I have so many memories of so many Wellington suburbs, and none more than Thorndon in Wellington.
It is where I dragged around after my mother to antique shops as a little girl, went to college for 11 years, walked through every school morning as a teenager and would often have lunch when I worked there two years ago. I decided to explore Tinakori Road, the main road everyone thinks about when you think of Thorndon, and share for some of you who might not know it so well why it is a cool place in Wellington.
1. It is where the Botanical Gardens is in Welly
101 Glenmore Street, Thorndon
The Wellington Botanic Garden, Wellington, New Zealand, covers 25 hectares of land on the side of the hill between Thorndon and Kelburn, near central Wellington. It is TRULY huge and you could spend so much time getting lost in there. The prettiest part, I've always thought, is around the gates on Tinakori Road. Down here, you'll find the duck pond, the sound shell where there are concerts in Summer and the tulips bloom in October. A great spot for a picnic in the fine Wellington weather, like today.
2. Hillside Kitchen & Cellar
241 Tinakori Road
Hillside Kitchen & Cellar is one of my favourite places to eat in Wellington. Asher, the owner, truly does amazing food. With a foraging and farm to plate philosophy, wherever possible, they aim to be socially conscious and also only serve free-range meat and eggs. Try simple food with a twist such as Zany Zeus halloumi, purple wheat, beets, longbush pork stew and duck, mushroom, fresh pasta (all $20). They also have a foraged and seasonal sample menu where you "Get what you're bloody well given (Mum's words, not Asher's). Asher also founded The Ramen Noodle Shop in Newtown so if you are a fan of that place you'll love Hillside.
3. Katherine Mansfield Birthplace, ya'll
25 Tinakori Road
Katherine Mansfield is a famous writer, for those of you who don't know, who came from New Zealand and live from 1888 to 1923. She hung out with Virginia Woolf a bit and people like D.H. Lawrence. Her short stories are about her life growing up in this part of the world and specifically Wellington (the short story 'Her First Ball' is set in my old school building). She was only 34 when she died but she was prolific writer. Katherine Mansfield Birthplace is the house she was born in. Katherine Mansfield's father, Harold Beauchamp, built a house for his family in Thorndon. Three generations of the Beauchamp family lived together here from 1888 to 1893. Inside, the house is as it would have been while Katherine was growing up. Open Tuesday - Sunday, 10am - 4pm.
4. The Village Shops & Pubs
Tinakori Road is a place where there is an interesting mix of shops. Although some have come and gone, others have been there as long as I've been alive. Some of these are the excellent second-hand clothing boutique, 'Secondo' and the gloriously old school 'Millwood Gallery' which is a gallery and bookstore. Other places of note include the 'Sprig & Fern' Pub and 'Cosa Nostra' Tratorria. However, part of the joy of wandering down Tinakori Road is that the shops are all beautifully quaint in their layout still, retaining that old world charm. Little baskets hang from the beams outside. Cobbled brick lanes lead down little alleyways. Tinakori Road is a place where you can daydream about being in another time, arm in arm with Ms Mansfield perhaps.
5. Antique Heaven
The reason I came to Tinakori Road so much as a kid was ALL of the antique shops. While now, there are only a few main ones, Tinakori Antiques, Elizabeth Wilkins Antiques and Memory Lane, it can be a wonderful to embrace your inner mother-ness and go and buy a beautiful teacup, just for you, I don't know what it was - maybe it was just my mother - but I feel like the 90's was a really strong time for antiques which sadly we have left behind. My mum used to obsessively watch 'The Antiques Road Show' - and guess what, still does! So it is time to re-visit the Antique stores in Tinakori Road and breathe new life into an old object - while accepting perhaps you're turning into your mother!
I hope you find time to pop down to Tinakori Road some time. It is so easy to forget all the sweet suburbs around Wellington - but honestly, you never know what you'll find!