These Influencers Want You to Swap NYC for NZ, Here's Why
It's no secret that we love travel and are always looking for the burgeoning locations to visit. That's why when influencers Meghan and Dominic from Citizens Of The World promised us the next NYC, we were all ears. See why they're dubbing Wellington, New Zealand to new NYC as the next upcoming concrete jungle in their own words.
Far be it for us to criticise America’s capital of cool, but if we’re going to talk trends, we dare say that NYC feels a little… done. We know New York is always going to sing its siren song to travel-hungry Australians, but if Alicia Keys really wanted to meet a concrete jungle where dreams are really made, she might do well to look a little further south.
Welcome to Wellington, or as we like to call it “NYC in New Zealand”.
Wellington is a southern hemisphere city that not only pushes the boundaries in gastronomy, culture, and art, but does it on such an approachable scale that you’ll feel like a local faster than you can say “Hey! I’m walkin’ here!”—but seriously, you can pretty much walk everywhere.
Oh, and the amount of concrete is completely balanced out by lush green forests and wild untouched nature reserves that look straight out of a Harry Styles music video.
See below for more on why we (and you) should love it too.
They Love A Cool Bar Just As Much (If Not More) Than New Yorkers Do
It is an often-quoted fact that Wellington has more bars, restaurants, and cafés per capita than NYC. No joke. That’s a fact. So, you can see straight up why we’d make the comparison. But this isn’t some over-enthusiastic hyperbole from a marketer with a Sex and the City fetish, there truly is so much diversity on offer.
The Library: Want to sip a G&T within the walls of an actual library? There’s a bar for that.
Hippopotamus: Prefer to live out your ’80s-Michelle-Pfeiffer-eyeing-up-Pacino-in-a-glomesh-dress-dreams as you sit by a peacock a mirrored lounge? Hippopotamus has you covered there.
Ancestral: Need to indulge your 1930s Shanghai-occupation era fantasies but also have a craving for some quality Japanese yakitori grill? Head no further than the East-meets-West opulence.
It’s a foodie town waiting to be discovered
Shepherd: I would describe this place as, Japan-meets-France-meets-the farms-of-Wellington and it’s as fun to sit in and people-watch as it is to sip down a cocktail or two in. If you sit at the bar you can have conversations with the head chef himself while he introduces each morsel (and maybe whips up a little off-menu treat, if he likes you).
Ortega Fish Shack: A fish shack by name, a fish shack by design, but it definitely offers fine dining and drinks all the way.
They Film Just As Many Flicks Here
Word on the street is you need a minimum $1 million dollars worth of liability insurance just to shoot one scene in Times Square. Not only that, but then you also have to deal with crowd control, as well as getting permission from all the brands on the billboards. It’s a nightmare to say the least.
You know what isn’t a nightmare? Flying your actors down to Wellington and setting them up with the team at Weta Studios and Weta Digital. This is a one-stop special effects shop which has stood in for 19th-century Japan (The Last Samurai), the mythical planet of Pandora (Avatar), and the magical worlds of The Lord of the Rings, all while being in convenient proximity of the local Miramar Fish & Chips shop.
Stars like Scarlett Johansson are drawn to Wellington all the time, and they roll around town with complete ease and safe in the knowledge that the paparazzi are minimal, and New Zealanders are famously low-key about fanfare. Many locals have stories of chatting up the likes of director Peter Jackson or Viggo Mortensen at a café without even realising who they are.
Evening With Weta and Coco: The team at Weta have built a huge reputation for conjuring up creatures and props for sci-fi classics. They even have their own Universal Studios-esque backlot tour, taking curious film buffs inside their “cave” of creativity.
Their Galleries Aren’t Just Indoors (But When You Do Get Inside One They Are Pretty Impressive)
So, New York has no shortage of street art, that much is true. However, you haven’t really assessed proper graffiti until you’ve seen it through the eyes of a New Zealander. As well as excelling in food and wine, Kiwis also boast a unique sense of humour and you can see it reflected in nooks, crannies and building-sized murals all throughout the city.
You’ll find some of the best examples of this along Hannahs Laneway (also known as “Little Portland” for its cluster of bakers, brewers, and chocolatiers) at the corner of Leeds and Eva Streets. Also keep an eye out for work by prominent Wellington artists Andrew J. Steel, Toby Morris, and the eye-catching mural of David Bowie on Ghuznee Street by Xoe Hall.
City Gallery: If the great indoors are more your thing and you’re partial to a world-class exhibition, you’re going to want to mosey along to the City Gallery, which is the most unassuming name for one of the coolest collections of modern art you’ll see this side of the southern hemisphere. The curators here blend collections from New Zealand’s most celebrated artists, such as the current showing of work by Colin McCahon (which also serves as a moving introduction to modern Maori culture), and intricately abstract works by digital artist, animator and “Monet of the twenty-first century”, Petra Cortright.
Beat that MOMA.