So I'm not a novice at NZ, as the the customs guy told us when we left "3 years, you're almost one of us". Those words have stuck with me everyday since leaving, as I've never encountered such a welcoming place.

Now that my oldest is preschool age and I'm expecting another I realize there's nowhere I want to raise a family quite like NZ.

But where to live
Wellington, more home than where I grew up, but the building standards+ earthquakes+nonchalance about said earthquake state(33% of standard) means I'm not comfortable there
Auckland: I've only spent a few weeks there, but it's always felt the least Kiwi of NZ. Too much traffic(that isn't sheep), too many people, too costly real estate
Christchurch: we liked our month there, but again, the earthquake risk. That and I'm not sure it's in the thick of nature enough.

Deep down we really only want Wanaka(who doesn't), but I want to be rational. Our other thought is inland cantebury so we have access to mountains, coast, and an airport.

What's life in Wanaka and/or the region like?

Mind you, my hobbies are: growing vegs, brewing beer, cycling, snowboarding, running, hiking, photography