How to Love Winter in Wellington

I am that person who is always cold. I never particularly enjoyed cold weather and I genuinely wondered how I would survive a nippy New Zealand winter.

When I started my job in summer I’d come to work in a jumper and complain about how cold it was: twenty-three degrees was far cooler than the thirty-five degree heat in Australia. My colleagues would all swing around in their chairs in disbelief saying, ‘man you’re gonna hate winter then’.

I hadn’t experienced Wellington’s shit awful weather yet: the gale force winds and horizontal rain that drenched you on your way to work. Umbrellas didn’t work here; the only thing you could trust was a sturdy raincoat.

I invested in a thin pastel pink raincoat in Autumn when the light showers began. A month or so later I realized that in this city of ever-changing weather it was necessary to have both a light raincoat for those rainy humid days as well as a thick waterproof puffer for when the southerly winds chill you to the bone.

By the end of autumn, I’d had my first taste of winter. I looked at my phone’s weather app: ‘seven degrees Celsius, feels like one degree Celsius, four layers needed’. Grimacing, I purchased extra layers and mentally prepared myself for three months of hibernation.

But there is something beautiful about winter in a cold country. Sure, there’s no snow in Wellington, but the city doesn’t go stagnant. In the mornings the streets are lined with men and women in their puffer jackets and coats, beanies and scarves. The cafes transform into an irresistible haven for warmth and a steaming hot cup of freshly brewed coffee. And after work the bars are a warm refuge to have a drink with friends. In true Wellington style, the city merely adapts to the cold and offers its same funky vibe with plenty to see and do.

A selection of my favourite things to do on a Winter Welly day:

  • Walk into town and finger the bookshelves of Unity Books. The shop is spacious and with so many comfy chairs it’s the perfect place to read a chapter or two before picking something to take home.
  • Wander the botanic gardens. These are not far from my flat and on a calm winter day there is nothing more relaxing.
  • Try out a new restaurant.
  • Hot vinyasa
  • Getting out of the city for a day of driving and exploring. (Island Bay, Martinborough).
  • Seeing a movie in a boutique cinema (Lighthouse Cinema is super cute)

And of course, the ski fields in Queenstown, Christchurch and Taupo are only a short flight away!

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