Wondering what your thoughts are on living in Auckland vs Wellington. Which aspects of either city do you identify with? We have been intending to live around Auckland, but I cannot discount Wellington. I have spent some time wandering around both cities but could not arrive at a definitive preference. I really liked the pulse of Auckland, and it seemed very multi-cultural. I wonder if new immigrants such as ourselves would find Auckland's resources beneficial. It would seem that if there is something to be had, it could be found in Auckland. I loved how clean the city seemed, how the parks like Albert and the Domain nestled in amongst the city. I wonder if the multicultural facet promotes a greater acceptance of immigrants. If one believes expatexposed, once we leave the city native born Kiwis will be insult-full and mean. While I do think that's an exaggeration, I do wonder if Auckland would be "friendlier" while we are integrating into the Kiwi way. An advantage I find to Auckland is that it's easier for visiting family, in that it would ease an already long (20 hour) journey. It would eliminate an additional flight to somewhere else in NZ in a prop plane or small jet.

Wellington seems to have its own special flavor. It reminds me more of Boston in the way the streets are haphazardly arranged and congested. It seems more hilly around the edges. The houses seem to sprout out of the surrounding hills. I even saw some houses that sported one man ski lift type contraptions to take the owner from the driveway up to the house. I have heard that Wellington's weather is rather unsettled and windy, although it was ok when I was there. If Auckland is a multi-cultural center, then Wellington seemed more of a cultural center, maybe owing to the Te Papa museum. Wellington also seemed to have more visible reminders of the past, one example being the fantastic Bolton Park. The people seemed less varied and seemed to walk a bit faster than Aucklanders, as if they all had some business meeting to get to. Living in Wellington would offer the practicality of visiting the south island more often. (Although I'm not sure I'd take the ferry)

As a bonus, we've considered Nelson. I didn't visit myself, my wife did previously. I have heard it's the city even Kiwis want to live in. The pictures and field guides seem to show a nice clean tidy small city. Hey if Don and Angela could do it, why couldn't we? I'm not sure, but there are parts of us that would like nothing better than to disappear to a small quaint out-of-the-way friendly city like Nelson, with its friendly people and perfect weather (and art festivals). But would we miss the "city lights"? We don't know yet. I always want to be in the small town, but after a while there I miss the big town. I know that the first year in NZ is make or break and can be stressful, and I wonder if Nelson would be too radical as the initial desitination.

What do you think?

We have two toddlers, so if you have any child-centric thoughts I'd be happy to hear them.