Wellington : New zealand


What It Is Like to Retire in Wellington

Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand, in fact it is the southernmost capital in the world. The population is just under a half million. The Lonely Planet called it the "Coolest City in the World".  It is located on the Cook Strait, a famous wind tunnel between the country's North and South Islands. The weather is temperate year round.  As a retirement spot it is probably more popular with people from the British Empire and Kiwi's than Americans, who are a bit of a novelty. Culturally there is always something to do with many institutions and festivals. The city has many hills and greenswards; walking is popular. With the Tasman Sea on one side and the Pacific on the other, there are many beaches and places to surf. Photos courtesy of Wikipedia: the Oriental Bay by Brett Taylor, the Beehive (Parliament Building) by Partyzane, and the Lambton Harbor by Jackol, all under Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0/ or in some cases 2.0


Where to Retire in Wellington and Home Prices

There are many neighborhoods to choose from both in the city proper and outside. Real estate tends to be expensive as are most things in this country. According to the latest OneRoof-Valocity figures, Wellington's median house price reached a new high of $990,000 in 2020 (about $700,000 $US). Foreigners with NZ residency status are able to buy homes here. The Housing Affordability Index from Numbeo shows it to be slightly less expensive than New York City.


What Is Special about Wellington

There is a lot that is special about Wellington and New Zealand in general: the scenery, the weather, the mountains and proximity to the sea, the outdoor activities. New Zealand is where several popular movies famous for their scenery were shot including "Lord of the Rings" and "Avatar". The city is one of the most lively places to live in New Zealand.


What Is Not Special about Wellington

Wellington's drawbacks start with its isolation from the rest of the world - it is far away from the Americas and Europe. It is expensive to live here with so many things being imported. Just about everything has a 15% sales tax on it.  It is also difficult for most people to get permission to live here permanently (see our Retirement Guide to New Zealand for more).


Who Will Like Retirement in Wellington

Kiwis and members of the British Empire would like retiring in Wellington.  Read this  Wall St. Journal article to learn about the experiences of a 50 year old American woman who moved to Wellington to work (New Zealand has a program to attract skilled workers and investors). Almost 90% of the population is 59 or under, making this a youthful city.


Local Economy Is Driven by

As the political and geographic capitol of the country the city has a strong economy. Government, commercial, tourism, and the film industry are important drivers.


Climate and Physical Environment

Americans and Europeans will find that the seasons are reversed in Wellington since it is in the Southern Hemisphere.Winter is June through August and summer is December to March.   Located in the Roaring Forties and the southernmost capital in the world, Wellington can be extremely windy.  The year round temp is moderate with winter lows in the 10s (C) and above, and summer temps from 19 to 24. Snow is very rare. The Tasman Sea is on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. There have been earthquakes in the area.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Wellington is a cultural feast with many museums including Te Papa (the Museum of New Zealand), the National Library of New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, the Museum of Wellington City & Sea, Old St Paul's, and the Wellington City Art Gallery. There are numerous festivals including the New Zealand International Arts Festival, plus a strong theater and performing arts presence. The eastern suburb of Miramar has become a film-making, post-production and special effects infrastructure, leading some to call it 'Wellywood'.  Recent films shot partly or wholly in Wellington include the Lord of The Rings trilogy, King Kong and Avatar.



The crime rate is quite low for a city. According to Numbeo.com it is a very safe place.


Medical Facilities

Wellington has every type of medical institution and specialist.



As a major city Wellington has every form of transit from automobiles to suburban rail systems to ferries to other New Zealand cities. Wellington International Airport is just outside the city.


Valuable Links

Wellington page on Wikipedia

Official Wellington Tourist Site


What people are saying about Wellington

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