2015’s hottest cities – Wellington

2015’s hottest cities - Wellington

Wellington, New Zealand

BBC Travel: New Zealand attracts more than its fair share of visitors – both outdoors enthusiasts and movie buffs flocking to spots featured in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

Among the nation’s hottest cities is Wellington, which made Rough Guides’ list this year. Not only does Wellington have a bustling café and craft beer scene, but in 2015 the city of 200,000 people is celebrating its 150th year as New Zealand’s capital.

Sarah Melke, director of the Visa Wellington on a Plate food festival, said the city has no shortage of trendy restaurants, bars and cafes. Cuba Street, in particular, located just the south of the Central Business District (CBD), is “seriously cool”, she said.  The city has more than a dozen independent coffee roasters.

2015’s hottest cities - Wellington

Wellington’s funky, creative vibe comes in part from a strong community feel. “We say that Wellington ‘acts like a city, but loves like a village,’” Melke said. Travel blogger Liz Carlson, who moved to the city from Washington DC, agreed. “Every barista has a smile for you, people in shops ask you how you are doing, and strangers greet you on the street,” she said.

The community vibe can be felt across the city’s neighbourhoods. Kelburn, just north of the CBD, is easily accessed by cable car and is popular with students and families, while film buffs may want to check out Miramar, southeast of the city centre. That’s where the Weta film studios are located and where Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson calls home.

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