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What to experience in Wellington except the rain

New Zealand's North Island has long been shadowed by the adventurous South, with its fjords, mountains and dramatic settings, boasting every watersport known to man. But the North is well worth visiting, too – so much so that the Reporter decided to dedicate a series to the forgotten island. This is the third part of New Zealand's Lost Island.

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— First you’ll notice the rain. Then you’ll notice the wind.

Welcome to Wellington, maybe New Zealand’s friendliest and rainiest city, on the southern tip of its North Island.

To be honest, I actually have very few photos to verify my visit at Wellington, perhaps because of the wetness of the place. You simply don’t feel tempted pulling up the camera as it pours down in your neck, rather to rush for the nearest bar and have a beer. As I Google “wellington weather”, my memories from my journey there are confirmed. On any given day, this is what you are likely to find (or so I’m told):

First there's rain, then rain, followed by — sun! – followed by rain, rain, some rain, and a little more rain to round it off. Source: Google Weather Search

The Wellington weather report: First there’s rain, then rain, followed by — sun! – followed by rain, rain, some rain, and then a little more rain to round it off. Source: Google Weather Search


So, why would you go to this place? I research my own notes from the trip to find out. I’ve a certain feeling that I wrote something nice about the city, but what?

Here is one from my diary, on driving down to Wellington from Auckland:

“…it has rained almost nonstop the whole day, so I’m glad I have the rental car and can drive myself to where I want to go. Splendid tropical showers sometimes, the wipers going full speed.”

No, it can’t be that one. Nothing nice there.

  RELATED All parts of the series New Zealand’s Lost Island

But a few other notes catch my attention. Ah, there it is! For Wellington is a pleasant city, despite its notorious weather conditions, in the same manner as many think Sydney is a nice city (partly because of its great weather conditions).

Let’s go through it, step by step, the three best reasons to visit Wellington:


Gollum, from the Lord of the Rings.

Gollum, from the Lord of the Rings.

1. Wellington is where The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed. Not in Wellington alone precisely, but being an New Zealander, director Peter Jackson made use of his own Wellington-based movie effects company, Weta Digital, to do the films. Lately he was back in town to continue his work with The Hobbit, The Huffington Post reported, again creating headlines for the city’s movie industry.

For The Lord of the Rings pictures aren’t just coincidences. As demon director James Cameron began planning for his high-tech Golden Globe-winner adventure Avatar a few years back, he picked Wellington and Weta Digital as the place of production over Hollywood’s highly advanced competitors. The city has developed into a full-fledged cinema center, dubbed “Wellywood”, featuring among other attractions the Weta Cave where visitors can view a selection of props, pick up collectibles and watch an exclusive behind-the-scenes films, as the city’s promotion website boasts. So, if your into movies, this is perhaps the best reason to go to Wellington.


Next: Excellent mix of nature and city

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The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.