Wellington, New Zealand

(54 Posts)
hiphophippity Mon 17-Aug-20 11:16:23

So, tentatively looks like we could be moving to Wellington early next year. We are currently in the Southern Hemisphere though not NZ/Oz, I have NEVER been to NZ, but I have lived all over and in some pretty weird places smile so I am not put off by black mould (I read that is a problem) or windy days.

I am however confused about schooling - my DDs are just 6 and 9 a few months ago. Looks like a lot of state primaries finish at grade 6. would also look at private options but want co-ed which doesn't seem to be very common.

Also... we would want to rent to start with, but so many listings say no pets - we have 2 dogs and 1 cat sad is that going to be difficult?

THANKS to anyone who can give me any tips or advice. Or just general positive info about Welly.

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GammyLeg Mon 17-Aug-20 11:21:57

Renting in Wellington is competitive and pets will bump you down the list. Check out TradeMe to get an idea of prices etc.

It’s a really cool city, my favourite NZ city for sure. Arty, great food and drink, lots of cool nooks and crannies and wonderful parks and waterfront. But cold - the southerly goes right through your bones and the houses are freezing.

Can’t tell you about schools as I haven’t lived there with children.

Toomanynotes Mon 17-Aug-20 11:26:14

I'm in Wellington in Tawa. We have a co-ed college and Intermediate school in our suburb. One of the primaries is a "full primary" where kids can stay on for the intermediate years 7 and 8 rather than go to the intermediate school. I think all the private colleges are single sex, as are most of the inner city schools.

I love living in Wellington - weather really isn't that bad - we've just had a great and sunny weekend for the middle of winter. It's a compact little city but plenty to do and handy for the South Island.

Can't help on the pets issue, but I would recommend buying or renting somewhere that gets plenty of sun to help with the cold and damp issues.

IslandbreezeNZ Mon 17-Aug-20 11:26:38

Wellington is the best city I have ever lived in. I live in the UK now but I LOVE Wellington so much. It's got everything- a cool water front and beach, cafes, shops, culture, the outdoors. It's a classy little city and easy to get around as its compact. It's my city of choice. You don't need private schooling at all. Yes it can get windy I do agree but the mould situation for me was never an issue and I have had way more trouble with mould in London!

Toomanynotes Mon 17-Aug-20 11:29:47

Oh just remembered one private mixed sex option - Whitby College in north Wellington (Porirua really - about twenty five mins drive out of Wellington outside rush hour)

diplodocusinermine Mon 17-Aug-20 11:33:31

Lived there for 3 years - it is a great city, small, surrounded by beautiful coastline and countryside, close to the wine regions grin. There is a fantastic restaurant and arts scene. Wellington library is one of my favourite places - used to spend most Saturday mornings mooching there with books, magazines and coffee, then head out for lunch.

No personal experience of schools but friends with primary school children seemed incredibly relaxed about their schooling, unlike UK friends - maybe that is just NZ'ers in general though - optimistic and relaxed.

Only downsides, it is expensive - property, eating out, entertainment. And the winter can be a bit dire - the rain and wind seemed worse than the UK somehow, and the houses don't seem to be equipped for the weather.

hiphophippity Mon 17-Aug-20 11:56:38

Popular city! love it, thanks.

I love the idea of living right in town but realise with our house of animals it won't be easy to find a rental.
Does anyone have ideas of places close to town, ideally on the sea? where we could rent a family house but that doesn't feel suburban.

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GreyGardens88 Mon 17-Aug-20 12:03:08

I disagree with PP about the weather not being that bad. The weather is awful, worse than the UK. Fully overcast all the time like living in a tupperware box, freezing rain, constant freezing wind. There was a windstorm the night before I had to catch the ferry to the South Island, it was terrifying.

Why they decided to build a city there when just an hour up the coast the weather is 10x better is beyond me

GammyLeg Mon 17-Aug-20 20:28:46

@GreyGardens88 probably because there’s no suitable harbours on which to found a city on the coast. 😉

Yeah the weather can be bad. But Wellingtonians take a secret and perverse pride in that.

As NZ writer Owen Marshall said “The world is divided between those who boast of their climate, and those who rejoice in secret that a cold wind isolates a landscape.”

I live somewhere sunnier now but would return to Wellington in a heartbeat if I could.

Givemestrengthorgin Tue 18-Aug-20 08:24:52

Is the housing in New Zealand really that bad? I lived in Wellington for a year but that was 10 years ago now. At the time I was a poor postgrad so didn't pay too much attention to the quality of housing. But I do remember the weather being really good (although that was having come from the west coast of Scotland so my standards probably weren't too high!). I see Wellington through rose tinted glasses as I had such a fantastic year there and would love to go back. I didn't realise the school system was so different...is the education system generally regarded as being fit purpose and well resourced?

IslandbreezeNZ Tue 18-Aug-20 09:07:29

The education system in New Zealand is brilliant and I would not waste money for one second on private. In New Zealand they have to make space for your child in the school within your catchment and so pick wisely where you live to incorporate the school. They can't turn you down.

hiphophippity Tue 18-Aug-20 15:49:36

Thanks all. School info very helpful. The private system seems to be mostly single sex which really puts me off.
My confusion was over the primary/intermediary/secondary divisions. Some state primaries seem to finish 2 years earlier than others which is not ideal for my 9 year old. I am sure I can work it out though.

Feel stressed about finding a rental that will take our menagerie AND that is in the catchment for a decent primary that covers both ages. The joys of moving!

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slug Tue 18-Aug-20 16:10:17

Traditionally private schools in NZ have been the preserve of farming families who send their children to board rather than have long commutes. It doesn't have the same social cachet as in the UK. NZ state schools are pretty good and almost everyone goes to one.

NZ still has something akin the the Junior High system (I think that's what it's modeled on) So you have primary, 2 years worth of Intermediate then secondary school. Just to make things more confusing, some primary schools incorporate the intermediate years as well. This was the case for the school I went to.

Wellington is not only windy (there's nothing between Wellington and the Antarctic) but also hilly. But there are plenty of suburbs clustered around bays. I lived in Island Bay for a while. You could also consider moving out of Wellington a bit. The Kapiti Coast is commutable, as is Petone or Eastbourne. However, cheaper housing can be found inland in the Hutt Valley.

IslandbreezeNZ Tue 18-Aug-20 16:57:42

Agree that the private schools tend to cater for the children of farming families because of the distance to school and in fact I only ever knew people that went to private for that reason. It's not like the UK where it is a wealth/better education sort of thing. Yes it's normal that kids go to primary from 5-10, then intermediate for 11-12, then college for 13 onwards. My intermediate was right next door to my college. Some area of Wellington that I like are Hataitai, Brooklyn and Eastbourne (further our but great lifestyle). Oriental Bay is gorgeous but for the wealthy only however Victoria next it is is also great if you are looking for inter-city living.

IslandbreezeNZ Tue 18-Aug-20 17:05:06

I am going to put a different idea out there. I am assuming that just one parent works and that you could be in a higher income bracket. You could consider living in Nelson at the top of the South Island and whomever will work in Wellington flies in during the week. It's is completely doable and I know if people who have done this. Just an option. Nelson is paradise.

hiphophippity Tue 18-Aug-20 17:20:34

Very helpful. Both my DH and I went to boarding schools in UK so it helps to get a perspective. Daunted at the idea of finding a rental for a school though if that makes sense.

I feel like Wellington has enough going for it that we should stay together? We have done DH flying away mon-fri before and he was so miserable. I better not look at Nelson grin

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hiphophippity Tue 18-Aug-20 17:22:44

If we are not in the city then we will want sea-view beach vibe if there is such a thing in commutable distance? What is Khandallah like?

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hiphophippity Tue 18-Aug-20 17:25:02

So if for example the local school in Brooklyn (Brooklyn School) goes grade 1-8, but the local school in Khandallah only goes to grade 6... I will want to be in Brooklyn for my 9 year old? Just to make it more complicated hmm

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IslandbreezeNZ Tue 18-Aug-20 17:45:01

I recommend Eastbourne for out of city but beach lifestyle. My family happen to be based there with 3 kids and my SIL who is not a kiwi slotted into life there very fast and seems to be happy there and making local friends. The beach is not golden sands but it gives you the sea nearby, a village with butchers, a few shops/cafes with decent coffee etc, schools local (I think age 10 they do have to go further for school). The city you can bus, drive, train or get the ferry to.

IslandbreezeNZ Tue 18-Aug-20 17:47:08

Khandalla is a nice suburb but never appealed to me as that side of the city I feel doesn't get the evening sun and so can feel a bit dark in winter.

IslandbreezeNZ Tue 18-Aug-20 17:49:16

If you can actually afford Oriental Bay then do keep that option in mind. It's my retirement destination if not Nelson smile

Popebenedictsp45 Tue 18-Aug-20 20:48:56

I’m in Nelson and would say don’t do it!! The rental market is insanely competitive, housing has gone up in price by 90% in about five years and on top of that it’s so conservative and stifling. And there are problems with schools and zoning here (in that schools are zoned and the only school available in Nelson is single sex).

We are trying to move to Wellington!

IslandbreezeNZ Tue 18-Aug-20 20:58:49

@Popebenedictsp45 that's so interesting to hear. I grew up there and yes it can be conservative in some areas but Nelson is also so well known for its arts scene, its wineries, the restaurants are amazing- the quality of food is so high & don't even get me started on the its natural beauty. I have spent 16 years in London now and I have truly come to realise what a stunning place Nelson is. I do agree rentals are competitive but think the issue is similar in Wellington - I think generally this is the case in NZ. It sounds awful but OP will be able to throw a bit of cash at these problems to resolve them (sorry massive assumption but I think we are not talking about your typical financial situation here).

Gibbonsgibbonsgibbons Tue 18-Aug-20 21:09:04

Interesting to read comments on the weather I think it must depend on what part of the UK you are using as your reference (!) as all my family in Wellington moan endlessly about the cold & wet when they visit us on the Scottish east coast! (& I found the weather there mild in winter)

IslandbreezeNZ Tue 18-Aug-20 21:45:53

Part of my Nelson suggestion was the climate as Nelson has the highest sunshine hours in the country and a completely different climate however I can really understand OP not wanting to be separated during the week as know I would like that either.

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