Home » Wellington named one of the world’s top rainbow destinations for 2024

Wellington named one of the world’s top rainbow destinations for 2024

The Wellington rainbow is located at the intersection of Cuba Mall and Dixon Street.


The Wellington rainbow is located at the intersection of Cuba Mall and Dixon Street.

An LGBTQI+ travel magazine has named Wellington one of the best places for rainbow tourists to visit in 2024.

The capital joins the likes of Costa Rica, Madrid, Vienna, Paris and Stockholm as travel hotspots for next year, according to US-based Vacationer Magazine.

Author Jeffrey James Keyes highlighted the city’s “picturesque waterfront, sandy beaches, a bustling harbour, and charming timber houses”, as well as attractions including Zealandia, the Botanic Gardens and the Katherine Mansfield House & Garden.

Vacationer reaches more than 400,000 people a month.

In an email to Stuff Travel, Keyes said he was impressed with the city on a recent visit, calling it “a true gem”.

“To be honest, Wellington is one of those cities that always sits with me. I did a comprehensive two-week visit to New Zealand awhile back and of the cities it was the one I knew the least about,” wrote Keyes. “I was most excited about Queenstown as I imagined it to be a queer mecca and, aside from the Winter Pride, I didn’t find this to be the case.


A flyover by planes of the Royal New Zealand Air Force helped mark celebrations at the Wellington International Pride Parade (video published March 2020).

“Wellington, on the other hand, was extremely inclusive and had tons of things to do. I think it’s important to shine light on and promote destinations like Wellington that are not only inviting but also can offer our readers a well-rounded trip: from incredible restaurants, cool activities like touring Wētā Workshop to get to know more about Wellywood to connecting with nature through Zealandia and more.

“I think a lot of Americans, in particular, think just about going to Sydney or Auckland, or even Queenstown when going to that part of the world, and they’re missing a true gem of a destination.

“It’s a cool place, not to be missed. I didn’t want to leave.”

One of the venues mentioned in the article is the bar S&M’s on Cuba Street. Co-owner Malcolm Vaughan said he was delighted to see the city highlighted.

”Absolutely fantastic that Wellington gets a mention … but not totally surprised at all,” Vaughan told Stuff Travel. “Wellington is well known for its diversity and friendliness.”

To any US readers of the magazine, Vaughan is encouraging them to “come on down” as “a truly wonderful city awaits your arrival and will show you the best of Wellingtons hospitality and diverse LGBTQII++ community”.

WellingtonNZ chief executive John Allen said he was very happy that the city was named and “thrilled that the way we see ourselves is also recognised by our international visitors”.

“The vibrancy and welcome visitors to the city feel, stems from Wellingtonians recognising that everyone here contributes something unique,” said Allen.

“Wellington is a city of diverse cultures and experiences and we welcome anyone who wants to visit or to move here and take advantage of the opportunities on offer.”

The city has a couple of large LGBTQI+ events coming up.

March sees the annual Wellington Pride Festival taking place, an event which traces its history back to the first Newtown Lesbian and Gay Fair in 1986, while returning next year is the Pride Parade on March 9.