Nestled between a stunning harbour and beautiful lush green hills, surrounded by a rugged coastline; is Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. Famously known as the cool capital, the city is famed for its lively downtown cafes, shopping areas, dramatic harbour settings and its beautiful wildlife reserves. Wellington became the capital in 1860 and since then has been the center of the New Zealand government. With an estimated 17,000 Muslim population in New Zealand, Wellington is home to a large community of Muslims, although not as large as the community in Auckland. For Muslim travelers, finding Muslim-friendly facilities is not difficult. There are quite a few Halal restaurants and mosques as well as other prayer facilities located within Wellington. With its warm climate and relaxed lifestyle Wellington is a popular and fun holiday destination.
Wellington is built on the edge of the harbour and steep hills. It is New Zealand’s creative capital and home to the Museum of Wellington City & Sea, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and many prominent art galleries. The city also hosts a number of international events including the International Art Festival as well as the Wellington Sevens Rugby Tournament. To experience nature and wildlife, travelers are urged to visit Zealandia, a unique eco attraction located minutes away from the centre of the city. It is a well-known sanctuary for endangered native birds as well as wildlife. Another must-visit while in Wellington is Kapiti Island. This well-known island, located in the north is an internationally famed nature reserve, where visitors can spot and mingle with rare bird species, gather seafood, snorkel, and swim, take guided nature tours, and also observe New Zealand’s flora and fauna.
For travelers looking to get to know the city and wanting to enjoy its urban experience; the Wellington downtown area offers an abundance of cafes, restaurants and shops. Known for its sophisticated food scene, the city offers fantastic food, made with fresh and seasonal produce that is locally sourced. For those seeking adventure, Hutt Valley offers a multitude of outdoor and adventure experiences, including coastal and bush walks, golf, fishing and mountain biking. For those looking to shop until they drop, the best place to go would be the downtown area, Old Bank Shopping Arcade and Chambers on Lambton Quay for local designer clothing.
The nearest airport in Wellington is the Wellington International Airport, located in the suburb of Rongotai, located 6 kilometres from the Wellington city center. It is quite easy to reach and travelers can use the services provided by the many taxi and shuttle companies that service the airport as well as the public bus.
There are many Muslim-friendly restaurants in Wellington that serve diverse and authentic cuisines. Marrakesh Cafe, Mughlai Curry Corner, Delhi Brasserie, Kipp Cafe, Istana Malaysia, Garam Masala and Nando’s are just a few that serve Halal food. Muslim visitors should be warned that while some of these restaurants are Muslim owned and/or Halal certified, others do serve alcohol and other non-Halal items.
There are few mosques in Wellington, which serve its Muslim community. The main one is Wellington Masjid in Kilbirnie. Lower Hutt Islamic Centre in Lower Hutt and Porirua Islamic Centre in Porirua; are two other mosques in Wellington. There are also a couple of prayer rooms that can be found at some of the local universities like at Victoria University.