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Anyone in Wellington please help - i am beginning to panic!

(17 Posts)
lavenderbongo Thu 08-Jan-09 08:49:58

We are moving to Wellington at the end of Feb/beginning of March from Brussels - although we are originally from the UK. There seems to be so much to do and so many unknowns at the moment that I wondered if some kind mumsnetters would mind answering a few questions and prevent me having a little nervous breakdown here.blush

I have tried some of the New Zealand specific websites but dont seem to be getting many responses there - if any.

We have two dds one 4 and one 23 months and would like to rent something in a nice family friendly area of Wellington preferably within an easy commuting distance of the centre of Wellington as we may be without a car for a while. Can anyone recommend any nice areas?

If anyone has emigrated from the UK - how much stuff did you bring with you? We are torn between taking everything with us or bringing hardly anything and starting again out there. Also if you brought furniture with you where did you stay until it arrived because I know it takes a long time to get there.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give. I am really looking forward to the move but at the same time its all very very scary!

Sidonie Thu 08-Jan-09 09:57:14

I have just written a big post and lost it. I will start again.

Hello lavenderbobgo.

I am an Aussie who lived in Wellington for five years and loved it. Wellington is beautiful and NZs are very friendly. I can't wait to take my children their (especially my Wellington born daughter) to catch up with friends. I will add some web addresses and opinions in a running series of posts so that I don't lose it again grin.

Sidonie Thu 08-Jan-09 10:14:40

Wellington Map -

Railway map -

Suburb profiles -

Renting -

Serviced apartments - City Life

Quest (I think this must be the ugly apartment buildings that they built in front of my old work place). Supermarket very close by.

ninedragons Thu 08-Jan-09 10:20:56

I have done a few international moves and my advice would be to ship only heirlooms.

It really isn't worth it financially to ship anything like ordinary furniture or kitchenware. If I were you I'd sell all my stuff while still in Brussels and buy new when I arrived.

Sidonie Thu 08-Jan-09 10:31:04

I lived in Wilton, which is between the trendier and more popular Wadestown and Northland. It was quiet, close to the city for my work and quick access to the motorway for my husband.

Khandallah and Ngaio are popular suburbs with a train service. Karori is popular with families and has a trolley bus service.
Kelburn and Brooklyn are popular too. You can see from the Wellington map which side of town I am familiar with! Good friends still live in Newtown which is more 'edgey.' I liked Kilbirnie and it seems to be on the rise. Island Bay, Seatoun (thought to be best seaside suburb) and Miramar are all by the sea. Oriental Bay and Roseneath have views and prices to match with many apartments in the area.

Have you thought of staying in a serviced apartment when you arrive? Good option if work is paying for the move. It also solves the problem of the time it takes for your furniture to arrive.

Good luck with the move

beansmum Thu 08-Jan-09 11:05:48

I know nothing about Wellington but we're moving to Christchurch in 3 weeks and moving straight into an unfurnished flat. I'm planning on buying the absolute essentials (beds and kettle) when we arrive but I'm shipping my sofa, table, kitchen contents, some books and toys. We'll just manage in the unfurnished place until our stuff arrives.

I'm sending one big box by air, it will have my computer, dressing gown and coats and some books, and kitchen stuff in it. I was going to buy a laptop and take that as hand luggage but it worked out cheaper this way. (£200ish)

My mum is posting a playmobil castle once we have left (and I wouldn't be surprised if she added some other goodies), so ds will have something to play with. I was going to buy it there but they are MUCH cheaper here.

lavenderbongo Thu 08-Jan-09 11:41:59

Oh thank god for mumsnet - it got me through my move to Brussels and now its doing the same to the otherside of the world!

Sidonie - Thanks for taking the time to post all those links I will go through them with DH tonight. Im glad to hear another person confirm that Wellington is a nice place for kids. I will look into serviced apartments - but DH is going to work for the New Zealand Government and they are being a bit limited in the amount they are willing to give us to move so we are on a bit of a budget.

Ninedragons - thanks for the info - I am going to get two qoutes one for everything and one only for hierlooms (tatty bits with sentimental value grin.

Beansmum - Good luck with your move - how old are your children? Please let me know how the flights go - I am dreading the long flight with my two! You have given me some really good ideas - i didnt even realise you could send things by air. How did you arrange that?

Thanks again everyone - I think my blood pressure is dropping slightly now!

Sidonie Thu 08-Jan-09 12:12:53

Hi again LB,

Wellington is hilly so one of the considerations when looking for a house is to consider the access; can you park you car at the house, is there a long flight of stairs to the house, or as in my case are there about 80 stairs from the bus stop to your street. (The views are worth the effort of stairs). The hills also make it a consideration to find out how much direct sunlight houses and/or rooms get.

I worked as a librarian at Crown Law for the NZ government. Not as high powered as your husband I imagine. If your husband is already in contact with his new work place he could ask colleagues where they live or would recommend living.

My first lost post mentioned that I left in 2001, so my info is not that up to date but hopefully still useful.

ninedragons Thu 08-Jan-09 12:32:04

Is your DH getting a relocation allowance? If they've offered to pay for the move, take your stuff, but if you're paying for it yourself, don't.

I have a friend who works for an investment bank who has a cheap Ikea sofa that has moved Hong Kong-London-New York-Hong Kong-Sydney-Singapore. But obviously if she'd been paying for her own moves it would have been left on the kerb at the first move.

It's quite fun to choose new sheets and crockery and everything. Actually moving crockery is the biggest waste of money - they have to pack it in so much paper that a six-place dinner service can take up two or three 40cm x 40cm x 40cm boxes. If you have china you love but you don't think you'll be in NZ forever, leave it in a friend's loft.

ninedragons Thu 08-Jan-09 12:38:37

Oh, and I gather NZ Customs are as tetchy as Australian Customs so be really careful not to pack anything potentially dodgy (Christmas decorations are the thing that catches people out - they're looking for pine cones). If they have to fumigate it they'll charge you a fortune. So nothing made from feathers, seeds, sand or soil (they will charge you to clean things like croquet sets and cricket or golf cleats), no wood with evidence of previous pest contamination or inadequately treated skins (e.g. drums, especially from third-world countries, so leave those African bongos or Chinese kettle drums behind).

ZZZen Thu 08-Jan-09 13:11:28

There are a lot of very nice areas around Wellington and offhand I cannot think of any place that is NOT child friendly.

Khandallah is nice, don't know if your map shows it but out in the direction of Johnsonville.

There are nice suburbs with sea views going round the bays but you may then have a smaller garden. Nice to wake up and see the sea though.

I also could imagine it would be nice to stay further up the coast near Paraparam. Nice for you and the kids with the beaches but perhaps too long a commute for dh, not sure about that.

Are you staying there for a longish period? If so , you might want to look into schools and choose your area based on the schools you want. If you plan on sending them to a particular private school for instance, it would be convenient to live in the general area, though they will have bus services

Sibble Thu 08-Jan-09 18:58:28


There are alot of Wellington based mums on here, hopefully they will come on later too to help with areas. I'm in Auckland so only know to visit.

We made the move 6 years ago and bought everything with us and are glad we did, furniture (in fact most things here imo) fall into 2 categories either cheap crap that falls apart in the blink of an eye or very expensive. We stayed in a serviced apartment initially then rented partly furnished until our things arrived. I bought the bare minimum with us and tbh it wasn't too bad waiting for everything. You could join a toy library when you arrive to borrow toys. join the normal library for books and playgroups or playcentre to get out and about. We were lent toys by people we met too!

Ninedragons is right though about customs - they are VERY strict. Just use a shipping company that is used to shipping here so you don't get landed with a huge bill for fumigation or fine. Things they're hot on a outdoor bikes/equipment - make sure they're spotless.

I'm down in Wellington with the ds's at the end of the month staying with a friend who works, with her dh in govt there (they made the move just over a year ago from the UK). It's a great place for families. They have 4 children.

lavenderbongo Fri 09-Jan-09 20:10:54

Thanks again everyone for your advice.

Sidonie - thankss for the tips about the hills and access we will take that into account when looking for somewhere to rent.

Ninedragons - I am now shecking my christmas decorations for rogue pine cones! grin

We love the idea of living near beaches as you suggest ZZZen but it has to be within an easy commuting distance of the centre of Wellington I will have to check the maps out. Khandallah looks nice.

I am going to look into partly furnished but staying in a serviced apartment first as you suggest Sibble. Hadnt occurred to me look for toy librarys so thanks for that.

We are hoping this will be a permenant move so I will be checking out schoools as well. DD will be 5 in sept. Thanks again for everyones help - going to look at places to rent now!

Sidonie Fri 09-Jan-09 23:51:23

If your husband would like to commute to work by ferry and you would like to live in a village type setting by the beach, Eastbourne and Days Bay are beautiful.,_New_Zealand

buzzybee Sat 10-Jan-09 10:17:53

Hi lavender - sorry I didn't see this earlier! I'm a Wellingtonian living in Wellington (lived in London for a while). There are a few of us on here but most people are still on Xmas/summer hols at the moment. I would suggest for the time being you stick to the Western suburbs especially if your DP is going to a Govt position and you're only renting. By that I mean a suburb anywhere between Karori and Khandallah which includes Kelburn, Northland, Wadestown, Wilton, Thorndon, Ngaio and Khandallah. If you can find a place without loads of steps and decent sun (remember north facing in NZ) then Thorndon is your best bet in terms of walking into town and also close to the lovely botabical gardens. Kelburn and Wadestown are both also walk-able but are up on the hill above the city. Kelburn has a cable car which is fun and actually quite practical as a form of public transport as once you get to the top of the cable car the rest of Kelburn is quite flat. Its also a university suburb so there's quite a bit of rental accommodation - some of rather dubious quality! I live in Ngaio which is pretty good compromise of close-ish to CBD (10 min drive), good public transport (choice of train or bus) and family friendly. It probably doesn't have a vast selection of rentals though as I suspect most properties are owner-occupied. There are some though - e.g. I have diplomat friends on posting overseas at the moment who are renting their very nice family home for about $600pw.
Going a little further out but still easy commutes by train (30 mins) you could look at Paremata and Plimmerton by the beach. Johnsonville is cheaper and has a good train service (same line as Ngaio and Khandallah) but I don't find it particularly appealing as a place to live (families seem to have more older teens rather than little kids). Having said that my Mum and I have just opened a childcare centre there!!
Karori is a BIG suburb so you need to be very careful about where exactly a property is located - down the city end is fine, any much further than the shopping centre is probably too far (unless you want to keep going into lifestyle block territory like Welliemum - maybe an option for the future!)

Feel free to ask any more questions and I'll try to help. Have you looked at ? good site for rentals and also to get an idea of what you might be able to pick up some decent second hand furniture for.

buzzybee Sat 10-Jan-09 10:24:35

Oh and forgot to mention for schools in the western suburbs you can't really go wrong but if you want to read "ofsted" type reports go to and type in the name of the suburb (e.g. thorndon, kelburn etc). Most are Decile 10 (highest income bracket) schools might be the odd decile 9. Actually I think that applies to most suburbs close-ish to Wellington city. I know children at Thorndon, Wadestown, Kelburn, Karori Normal, Northland, Island Bay, Brooklyn and Lyall Bay schools and all parents are pretty happy.

rebeccawilphe Fri 23-May-14 20:52:50

Hi all, my family and I (DH and 2 little ones 18months and 3 1/2) are very likely to be moving to Wellington in August/September this year. Big move and we're really nervous, but we're hoping for a better quality of life (we know that it's not necessarily less expensive in NZ, but we're hoping for a more relaxed lifestyle).

Anyway, I wondered if there are any mumsnetters based in Wellington, including anyone who's made a similar move?!



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