Les Papillons Derrière La Lune are talking about exhibitions, talented artists or somptuous landscapes but someone here is the actual star. Everywhere but however never highlighted, Wellington is the one!
Ah, Wellington! You don’t know it? Not yet. But it will know you very quickly, believe me on that!
Stamped “coolest little capital in the world”, Wellington is indeed a small town, very friendly and yes, the capital of a country called New Zealand, which is part of the world despite the fact everyone forgets about it when some sneaky little Hobbitses or fierce *hot* rugbymen are not trying to invade the known world.
Apart these two exceptions, Welly “la belle” is peaceful and enjoys pleasures of a simple life barely swept by some daily 50km/h winds (minimum!) or shaken by morning earthquakes.
Walking in the streets, Wellingtonians are smiley, relax and greet you by a “hey bro’! How have you been?!” before going away to grab their morning coffee.
Ah, coffee! Yes! Wellington is the capital of coffee. The sacred beverage is definitely not some black liquid which your stomac will make you regret straight away to have absorbed it but a delicious senses adventure with a wide range of flavours, colours and textures.
After his/her coffee, the Wellingtonian will find his/her way to the office around CBD for the politicians, lawyers and co., or toward Miramar peninsula for Weta Workshop/Digital artists! Well, this is without counting on the computer/game world, big part of Wellington industry, and the numerous little ants running in nice and cosy bars or crazy restaurants for cruise ship tourists on the Waterfront. Of course, poor students attending to Vic’ are not to forget. This is of course a wide generality as you may understand.
Here, ladies, you will get in a very short time beautiful mermaid legs, because, as you know, mermaids got legs! Anyway, thank to Wellington size, you are more likely to use your legs than waiting for the bus for ages to move around town and it’s without mentioned hilly Welly! Surrounded by a couple of hills – hills?! I call them mountains – your membership at gym is pretty unnecessary. But if you are a bit more adventurous or a true Wellingtonian, you will use a skateboard, at 6 or 50 years old, with your favorite band tshirt or your pretty skirt.
A pohutukawa on Chritsmas Eve day by the harbour
After your laborious day – with nearly all the time a pretty view (shadow mountains, trees surrounded by singing tuis or blue bay. Or all at the same time!) from your office window – you will find in yourself this unbearable desire for a craft beer. Once again, no worry! Wellington IS also the capital of craft beers! J.O.Y.! And as every paths lead to Rome, every Welly streets go to Te Aro, the heart of the city, where there are probably more bars than inhabitants (maybe not, but still!). But if you live in a suburb (Newtown or Island Bay for example), you will be also well stocked! My favorite place for this activity is definitely The Rogue & Vagabond, especially during Summer when you can enjoy the grass on Garett park. This vibrant bar hidden on the back of the hectic Cuba street will provide you a huge choice of local and national beers and there is nothing in the world like New Zealand beers. And there is not a single moment I’m going there and I will know nobody. There is always a friendly face around to share an endless and passionate conversation about life or culture! (This changes from my lives back to London where you even don’t know your neighbours or back to France where there is no friendly face at all!).
This is one of the numerous qualities of Wellington. You will feel at home straight away, even after only few weeks living in town, you’re part of the locals. You have your favorite places for your morning coffee, your afternoon capuccino or your late afternoon beer. You will know the retail attendant at your local NewWorld or the driver on the 24 bus line and you can’t go out without meeting someone you know in some way.
Here, everyone knows e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e.. That dude you met while you were shopping along Lambton Quay was your flatmates, your best friend’s colleague or the lover of your ex! Avoid to go up Cuba street with your lover, all the town will know it before the end of the week and this can be embarrassing if you’re messing around (even if you’re not, actually.)! Yes! Absolutely everyone is linked one another by one way or another! So if you love gossiping, Wellington is the place to be! Just try to know all about the juicy stories without to be in it! Be the investigator, not the investigate!
View of Courtenay Place from Dirty Little Secret rooftop
How to investigate, you would ask me! Well, there are plenty of methods to learn about everything and everyone! For example, Saturday brunch with your girlfriends is a sacred rendez-vous and this one is particularly important to collect the last news in town but essentially to spend a lovely time with the ones you love. Friends are everything, believe me. For this enjoyable moment there are lots of good places such as the Fidel’s Cafe, the Duke Of Carvell’s or also Plum and Matterhorn, all around Cuba street. By the way, ladies, it’s been a while!!!! We need to catch up sometimes soon!
Then, you might continue your day off enjoying Wellington as an arty place and its exceptionnal art galleries and exhibitions which are, in 99% of the cases, free ; in addition this will give you the opportunity to discover how creative and exciting are local artists. Wellington got also few museums including the biggest national museum in the country – Te Papa.
If you are into music live, you will conclude your night with a gig at Valhalla – my second home! – or at Meow for less than $10 with brilliant bands. You might think New Zealand music is dull and poor and you are mistaken! Local scene is absolutely brilliant, fresh and innovative forgetting revival genres (such as Britpop or pseudo-psyche in Europe) which only brings boredom. So, between Wednesday and Sunday night, you will have plenty of choices in terms of gigs and live performances, besides you can save Monday and Tuesday for an evening at the theatre or the cinema – no need to introduce the fame of Wellywood! – around Courtenay place. You can also choose to go to bed!
On another hand, Kiwis love outdoors! So do I. And once again, Wellintgon is the perfect spot for activities like walking, sailing, surfing, horse riding or whatever. Surrounded by sea and bays, forests and parks, hills and mountains, Wellington will please nature lovers.
Unfortunately New Zealand is not as green as it is in its reputation or at the first glance. For now, Aotearoa is still “green”, in some way, because there are barely 4 million inhabitants (London population is over 13 million…) and it dwells on the outskirt of the world so human being didn’t have time, yet, to f**k everything… But New Zealanders have to wake up and change their mentality and control tourists’ awful behaviours before it really becomes too late.
However, you will be blow away, our children might not be as lucky as us, by unreal landscapes like if they were painted by Turner at sunset or coming from a fantasy movie. You will be astonished by a romantic moonrise reflected in the harbour before an incredible night sky where the famous Southern Cross will appear. Even under rain Wellington is magical with its particular light breaking through the clouds. Moreover, if you are a post rock music fan, this will be even more intense!
Colourful cabins on Oriental beach
In a place like Wellington and its wonderful inhabitants, you will realise that every little moments in life are beautiful and important as we often forget simple things are the best. You will deeply wish it will never be ended.
Hum…by the way, did I tell you how much I love Welly?!