dynamic economic and cultural activities. Its location by Cook Strait, and its strong winds (the Roaring Forties), have given the city one of its many nicknames, “Windy Wellington”. An oceanic climate tends to bring more rain and wind to this region than other places in New Zealand. Yet, sunshine hours are high too and frost or snow quite rare.
A rich cultural life and relatively low cost of living for a capital have contributed to making the 2014 Mercer Quality of Living Survey rank Wellington 12th in the world. Outdoor activities include fishing, swimming, tramping, biking, etc.
Earthquakes are common, if not frequent, but the large majority are barely noticeable, and regulations are extremely tough on making newer buildings fully compliant.
The Kapiti coast and its sandy beaches stretch further north, and Kapiti Island is major pest-proof island for native birds, while the eastern region, Wairarapa, boast world-class vineyards.