New Zealand’s capital city is a fantastic place to settle down in – diverse, scenic, and filled with art, culture and entertainment. Discover more about moving to Wellington and what you can expect from the weather, the cost of living, the job opportunities in New Zealand and other aspects of daily living in this beautiful city.
Wellington Population and Demographics
Close to half a million people are currently living in the greater Wellington region, which includes the four cities of Porirua, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, and Wellington itself. Wellington is the third-largest city in New Zealand, with plenty of work opportunities that consistently draw in new residents from around the globe.
With people of so many backgrounds settling in Wellington, it is a wonderfully diverse place. Almost a third of its residents were born overseas.
Wellington Weather and Climate
The city has a deserved reputation for being very windy, but Wellington experiences all kinds of other weather conditions, too. Temperatures average around 15-20 degrees Celsius in the height of summer and 0-10 degrees Celsius in the middle of winter, with the average annual rainfall in Wellington at 1,250 millilitres. Snowfall is very rare.
The average temperatures in Wellington during summer make for a very pleasant climate, not too hot but warm enough to enjoy the beaches and parks. Weather changes quickly in the city, so always be prepared with a jacket even on a sunny day.
Major Industries in Wellington
Many industries contribute to Wellington’s economy, making it an excellent place for a variety of workers to get jobs in New Zealand. The city houses a busy port and is home to corporate offices of many New Zealand and international companies, as well as the New Zealand government and many government organisations. The hospitality industry is strong in Wellington, which is known for great restaurants.
Tourism, arts and film have become key industries in Wellington, and the city has become a hub for creative types, who will have many work opportunities there. The city consistently has the highest salary averages in New Zealand. The national minimum wage is $17.70 per hour, with a training minimum rate of $14.60.
Places to Live in Wellington
The best places to live in Wellington depend on what any particular resident values in their community. The city contains plenty of safe suburbs, ranging from inner-city neighbourhoods to affordable areas more distant from the city centre, such as Porirua, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt—the cheapest places to live in Wellington.
If you are planning to move to Wellington, you can expect to pay around $450-$550 per week for a small house or flat in the central city, and around $350-$450 per week for a similar dwelling located in Lower Hutt. The average residential property value for the city rose above $600,000 in 2018.
Cost of Living in Wellington
Average living costs are comparable to those of any other major city in New Zealand. For housing costs, refer to the section above. The following are benchmark common living costs:
- Two litres of milk: $3.50-$4.50
- A Big Mac combo: $11
- A cheap loaf of bread: $1-$2
- Unlimited fibre internet: $80-$100 per month, dependent on location and provider
- One litre of petrol or gas: $2.10
Getting Around in Wellington
With an established bus network and an international airport, Wellington is a relatively easy place to get to from around the country and from overseas. Public transport in Wellington is not at the level of the big European cities, but with some time and a bus schedule, anyone living in Wellington should be able to reach their destinations. Taxis and Ubers are also available as more expensive but convenient transport solutions.
Education in Wellington
Like those elsewhere in New Zealand, Wellington primary and secondary schools include both public and private institutions and operate to high national standards. They operate on a decile system which gives them a grade according to the socioeconomic situation of the majority of their students, but this is not necessarily indicative of differing education quality.
There are many opportunities for tertiary education in Wellington, and the city’s percentage of residents holding a bachelor’s degree or higher is higher than the national average. The city has three universities: Victoria University and branches of Massey and Otago University. There are also several education institutions focusing on the creative arts.
Wellington Entertainment and Things to Do
A big part of what it’s like to live in Wellington is the fun local attractions. If you’re thinking about living and working in New Zealand, the capital city is a fantastic choice. The city is renowned for its creativity and arts, dining scene, excellent cafes, must-try restaurants, and brilliant coffee. From brunch in the weekends with a visit to an art gallery to a delicious dinner and night at the theatre, it’s easy to fill a weekend with Wellington activities.
You’ll also find shopping to be done in Wellington, and the country’s national museum – Te Papa – an incredible interactive museum that tells the story of the social and natural history of New Zealand. There are also many amazing outdoor experiences to be found in Wellington and the surrounding region, with many beaches, hiking trails, regional parks, campsites and natural treasures around the city.