Wellington City Guide
Wellington is a very compact city with harbour setting, good transport, and great cafe culture. Has the best coffee of anywhere we have been in NZ and Wellingtonians take coffee seriously. Weather a bit suspect at the moment, but summer may come. Divide into four Quarters. Lambton Quarter (business) Willis Quarter (retail) Cuba Quarter (retail and cafe/clubs) Courtenay Quarter (bars and clubs).
Anyone with a German shepherd :
The Wellington District German Shepherd Dog Club - great for puppy training - The Beautiful Bruno passed, MOH failed!
The national German Shepherd Rescue Trust - get your hankies ready!
NZ's nationwide database for pets lost/found/homes needed.
SPCA - The RSPCA is centralised - the regions are SPCA's - always on the lookout for volunteers
NZ Spoodle discussion forum: http://www.spoodle.co.nz
Dog training in Porirua - Titahi Bay Canine Obedience Club http://www.tbcoc.org.nz/
For those of you who like fishing, Miramar Wharf was going well this weekend at high tide and just before with good size Gurnards (taste nice). Surf casting at Scorching Bay went well also. Cheap rods and tackle at K Mart Porirua and the Warehouse if you did not bring your own over.
Gardening in parts of Wellington can be a bit of a challenge - wind and salt spray - native plants are a good way to go - Otari-Wilton’s Bush is dedicated to native plants and is a great place to learn about native planting - all the plants in the formal gardens are labelled - great bush walks and a barbecue area beside the Kaiwharawhara stream - otari100.org
Good book to help is Wellington Gardens - successful gardening for Wellington, Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa" written by Jon Muller.
The history of horticulture in Wellington is described in Winsome Shepherd's "Wellington's Heritage - plants, gardens and landscape" published by Te Papa Press.
Beautiful photos by Alan Knowles in "Wildflower City" a "pictorial celebration of the glorious and chaotic displays of wildflowers that bloom on the hillsides and roadsides from Wellington City and the Hutt Valley north to Pukerua Bay." published by Manuka Press
Places to Visit
The Carter Observatory in the Wellington Botanical Gardens has a planetarium and telescopes available to visitors - they also do evening adult courses and have daily weather dependent Southern night sky telescope viewings - we did the course when we first arrived - fascinating.
There is a full scale working adaptation of stonehenge in the Wairarapa - Stonehenge Aotearoa - details on astronomynz.org.nz
For panoramic views of the city try getting up to the Brooklyn Wind Turbine... on a clear day the views are spectacular, far better than from Mt Victoria.
A shop called Cool Britannia imports many home comforts direct from the old country, including chocolate hob nobs, weighed sweets, jams and chutneys etc.
35 Taranaki Street, Wellington 81 Queens Drive, Lower Hutt
When you get tired of New World, Woolworths, Countdown and Pak'n'Save and long for some obscure ingredient, you may like to try Moore Wilsons http://www.moorewilson.co.nz/ ....it is a bit like a Costco Cash and Carry set-up you have to join (no fee) and is used a lot by local restaurateurs in Wellington. There is also a large electrical and toy section.
McPhees, an irish/scottish store, is in Tawa, a suburb to the North of Wellington up SH1, and sell a random selection of celtic tat, but are also purveyors of imported Haggis, Scotch Pies, Lorne Sausage and the likes! They, like Cool Britannia, also import Scotland's 2nd national drink, Irn Bru! This is now stocked in Countdown and Woolworths supermarkets, but its made in Australia under licence and isn't quite right!
There is also a Dutch shop in Jackson street in Petone that sells Dutch goodies!
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The NZ International Arts Festival is held in Wellington every 2 years - next festival is 22 February - 16 March 2008.
Wellington really buzzes - great atmosphere, with performances all day in every venue, street theatre ....
...just before is the Fringe Festival - Bats Theatre is the "young" theatre with a great tradition of developing performances
For variety performances, ballet, opera, which includes The St James and The Opera House.
The other main performance venues are The Michael Fowler Centre and The Town Hall  - for symphony, chamber orchestra and all sorts - from Eddie Izzard to hypnotists to Welsh male voice choirs to ....
Wellington is home to the NZ Symphony Orchestra
... and the Royal NZ Ballet
Every year Wellington hosts the World of Wearable Art Show which is hard to describe but well worth attending at least once. Contenders/Designers come from all over the world but the concept seems tobe unique to NZ. http://www.worldofwearableart.com/
This IS the "Arts Capital" of New Zealand!