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Thread: Aukland vs. Wellington

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Cool Aukland vs. Wellington

    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.

    Thanks,
    Dave

  2. #2
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    Nice analysis between the two cities. Here are my thoughts although I've never been to NZ before !!
    To draw an rough anology in terms of the city popularity, Auckland Vs Wellington can be roughly compared to New York Vs Washington. From what I hear and read, the migrant population are mostly epicentered in Auckland area. One of the primary reasons being the job opportunities are more in Auckland than Wellington.

    Life at Auckland is said to be busier than Wellington (ofcourse, the level of busy and stress is no where compared to what you experience in any city in the US, Europe or India) .

    I'm sure more experienced people would shed better light on this.

  3. #3
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    whilst i like auckland, a friend that lives there describes aucklanders as "economic refugees"

  4. #4
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    I personally prefer Auckland. Wellington gave me the impression of a collection of separate little villages clinging to the mountains. Auckland is a proper city, but still relaxed, in no way comparable to the energy level of London or New York City.

  5. #5
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    I'm not sure if Auckland is more multi-cultural, I had a newsletter from our local kindy today saying "our families are made up of new Zealand european, Maori, Pacific Island, Fiji, Sri Lankan, other asian, Chinese, South african, american, indian and Canadian" & this is just our suburb.
    I can't talk for Auckland,OH doesn't like it & he goes up for business so only sees the airport to CBD which is a bit far where as Wellington airport to CBD is 10 minutes maybe.
    You do have to factor in the weather, I find it OK others don't but Auckland gets more rain, but not enough to make much of a difference I bet.
    Not sure what you mean when you say you found the streets congested? Traffic wise OH has a 20-30 minute commute in the rush hour to the other end of CBD, we are 10 mins at the weekend.
    On the toddler front I have 2 aged 5 & 3 & there are tons of things for them to do in every suburb, you will never have a day free if you want it that way.
    I love it here but I'm a little afraid to go to Auckland in case I like the weather more, that would be the only reason as i do feel Wellington is more picturesque. Colleagues of my OH who live up there do say they don't like the humidity.
    The ferry crossing is OK in the summer, we did it last Jan & had a very choppy crossing on the way back, turned my stomach a bit, but 3 out of 4 have been fine, wouldn't do it out of season!
    We visited Nelson on our last holiday & loved it but not sure I would want to live there, great for a holiday though

  6. #6
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    What you like or don't like is bound to be a very personal thing. I don't think the feelings of people you don't know are necessarily going to help - !

    About humidity in Auckland, it's more pronounced more of the time in western and central areas than over on the east coast. (It also can vary quite a bit depending on surroundings and vegetation.)

    If one believes expatexposed
    Quite... IF. Not only in NZ, I think the way people treat a person has a lot to do with how that person behaves in the first place, as a newcomer arriving on their home turf.

  7. #7
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    Weather does it for me with Auckland v Wellington, I don't think I could put up with those so regular winds and cooler temperatures in the capital. I could easily live in Nelson though if work allowed it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jandm View Post
    what you like or don't like is bound to be a very personal thing. I don't think the feelings of people you don't know are necessarily going to help - !

    very true

    about humidity in auckland, it's more pronounced more of the time in western and central areas than over on the east coast. (it also can vary quite a bit depending on surroundings and vegetation.)

    stop tempting me

    quite... If. Not only in nz, i think the way people treat a person has a lot to do with how that person behaves in the first place, as a newcomer arriving on their home turf.
    very true again

  9. #9
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    Having lived in both! It does depend on personal preference!
    Wellington weather is not great you have to pick wisely where you live we have a lovely deck overlooking a reserve surrounded by hills but it was a wind tunnell we hardly sat out! Wellington is compact you can get around realtively easily. If you like beaches you need to live up on kapiti for nice ones.
    AUckland is more multi cultural, traffic is worse( althouh no where near as bad as the M1/m25 commute) its large people tend to stick to their areas they live/work in so do not get to use /see rest of it, plenty of beaches and outdoor life. It may be a super city but events etc are still eared around the old boundaries.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostonian View Post
    ...
    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.
    We moved from a town of 100K (Boulder, CO) straight to Nelson (50K) after discounting anything larger for ourselves because we aren't 'big' city compatible. People here were extremely friendly from the first moment - we were lent cookware, beds, books, etc to tide us over until our container arrived and we are still friends with many of those who we met in the first weeks. All of the neighbourhoods here (Nelson) are small enough that people usually look out for each other, so we never felt completely adrift.

    If you prioritise outdoor activities, generally mellow climate and a slower pace of life at the top of your list, then Nelson is the place; if you want broad shopping options, sophisticated night clubs or vibrant crowds of people, then Nelson isn't your place. Nelson/Tasman is a great family area with lots of recreational options, a diverse (25% immigrant) population and little sense of rushing but it isn't ideal if you are early 20's and looking for lots of things to do with others your age or if you are trying to advance up the career ladder. If you only need occasional injections of urbanism, you can be in the Wellie CBD about 1 hour after leaving Nelson, courtesy of Air NZ.

    (BTW - we do know Don & Angela but I'm not Don in disguise, despite the shared first initial and former hometown )

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