Windswept in Wellington New Zealand

I have to admit that I’m something of a lover.  No, I’m not a Don Juan, although I do love my wife and kids, but I find that I can quite easily fall in love with places.  I’m a geographical Don Juan if you like, because when it comes to loving places I am definitely promiscuous.

One of the places I fell in love with is Wellington, Capital of New Zealand.  I used to live in Wellington; it was a very long time ago, but my memories haven’t faded.  I didn’t mean to live there, as I was just going to pass through, but I ended up staying for a while simply because I was attracted to the city.

Wellington isn’t a huge metropolis, and it’s not even New Zealand’s largest city, but it is a city that has style, beauty, a wonderful vibe, and it was just a great place in which to live.

Now, Wellington has a reputation for being very windy, and I can attest to the truthfulness of its reputation.  It is the only capital city to be located in the Roaring 40’s, those intense Southern Ocean winds that are powered by the Antarctic icecap.  So those winds are not only ferocious, they also carry a bitter chill.  I used to ride a low powered motor bike to work in the coastal suburb of Miramar.  Every day I rode past the end of the Wellington Airport runway.  On one particular day, the wind was so fierce that I not only had to ride in first gear, I also had to push with my feet to advance through the invisible onslaught.  The winds have been forceful enough to take down power lines at times. You’d think the wind would be off putting, but it really freshens everything up, and keeps the air pollution free.  You get a little bit of pain for an awful lot of gain.

Of course, wind is one thing, but the shaking in another.  Wellington does get more than its fair share of earth tremors; as a result, many of the houses are built from timber as it is a slightly more flexible material than brick.  By now you’re probably thinking, why would anyone go to Wellington when it has wind and earth tremors?  They’re part of what makes Wellington so special, and besides, a little earth tremor every now and then reminds you that Mother Earth is still very much alive.

Wellington is located on the southern end of New Zealand’s North Island.  The city is located on the foreshore Lambton Harbour, which is part of Wellington Harbour.  Opposite the city is the Rimutaka Ranges.   Wellington is a very hill city, but is also has many beautiful beaches and bays.  Public transport in Wellington is interesting as it still has electric trolley buses plying its streets, and the city has a cable car which climbs towards the suburb of Kelburn stopping at the Botanic gardens, Observatory and University.

There is a lot of very interesting architecture in Wellington, ranging from contemporary office builds to art deco structures and The Beehive the which is so-named because it does look like a circular beehive, but it is also the New Zealand Parliamentary Building. Very close to The Beehive is the largest wooden building in the Southern hemisphere.

The reason which I love Wellington is because it is such a vibrant city.  Despite its size, there is plenty to do here.  There are many places to pursue sporting interests, cafes, restaurants and bars, and some terrific nightlife. In fact, the Te Aro area of Wellington, where I used to live, is the entertainment capital of New Zealand.  There are a number of cinemas and theatres here mainly in the areas of Courtenay Place, Dixon Street and Cuba Street.

For an international visitor the low value of the New Zealand dollar means that Wellington is a very inexpensive city to visit.  Being the nation’s Capital, the city has heaps of things to do from both a cultural perspective, The Museum of New Zealand has a fantastic collection of South Pacific and Maori artefacts, to the banal, meaning your time will be well occupied.

New Zealand is renowned for its natural beauty, and many international visitors seem to ignore Wellington in favour of other places, but the city is a real treasure, and it is worth it to visit and sample its many delights.

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