The coolest little capital in the world is being praised again, with Wellington's transformation from drab to fab labelled a "cultural and economic success story" by overseas media.

In the Huffington Post Australia's piece Wellington, the Little City that Could, and Did, the publication compares the capital of the 1980s and 90s with Canberra - a small public service town known for being a bit dull.

Quoting local soft drink producer, Joseph Slater of Six Barrel Soda, the city of old is summed up like this:

"Wellington in the 80s and 90s was a pretty dire place. We had a little bit of a Canberra reputation, a seat of government and not much else. But consecutive councils have pushed that creativity, arts scene, music scene, trying to use some of that creativity and showcase what we have."


Fast forward to 2016 and the windy city has more cafés per capita than New York City, has been ranked 17th in the Global Innovation Index and beat Auckland and the rest of the country in terms of economic growth.

The population of 204,000 boasts around 800 start-up businesses, the Huffington Post reports, in part crediting the city's size for its success.

"This is what Silicon Valley felt like in the 1970s," said rocket scientist-turned-entrepreneur Lance Lones.

"It's small. In L.A. you can go weeks without seeing someone you know. Here, you walk from one building to the next and you run into three people you know, and they say, 'You should talk to so and so about your idea'."

A key turning point for Wellington was Peter Jackson and Weta workshop and the jobs the new industry created in the late 1990s and early 2000s as the Lord of the Rings trilogies took off.

Its compact lay out and excellent flat whites are also given a mention, as is the laneway reinvention on Leeds and Eva St, where alleyways have been turned into pieces of public art and start up businesses operate out of little holes in the walls.