It will be no surprise to locals that the latest Lonely Planet guidebook has Wellington at number one on its list of the best places to visit in New Zealand.
Reiterating the catch phrase it coined in 2010 – “the coolest little capital in the world” – the influential guidebook put Wellington ahead of destinations like Tongariro, Kaikoura, Waiheke Island and the Hauraki Gulf, and things to enjoy such as rugby, skiing and snowboarding.
A team of seven from the biggest-selling guidebook to New Zealand, researched cities, towns and other attractions throughout the country before choosing Wellington as their top destination.
The usual touchstones – Zealandia, Te Papa, hipster bars, craft beer, events, cool denizens – received praise from Lonely Planet, delighting Mayor Justin Lester who was “ecstatic” at the number one rating.
“Every visitor to Wellington, and those returning after an absence, are gobsmacked … I’m glad more people are getting the same buzz.”
According to figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 3.7 million people visited New Zealand between August 2017 and July 2018. Auckland accounted for 29 per cent of all tourist spending.
The Lonely Planet research was conducted well before the changes to the public transport system began on 15 July.