15 reasons to love Wellington

August 3rd, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Travel blogger Liz Carlson blogs at Young Adventuress 15 reasons why she loves living in Wellington, six months after arriving here:

  1. All the bays and all the beaches
  2. Hilly city
  3. Awesome brunch and coffee culture
  4. Mt Victoria
  5. Friendly and awesome Wellingtonians
  6. Cool marine life
  7. Hip bar scene
  8. Zealandia
  9. Honking in the Mt Vic tunnel
  10. cable car
  11. Middle Earth in Wellington
  12. Crazy roads
  13. Windy Welly
  14. Somes Island
  15. Sunday market and Te Papa

Not much on that list I would disagree with. We do live in a great city in Wellington. Would be nice if the water was a bit warmer at the beautiful beaches, but can’t have everything!

The Library bar is one of my favourite places in Wellington. I can happily spend hours there.

Also Somes Island is truly awesome. Have been there a few times. Kayaking over there from Petone is my preferred mode of travel to it!

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73 Responses to “15 reasons to love Wellington”

  1. Keeping Stock (10,273 comments) says:

    I thought you were New Zealand’s leading travel and arts blogger DPF. Why are you promoting your competition? :D

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  2. freedom101 (494 comments) says:

    One warm summer evening I kayaked over from Petone to Matui/Somes and back. On the island tuatara were sunning themselves on the warm paths in the late evening sun. It was dark for the return trip and the sea fluoresced with every paddle dip as the plankton lit up. Even water splashed on the kayak was alive with light. Truly magical.

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  3. big bruv (13,689 comments) says:

    Why is it that so many of those who find themselves in Wellington for one reason or another feel the need to reinforce why they “love” the place?

    I suspect it is because they are actually miserable, so miserable that they need to try and convince themselves that the incessant gale forced winds and pissing rain is not depressing the hell out of them.

    Really people, take Government out of Wellington and the place ceases to have a reason to exist.

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  4. James Stephenson (2,145 comments) says:

    The ‘canes, the Phoenix and the ferry to the Mainland…

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  5. hmmokrightitis (1,585 comments) says:

    We loved our time – 5 years – in Welly, if only the weather was better. That said, you literally “cant beat it on a good day” – only problem is they are few and far between.

    Bar scene is great, one of my favs is Hashigo Zake, wonderful bunker feeling, fabulous craft beers, good food. My version of heaven.

    So no, bruv, we loved it, and we weren’t the minority

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  6. budgieboy (113 comments) says:

    OMG…she left out Craft Beer Capital of New Zealand!!! (If not the world)

    Wellys a great place to visit and I could easily live there.

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  7. ShawnLH (4,485 comments) says:

    “Why is it that so many of those who find themselves in Wellington for one reason or another feel the need to reinforce why they “love” the place?”

    No idea. I hate the place. Dunedin has more character.

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  8. Maggy Wassilieff (329 comments) says:

    Zealandia? ….Save your money and visit Otari Gardens for free.

    Crazy roads?…Tell the truth… they are lethal.

    Windy Welly? …. So true… Its the reason I’ve left the place.

    Miss Wellington? …No.

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  9. OneTrack (2,988 comments) says:

    hmmo… – “So no, bruv, we loved it, and we weren’t the minority”

    The obvious question then , why aren’t you still there? :-)

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  10. OneTrack (2,988 comments) says:

    “I thought you were New Zealand’s leading travel and arts blogger DPF.”

    Exactly. When’s the next trek? I hear Concordia is nice.

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  11. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    It is the best. No need to see the rest: stay in Wellington.

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  12. kiwi in america (2,428 comments) says:

    Much to agree with here although I must say I love Wellington more that I don’t have to travel there as much. Before I became self employed in the mid 90’s, the company I worked for was HQed in Johnsonville. We would have conferences every July in a hotel in the Ngauranga Gorge. Every day we would watch the horizontal rain pound the windows dreading the walk from the conference centre to our rooms. There is so much to love about Wellington but the weather is NOT one of them. I’ve been there on more nice days than bad and it has gotten better but braving Cook Straight swells on the ferries is another not so fond Wellington memory.

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  13. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    Didn’t John Key happily tell us all that Wellington is on its death bed! Fit only as a place for parliament.

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  14. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Other reasons to love Wellington:
    1. Te Papa
    2. Lots of public servants – smart and interesting people
    3. Political gossip – loads of it
    4. The Basin Reserve
    5. Westpac Stadium – when full it has the best atmosphere
    6. The smaller cultural attractions – Museum of City and Sea, thye Dowse, Academy of Fine Arts, etc
    7. The cable car and botanic gardens
    8. The harbour – get out on it
    9. Public transport – incredibly good train and bus network
    10. Wine country – 40 minutes to the Wairarapa.

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  15. Gulag1917 (857 comments) says:

    Wellington only flourishes because of the rest of NZ’s taxes.

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  16. Jim Peters (10 comments) says:

    Having lived their for 5 years, I think the citizens suffer from collective Stockholm syndrome.

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  17. Redbaiter (8,372 comments) says:

    “2. Lots of public servants – smart and interesting people”

    if you’re any kind of example, that’s patently untrue.

    Boring left wing drone.

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  18. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Reddy would know nohing about smart people

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  19. Redbaiter (8,372 comments) says:

    “Left wing” and “smart” are mutually exclusive.

    Look at the Labour Party for the truth of that assertion.

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  20. Gulag1917 (857 comments) says:

    Property Report: Has Wellington lost it?
    Businesses are relocating,
    people are leaving, economic growth is slow and the property market is soft.
    Even the PM has put the boot into the capital.
    And all of it is having an effect on Auckland.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/property/news/article.cfm?c_id=8&objectid=11215113

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  21. Maggy Wassilieff (329 comments) says:

    “Reddy would know nohing about smart people”

    Anyone found that missing t?

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  22. Redbaiter (8,372 comments) says:

    “Anyone found that missing t?”

    Milky is a good example of why our public services are so ineffective.

    Slack, careless, poorly educated and no attention to detail.

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  23. wf (421 comments) says:

    hahaha. True Wellingtonians don’t rush to its defence – they know what a jewel town it is, and the last thing they want is to become a mini-Auckland. Outsiders over-estimate the effects of the wind, the fatigue created by climbing hills, the tempestuous seas, the cleansing rain – their only consider their creature comforts which they consider to be their right, but which Wellingtonians know have to be earned.

    Many years ago, Queenstown had a similar feel – until it succumbed entirely to tourism.

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  24. artemisia (234 comments) says:

    Have lived in Welly for 3 decades – refugee from Auckland – and either the weather has markedly improved or I am just used to it. Does not seem nearly as windy as it once was, though there are still days when most of the bins in Lambton Quay have wrecked umbrellas poking out! Have not seen ropes on corner buildings for a long time though.

    Auckland weather is warm, which is OK, but often humid, which is not.

    Wellington air is fresh, clear, like wine. Auckland, not so much.

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  25. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Say whatever you like about Wellington, but tomorrow starting at 9.20 am outside Te Papa, there will be 100 loud reminders that Wellington is a good place to be sometimes.

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  26. David Garrett (7,009 comments) says:

    Mikey, its not often I agree with Red..but if you really think public servants are smart and interesting people I would suggest that you have led a very sheltered life..

    Judith: What will those 100 loud reminders be pray? Another group of half naked overweight Maori in “traditional” garb “welcoming” this or that? Have some more tattooed to order slaves’ heads been repatriated? Or have more sacred kumara been found somewhere?

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  27. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Just poking the borax David. What I would say is being a public servant does not stop someone from being smart or interesting, but it’s not a sine qua non.
    Judith is referring to the 100-gun salue to mark the centenary of the outbreak of war.

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  28. artemisia (234 comments) says:

    It’s a 100 gun salute to mark WW100. V cool.

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  29. David Garrett (7,009 comments) says:

    Well, I feel suitably chastened…100 guns to mark the beginning of the worst carnage of the first 25 years of the 20th century…How bitter the survivors of that conflict must have felt when the whole sorry business began again 20 years later…

    It is wonderful that we are remembering the fallen from so long ago…I keep reminding my kids how lucky they are to be living in this century and not the last…

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  30. Colville (2,256 comments) says:

    I love the Wellington South coast sea life.
    Fair enough its 5mm minimum wetsuit country but its an easy feed and very easy to get to.

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  31. Gulag1917 (857 comments) says:

    Gliding On – No Smoke Without Fire
    http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/gliding-on-1981

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  32. David Garrett (7,009 comments) says:

    But back to Wellington…It is certainly a much more lively place than it once was…I can dimly remember when the main feature of Courtenay Place was a giant bus terminus…

    And the weather is definitely not as bad as it was…there is old news footage of ropes tied to stanchions in the street so people could get along without being blown over…That hasn’t been seen for 30 years or more…

    And other than perhaps Cyclone Bola, the Waihine storm is still the worst to hit Welly isn’t it??

    gulag: that link doesn’t work…I am just getting bands of colour…anyone know why??

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  33. Ross Miller (1,689 comments) says:

    Wellington has a soul. Auckland doesn’t … but the sight of the Harbour Bridge framed in my rear vision mirror as I head up to Paihia in the Bay of Islands at a rate of knots certainly brings joy to my heart.

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  34. David Garrett (7,009 comments) says:

    Ross: Yes, I share your pleasure…it is why I live 50 k’s NORTH of the damn place…50 k’s too close I always say…

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  35. hmmokrightitis (1,585 comments) says:

    OneTrack, work took me and the family to Auckland. Hate the place. After 5 years we were done, and Id set the business up such that I could run it from anywhere. We debated, discussed and agreed, Welly was great, but we wanted a place where the kids could grow up being part of a community, where there was lots to do and see, and far enough away from family they couldnt get to us easily ;) . Plus decent flights to and from the centres. Hence why we moved to New Plymouth. Havent regretted a day here :)

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  36. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    Are ‘Whiteys’ allowed in Te Papa?
    (I know pregnant women aren’t..)

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  37. Gulag1917 (857 comments) says:

    David
    Google
    NZ On Screen
    then put the following in the search box
    Gliding On – No Smoke Without Fire

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  38. artemisia (234 comments) says:

    DG, almost my whole roof lifted off in the Wahine storm. Ended up a few doors down in the garden. So a new roof but most carrara ceilings gone for good.

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  39. adze (2,094 comments) says:

    The weather’s not great in Wgtn, but I’d rather be a bit chilly than deal with humidity. Because with cold you can at least wrap up, but with humidity you can’t do anything.

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  40. Couchpotatoe (28 comments) says:

    But Our Dear Leader thinks Wellington is shyte. Weta work shops is the only thing going for it.

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  41. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    As if his opinion is worth paying attention to.

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  42. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Longknives (4,488 comments) says:
    August 3rd, 2014 at 11:28 am

    oh dear … there was one exhibition where it was recommended however not enforced, that caused a bit of a todo, but yes, pregnant women are allowed in Te Papa, and surprisingly, even men – although, men claiming to be pregnant might possibly be submitted to a substance abuse test first. :P

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  43. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    How creepy that Rowan and Judith have appeared at almost the same time to both have a crack at me!
    Norman Bates and his mother?

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  44. Viking2 (11,371 comments) says:

    You poor deprived people. Wellingtons great on two days a year. Aucklands a shithouse so where to go.

    Well having moved from Wellington in 1974 to the best place in NZ I can thoroughly recommend the Bay of Plenty and in particular Tauranga and the Mount.
    Oh we have lost our innocence and the holiday batches but we have a thriving community, the biggest Port and a number of locally based successful public companies.
    We are growing, traffic holdups are moments, roads are improving because we decided a longtime ago that because the BOP was a safe Nat. territory the only way to get funds was to raise our own, so we have had our oub toll roads for years, our port moved from the dark ages by funding its own multipurpose crane.

    We remain thankful to Winston ( pisses you off eh). for his efforts towards our roading funding.
    We thank Tony Ryall for our growing Medical services with some of our specialists installing just a week or two back the latest in robot technology for surgery.
    Apart from our coastline, and the fishing that goes with it, we have 15+ lakes within an hour of town, couple of hours to the skifeilds and lots of hunting. If we desire to go sailing we don’t need ironclad yacht’s to cope with the weather.

    Sure we still have a bunch of socialist spendthrift councilors but they are dying out and currently we are not that impressed with our MP..

    We have Art buffs coming out of the woodwork, aviation nuts with their Flyers Museum, heaps of sports and recreation, (oh and did I tell you we even grew our own private Stadium thanks the Bob the Builder.) ( our economy works well when we cap the socialists).
    Linley Dodds adds to our literary fame.
    We are growing our university capacity wth the announcement of a new expanded campus.
    Our town is very ethnic these days, I could go on.

    Like the Dilmar Tea man says.

    Whats not to like?

    Try it you will like it.

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  45. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Longknives (4,490 comments) says:
    August 3rd, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    How creepy that you are so obsessed you check to see who is posting and at what times.

    Getting back to the topic of the thread – its okay, you can go to Te Papa, even if you are pregnant. :-)

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  46. Harriet (4,800 comments) says:

    “…..I think the citizens suffer from collective Stockholm syndrome….”

    Most apt description I’ve ever seen.

    The locals always say on the next fine day after a month of rain and wind:

    “Wellington’s got great weather – you can’t beat today can you?”

    Sad.

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  47. Liberty (259 comments) says:

    ” All the bays and all the beaches”

    A few grains of sand, Were imported from Golden Bay. Far better to go to Golden bay and enjoy the real thing.

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  48. I Say Look Here (56 comments) says:

    I have an image in mind which to me says something about our esteemed capital city.

    It is the original, historic, derelict grandstand at the Basin Reserve. A blot on the landscape it looks to me, conveniently ignored amongst the usual eulogies of our “greatest cricket ground.”

    I understand it needs major strengthening, because it’s deemed to be an earthquake risk. It is also desperately in need of a dramatic facelift. These never happen though, presumably because the money just can’t be found.

    And yet it can’t be demolished, because it is Historic.

    So it just sits there, swathed in red tape. It can’t be sat in, and doesn’t bear looking at. All it’s good for is housing our National Cricket Museum (because if it’s a “national” museum it has to be in Wellington….)

    Just seems a shame our uber-cool go-ahead capital city can’t get something done about it.

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  49. Anthony (789 comments) says:

    A lot of things still same as when this was shot although not the pommifed accents

    http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/toehold-on-a-harbour-1966

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  50. I Say Look Here (56 comments) says:

    @ Viking2 (11,149 comments) says:
    August 3rd, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Can’t say I’ve noticed the gratitude to Winston you speak of, sure he claims to have got us the second harbour bridge but that doesn’t balance the rest of the package he’s brought to NZ politics. Still to each his own…

    And these days the sentiment towards the dirt track Bob built seems to have turned around – if he hadn’t saddled us with a dog that’s not even up to staging Chiefs matches we might be well on our way towards getting a decent stadium by now.

    But otherwise, with you 100%.

    Maybe we just want to keep a bit quieter about our piece of paradise though eh? Don’t want too much riff-raff turning up on the doorstep…!

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  51. Maggy Wassilieff (329 comments) says:

    @ David Garrett…
    “And other than perhaps Cyclone Bola, the Waihine storm is still the worst to hit Welly isn’t it??”

    Depends what variables you are measuring..
    In last year’s June storm gusts surpassed those recorded for the Wahine. Wind speeds of 200km/h were recorded on Mt Kaukau.

    I wasn’t in Wellington for the Wahine storm, but the June 2013 storm was the final straw for me. Gardening in the face of constant gales had lost its appeal.

    The highest wind speeds measured in the North Island are from Hawkins Hill, Wellington South Coast….. 248km/h. (Nov 6 1959; July 4 1962),

    The 1936 storm that brought down acres of trees in the Tararuas was probably worse than the Wahine storm, but I don’t have Wellington’s wind speeds for that event.

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  52. lolitasbrother (639 comments) says:

    Sweet jesus is it true, some one paid this woman to say Wellington is OK.
    Well Wellington is not OK, it a drain you pass on the way up North.

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  53. lolitasbrother (639 comments) says:

    hey Liz, look here , no down here, its not hard at all, not tall, suck here, I pay you to write drivel about big

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  54. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    At least all the “Awesome’s” in the introduction started with an “A”. That will change when Jonah gets to do a guest post! :)

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  55. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    And it’s a fine afternoon, Johnboy

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  56. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Down at the Hutt Rec or listening on the radio Milkey? :)

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  57. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I’ll be heading off shortly

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  58. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    As part of the aristocracy I can’t bear to rub shoulders with the peasants Milkey but I did promise bb a commentary so I’ll tune in at 15:00 hours. May your God go with you! :)

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  59. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Afternoon Minus….. Try 1503kHz if you’re in Wellytown! :)

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  60. dog_eat_dog (778 comments) says:

    Ah yes, Te Papa, the National Museum that was created in Wellington in a high-risk area even though the Auckland War Memorial Museum has higher visitor numbers. But that’s OK because now Wellington has the National War Memorial as well.

    Wellington should change its slogan to “Absolutely Positively Suffering from Short-man Syndrome”

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  61. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    In the case of “The Museum of New Zealand” (I utterly refuse to use the alternate name) It should be “Manifestly Manuring under Micky Mouse Murri Manufactured Myths” d-e-d! :)

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  62. David Garrett (7,009 comments) says:

    I wonder how many pregnant women who defied the “recommendation” and visited Te Papa at the supposedly dreadfully risky time actually had spontaneous abortions??

    Wasn’t that how the bullshit was wrapped up, that it was “unsafe” for preggy women to visit that particular exhibition??

    Reminds me of the Te Maori exhibition 30 odd years ago…The artefacts were supposedly so sacred that if anyone spent the night among them they would surely be stone dead in the morning…Bob Jones promptly offered to spend a night there in return for a payment of $10,000 in the morning (If he was dead, $10k was to paid to the person who accepted the wager)…Needless to say Bob kept his $10k…

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  63. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    @adze – “The weather’s not great in Wgtn, but I’d rather be a bit chilly than deal with humidity. Because with cold you can at least wrap up, but with humidity you can’t do anything.”

    True adze.

    I love it here in Wellington too. The weather’s always changing – I love the bracing cold mornings. I’d *hate* to live in a place where it was always fine.

    The place *does* have a heart and a good feel to it.
    Big enough to be interesting but small enough to have a cosy feel to it.

    I grew up in Hawke’s Bay but when I go back there now I feel absolutely nothing for the place. It’s odd.
    Ok, I left there in 1980 to go to uni (Vic) but I still expected to feel some affinity for the Bay afterwards.
    I can only guess that Wellington “grabbed me” so quickly and completely that the Bay no longer had a chance……

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  64. Akaroa (552 comments) says:

    Wellington is the finest place in the world in which to settle and live. No ifs, no buts, no maybes!!

    I have lived – and my definition of ‘live’ is to spend a number of years in a place, grocery shop and pay local utility bills – in the London area and numerous other towns and cities in the UK. I lived for an exciting year in Belfast Northern Ireland, for three blissful years In Malta GC, two years in mystical Aden, Arabia, two years In bustling Singapore, three years In King-andI Bangkok and two and a half years in vibrant Hong Kong. (Plus twenty-five years in Wellington NZ (see below) and, latterly, five years in (sigh) Auckland NZ about which the less said the better!).

    The best place to live? No contest!! Wellngton NZ, of course!!

    Wellington has everything. Magical harbour-girt location, scenic hills, a compact centre (unlike sprawly, disconnected Auckland where I now live) – a vibrant public persona, the arts, theatre, sport – in short everything one could possible ask for in a modern, vibrant, go-ahead, exciting city. A walkable attractive harbour-side just across the street from the City centre. And I haven’t even touched the restaurants, pubs and entertainment!

    Weather? Well – “You can’t beat Wellington on a good day “- of which there are plenty btw. (And if weather is so critical to you all I can say is: “Whadareya anyway?!!

    So you can keep your Bay of islands, Marlborough Sounds and wild West Coast – (attractive and alluring to visit though all of them are in their own way) – For me its Wellington, Wellington, Wellington all the way! The ONLY place to be!!.

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  65. Steve (North Shore) (4,544 comments) says:

    Wellington is great, but the people are strange. They have this huge chip on the shoulder about JAFAs.
    And that really worries us – not

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  66. lolitasbrother (639 comments) says:

    you got do with Garrett to wellington
    quote from Garrett

    Reminds me of the Te Maori exhibition 30 odd years ago…The artefacts were supposedly so sacred that if anyone spent the night among them they would surely be stone dead in the morning…Bob Jones promptly offered to spend a night there in return for a payment of $10,000 in the morning (If he was dead, $10k was to paid to the person who accepted the wager)…Needless to say Bob kept his $10k…
    end quote

    wellington what a jerk city Wellington is, what a jerk off Wellington is , dirty cold ugly city

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  67. Viking2 (11,371 comments) says:

    I Say Look Here (38 comments) says:
    August 3rd, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    @ Viking2 (11,149 comments) says:
    August 3rd, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    And these days the sentiment towards the dirt track Bob built seems to have turned around – if he hadn’t saddled us with a dog that’s not even up to staging Chiefs matches we might be well on our way towards getting a decent stadium by now.

    But otherwise, with you 100%.

    Maybe we just want to keep a bit quieter about our piece of paradise though eh? Don’t want too much riff-raff turning up on the doorstep…!
    =======================
    Can’t say I’ve noticed the gratitude to Winston you speak of, sure he claims to have got us the second harbour bridge but that doesn’t balance the rest of the package he’s brought to NZ politics. Still to each his own…

    Well we don’t care for without his screwing Clarkula we would not have the second bridge, no doubt. Unfortunately we also managed to allow stupid bastards like Perry Harlen and co into town who have done thier best both to screw funding for the motorways and beat the shit out of Clarkson with their constant ranting which the socialists uphold.
    The stadium was built to repalce the original Bay Park racing Track which is now covered in houses. Had Bob not built it with his own money for the car club it would not exist. That the council wanted to socialize it so they could continue to grow their fiefdoms is in the true socialist tradition.
    Who cares about the Chiefs for once or twice a year. Rather have the rates rebate and then maybe we could actually build a proper stadium in the place it should be, right at the racecourse.

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  68. Mobile Michael (443 comments) says:

    The best thing about Wellington is that we can snigger at the rest of the world when we see weather reports of 100km/h winds causing widespread damage.

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  69. wf (421 comments) says:

    I lived up north for a few years. Guess what – it was so windy that the washing blew off the line. That never happened in Welly, lol.

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  70. artemisia (234 comments) says:

    Ha wf, I get other people’s washing in my Welly back yard once or twice a year!

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  71. Left Right and Centre (2,957 comments) says:

    I’ll bet she don’t know wtf Porirua is. She should get her white girl coffee sipping arse out there and gush about how great the ghetto be. The taro is wonderful – freshest in the country. Dog owners are so friendly and awesome – they’ll even help prise their loose pitbull off your leg.

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  72. Nigel Kearney (973 comments) says:

    Auckland just seems inferior to Sydney in every way so I wouldn’t choose to live there. Wellington is not for everyone – definitely an acquired taste. For me it is the people more than anything else. I have never been a government employee and would like to forcibly redeploy most of them to the productive sector, but I do think that interesting people tend to prefer those jobs for some reason.

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  73. RRM (9,786 comments) says:

    About her point number 9:

    This here is an image of Old London Bridge, note the severed heads of prisoners on pikes above the entrance.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/London-bridge-1682.jpg

    I am in favour of similar treatment for people who blow their god damn fucking car horns in the Mt Victoria tunnel for no good reason.

    It routinely wakes my sleeping babies whenever I drive through. It drives pedestrians using the tunnel mad. :evil: Just fucking don’t do it.

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