2AWA: Best Suburban Venue
It probably wouldn’t be an unfair call to say that the Wellingtonista focuses most of its attentions on the inner city, despite the fact that some of us live out in the wilds, like Hataitai, Karori and Petone. But that doesn’t mean we’re not aware that there are many awesome things going on outside of Te Aro, and so this category is all about paying tribute to them.
Good things happen in the suburbs too, honest â€“ like this place:
Places after the jump…
A. Elements â€“ Lyall Bay
While last year’s suburban winner, the Maranui Surf Cafe is constantly overflowing with people queuing down the stairs, and the service is rushed, there’s a place three minutes away from the beach where you’re pretty certain to get a table, great service and delicious food. You’ll be able to spread out a newspaper (which they always have plenty of copies of), drink the good coffee and try to decide if you feel like toasted coconut bread with marscapone or perhaps bubble’n squeak for lunch.
As an added rare bonus, they’re BYO as well as licensed, which makes for a good dinner (but you’ll need to book), and also offer cooking classes. It’s no wonder that at least two Wellingtonistas are very very frequent visitors.
B. TheNewDowse â€“ The Hutt
TheNewDowse opened its doors in February this year, with a pretty stonkingly good month-long party beginning with Hollie Smith and ending with Craft2.0. Since opening they’ve brought some stunning exhibitions to Wellington, like The Droog, Becoming King Kong which took us behind the scenes at Weta Workshop and currently Philip Treacy’s Hats for Isabella Blow (an exhibition of hats that are beyond belief). With great art comes great food and drink at Reka Cafe, which helps ease the early morning pain of setting up for Craft2.0. Finally, TheNewDowse is special because you can catch the bus service from Wellington to TheNewDowse without really setting foot in The Hutt at all!
C. Mediterranean Food Warehouse â€“ Newtown
One of the Wellingtonista’s favourite things to do on a weekend is to head over to Newtown to spend a leisurely couple of hours at the Mediterranean Food Warehouse. Order a couple of woodfired pizzas and coffees while you read the papers.
Take a stroll around the warehouse, stocking up on spices, pastas, jarred goodies, imported baked goods and fresh cheeses. Raise your eyebrows at their selection of spirits, including artichoke liqueur (apparently it tastes nastier than death, so don’t buy a bottle – if you absolutely must sample it, you can do so at Scopa), and snarfle free samples of tasty things. Then you should be digested enough for their fantastic gelati. Mmmmmm! If they had bedrooms, we’d never leave.
D. Karori Wildlife Sanctuary â€“ Karori
What can you say about a place that has too many tuis (And for once we don’t mean beer)? The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is one of those super-cool ideas that actually got some traction, some money and then kudos (which in turn led to more money).
A Sunday stroll through the Sanctuary can net you sightings of rare Robins, endangered ducks, nesting shags, and (one of our favourites) a cheeky weka. but they don’t just do birds. No! They have endangered native fish, lizards and bats (apparently). And all of this wildlife is a five minute drive from the CBD! Normally our response to bigass fences that stretch for miles and miles is to say “You know who ELSE put up fences? The
Nazis Communists!” but when you come across a tui feasting on Molesworth Street, and hear extra bird calls in all the surrounding suburbs, you know that it’s not just Karori that’s reaping the benefits of this magical place.
E. Scorching Bay
Sure, you could go to Oriental Bay’s new(ish) beach. But on most nice days it’s a bit much of a ruck getting in there – and maybe town is just a little too close. So it’s at this point that Scorching Bay comes to mind: beautiful sandy beach; fewer people; and a fantastic cafe (Chocolate Fish – if you’re quick) just a short walk out of the water away.