Last Thursday I turned 28. Which means that I’ve now been a resident of Wellington for almost 28 years.
That’s crazy! I simply can’t believe I’ve ended up here for so long. As a young teenager, I imagined myself moving away at the first opportunity. Somehow that hasn’t quite happened yet, and life is better than ever. While I did live in Auckland during my first year of University, because I wanted a fresh start, every other year has had me wake up in the Capital city. I went to primary school in Kelburn first, then Thorndon, before returning to Wellington for university at Kelburn and Thorndon again. Life is full of swings and round-abouts - especially in Welly.
Wellington is a great city to live in, but there is always so much to discover. I want to share with you 28 tips that only a Wellingtonian would know about living here, summarising the best and worst of the city.
To make things more interesting, I’ve split my tips across style, weather, food, travel and fun things to do. I hope you enjoy these tips and I'd love to know whether you
1. Umbrellas are a waste of time in Wellington. Invest in a good raincoat. You can get a conventional one from an outdoors shop or for something more stylish try Okewa. The wind will blow that umbrella inside out!
2. You won’t see many seriously designer clothes, like Chanel Quilted purses or Loubiton shoes, but there’s a strong network of people who are connected and may be a major CEO, film director or rugby player. Just because we don’t go for statement material luxuries, doesn’t mean we don’t take what we do seriously.
3. We do love a bit of glitter though - and people turn it on for the right occasion like the World Of Wearable Art Show.
4, The dress-sense is more English/French/Danish understated chic than Sydney or New York glam. This is mainly influenced by the weather (yet again). A Wellington woman knows she can go far in a great pair of jeans, a striped tee, a blazer or oversized cardigan, a pair of heeled leather ankle boots, great haircut and a bottle of Rose. Luckily, shops like Glassons, Merchant, Max & Superette cater to this. However, don't underestimate our love of activewear.
5. With walking so much a part of everyday life, Wellington has a unique dress sense, where you’ll find suits marching down Lambton Quay in sneakers on their way to work. People change into their work shoes when they arrive at work. Apparently, in Japan this is the opposite where people walk to work in their nice shoes and change into comfy shoes at the office. Different strokes, for different folks.
6. A floaty skirt can be worn on approximately 5 days a year when it isn’t windy.
7. Wellington houses do not have central heating in-built like English or European houses. This might be because most people own their own home here, rather than living in long term leases like many do overseas. For this reason, it is essential to check for mould in any rental property you inspect, and to make sure you budget appropriately for heaters in Winter. Invest in a dehumidifer and, if all else fails, a hottie.
8. However, Wellington is in actual fact getting less windy, and the weather is getting warmer. Global warming does have some perks…
9. Without much of a reliable Summer, it pays to book a break away in December/January. However, whenever you do, you’ll hear from all your friends back home that it has been the the hottest, highest consecutive days of sunshine in the last 40 years, while you’re playing chess at a bach while it drizzles.
10. Wellingtonians take their food extremely seriously. Brunch is a sacred ritual, not to be toyed with.
11. Whether or not the economy is good can be determined in Wellington by how many cocktail bars exist in the city at any one time.
12. Regional pride is strong - particularly when it comes to our local restaurants and cafes. Ask any Wellingtonians where to get lunch, even just stopping them on the street, and they’ll proudly rattle off a list of places that they’ve memorised specifically for that moment.
13. Don’t trust craft beer if you want to avoid a raging hangover in the morning. Just because it is a beer doesn’t mean it doesn’t do mortal damage to your head. Some can range up to 11% alcohol per pint. Trust me on this one. I’ve experienced it.
14. Coffee is everything.
15. You don’t need a car.
16. You might like to try a MEVO.
17. The public transport is okay as a general rule of thumb but make sure you have checked bus routes. Some areas which should have more public transport going through them, like Kelburn Village, for some unknown reason are wastelands when it comes to hitching a ride.
18. Having an Uber account helps.
19. You’ll hear Wellingtonians moan about how far it is to walk from Cuba Street to Courtenay Place on a Saturday night. Ditto walking 500 metres up the road to get food for lunch from the Supermarket.
Quirky And Interesting
20. We never forget that living this close to the sea is a blessing.
21. We love house parties, dinner parties and lounge-dance parties.
22. We do what we can to help you, if you ask us.
23. It might seem like people in Wellington aren’t that friendly at first, but if you want to make new friends, just join a group like Wellington Foodies. People join in harmony over very chewy sourdough.
24. If you are walking on one of the many track around the hills of Wellington, be prepared for people to say ‘G’day’ or ‘How are ya’ as they pass one another. I have no idea where this started, but it is practically a sin to not say hello to your fellow walker, despite never having met before.
25. You can start all over again. But be nice, because people have memories.
26. People take you seriously if you have passion, patience and a good idea.
27. We’re very proud of our people.
28. We want you to love our city as much as we do.