Living in Wellington: Top 5 Things You Need to Know

5 Things You Need to Know About Living in Wellington, New Zealand

It’s quite a city of extremes!

There are only a few cities in the world that have extreme weather. There’s Russia’s Yakutsk, which is the coldest city in the world; Kuwait City, which is the hottest; and Egypt’s Aswan, the driest. But did you know that there is also the windiest city in the world?

Enter Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. Located on the southernmost point of the North Island, the city is sandwiched between the mountains of the North and South Islands. This topography then creates a tunnel of wind that becomes stronger and faster as it passes through the capital; an average of 29km/h, in fact!

living in wellington

You might be the type to enjoy a light breeze and think that such a speed isn’t too bad. But what if the breeze never ever lets up? Here are some unique things that you will experience only when living in Wellington!

Disclaimer: Don’t let these discourage you from visiting! If anything, you should go  — it’ll earn you bragging rights.

Also read: 12D New Zealand Road Trip: How We Drove from South Island to North Island

1. You will never have a good hair day

Feel like styling your hair before going out? You might have to think twice — Wellington’s winds will whip it in all directions! I have learned that the wind could change direction in just a span of a second, blowing your hair into knots that are nearly impossible to comb out. So, skip the curls, bring out your hat, and tie your hair!

Fun fact: A lot of people in Welly have dreadlocks. A practical choice when you think about it!

2. You learn to never trust the weather

living in wellington

The Wellywood sign references the capital’s reputation. | Image credit: Matt Sellars

You look outside your window and see that it is a good day. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and there is but a cool, light breeze. It promises a good day. It looks like you could even skip the jacket!

Perish that thought — always bring your jacket with you. Life in Wellington means dealing with unpredictable weather since it’s quite normal for it to change a few times each day. You could experience four seasons in a day; this is especially true during the spring and autumn seasons. 

3. Rain falls sideways

Related to the point above is the fact that the weather in the capital could be extreme. When living in Wellington, you will likely experience sideways rain: horizontal showers brought about by the strong winds! It’s a unique feature Wellingtonians will point out.

Speaking of horizontal rain, umbrellas are useless. They will either fly off or break. So, wear your windproof jacket instead; it’ll be your best friend!

4. It’s normal to feel your car (and occasionally, your house) shake

Image credit: Brett Taylor

When living in Wellington, it’s normal to feel like you’ll get blown off your socks. It’s also normal to feel as if your car will topple over at any second. The intense gusts of the outdoors shake all cars in the city, but you’ll get used to it soon enough. 

It does not stop there, though — even houses are under the wind’s mercy! It’s normal for gales to threaten to relocate houses to another area, only for it to stop… and then start again. While it is alarming during the first few times, you’ll quickly realise that you are completely fine, and won’t be homeless any time soon.

5. Despite all of the above, many people choose to live in Wellington

living in wellington

New Zealand’s capital is a great place to call home! Even the Deutsch Bank agrees: Wellington is always on its list of most liveable cities in the world. In fact, it secured the number one spot for two years in a row, earning the coveted top spot in 2017 and 2018.

Clearly, Wellington has a lot going on for it. Apart from its natural beauty, it’s also the country’s art capital. Here, you’ll find a multitude of cafes, bars, and art galleries. It’s also very walkable; it only takes an hour to walk from one edge of the city to the other! You’ll know that Wellington has spoilt you for good when you start to think that a 15-minute walk is too long.

You’re probably an adventure-seeker if you’ve decided to travel to New Zealand, so why not make a stop at the windiest city in the world? That way you could tell your family and friends that you have visited a city of extremes. And that it swept you off your feet, both literally and figuratively!

Also read: Top 5 Things to Do in Wellington, According to A Local!

So, if you’ve ever wondered what life in Wellington is like, this should be a good start. Now that you know what you’d be signing up for, would you consider moving here and making it your new home? Go on and tell us all about it in the comments.

About Author

Krizelle Lacson
Krizelle Lacson

Kring defines herself as an urban explorer and wannabe writer. Having lived in New Zealand for four years, she has come to realise that she's more at home in cities than she is with the outdoors. All of her spare time is devoted to getting out of her comfort zone, reading macabre novels, and dodging all warnings of an existential crisis. She resides in Wellington with her partner and her six houseplants.


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