Voting in the Fourth Annual Wellingtonista Awards is open from December 1-15. Then come find out the results at our Awards Night at Mighty Mighty on December 17!

To vote, visit this page.

Sure, the city centre is hip and happening, but sometimes it’s fun to take a trip out to the suburbs – well, as long as you’re visiting one of these places anyway!

Otari-Wilton Bush: Super-easy to get to on the no. 14 bus from town, Otari-Wilton’s Bush is a hidden (and free) gem. There’s botanic gardens – all native; a canopy walkway for checking out the kerer?; and hundreds of acres of bush to wander through with the occasional clearing for resting your legs and taking in the sun. When you get tired of that, have a barbecue down by the creek (though apparently the council-supplied barbecues are being fixed at the moment). While you’re there, keep an eye on the (avian) birdlife: there’s increasing and varied spillover from the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary up the valley. Rumour has it that a pair of kaka nested here last summer, which would be big news indeed if it you could confirm it.

Empire Cinema: Not another semi-art house cinema in the ‘burbs. But it’s a blimmin’ nice one. But how does the Empire beat those other suburban arthouse cinemas? Original architecture, big comfy couches (perfect for snuggling couples or meeting new people), a decent sound system and delicious gelato make for a brilliant experience – especially since you don’t have to pay for the parking either.

Maranui Cafe: Ah, Maranui! Even in your temporary absence, we salute you. This cafe/destination brought life back to Lyall Bay. The adults could sip their coffee while watching the tykes get their life-saving skills honed at the surf club’s Nippers programme. The suburban destination was a town square of sorts for coasters of all ages. Tradesmen’s Tuesdays guaranteed a supply of builder types, the Weta-ites would duck out for coffees and the Freddies dedicated a song to the camel kids’ ride. We await your return with bated breath.

The Gipsy Kitchen: When Peter Jackson’s private chef opens his own deli in the middle of some "where’s that?" suburb, you know you’re on to a good thing that not too many people are going to find out about too quickly. The Gipsy Kitchen in Strathmore (just before the Seatoun tunnel, down a side street between an op shop and a Greek Orthodox church) is the perfect weekend refuge. There’s great coffee from Matty Buchanan (ex Mighty Mighty), who’ll bring a smile to your face, incredibly delicious sweet treats (anyone for rhubarb scone smothered in caramel sauce?), ham off the bone, soups and pies to take home, a huge range of cheese, organic eggs…

Jackson Street: Time was we only ventured out here to visit Wanda Harland, but these days Jackson Street is so much more! The Dom Post called it the new Ponsonby, which made us cringe. But, really, with its boutiques, antique shops and excellent cafes – not to mention the great drinking water – we’d happily accept Petone as part of Wellington and pretend it’s not really in the Hutt.