Just recently, Wellington was again declared the most liveable city in the world. Like many Wellingtonians, I can’t help but to feel proud that I am actually living in a place that has grabbed such a title. I believe it is worthy of the accolade.
This is the second year running that Wellington topped the global survey conducted by the Deutsche Bank that compared up to 50 cities in terms of levels of pollution, cost of living, climate, purchasing power, safety, health care, traffic and housing affordability.
While most are happy about the news, some remain skeptical. When I asked one of my colleagues what she thought about it she replied, “Seriously? How come? ” She has lived in Wellington all her life.
There was also a comment in FB thread that focused on traffic congestion at peak hours questioning the legitimacy of the title given to this cool little capital. Sigh!
Questionable or not, Welly is a beautiful place. My husband and I have lived here for almost eight years now … a lot shorter than my colleague but long enough to know the differences from other places where we resided or visited. The fact too that we’ve stayed here for nearly a decade means that our feet are getting more glued to its ground. We used to have plans to keep moving to places until we’ve seen the world, then settle back to NZ but somehow Welly has some kind of magnet that gravitates us.
Welly has the features of a big city in a petite space, thus it is popularly known as a compact metropolis. There is a concentration of world class restaurants, cafes, bars, accommodations and shops in the CBD that is charmingly ringed by harbours and slopes attired with thick bushes. It also houses NZ’s national museums and other interesting galleries. Just thrust a little bit away from the city and you will be welcomed by environs with a village feel and suburbs with its own shops and other amenities. Within fifteen minutes or so, there is a rather appealing transition from a city to rural landscapes.
There is something for everyone here in Welly. If you love the outdoors and want to do a walk or a hike, there are plenty of places to go to in and around the town which can be reached in just minutes. Welly boasts its own great walks in the Red Rocks, Botanical Garden, Mt. Kaukau, Makara Walkway, Wellington Town Belt Hikes, and Mt. Victoria Loop. The list can go on if you want to explore the Greater Wellington!
If you fancy the waters, there is a myriad of activities you can do in Oriental Bay which is only a few minutes from the city. Enjoy soaking in the sun in the gorgeous Scorching Bay in the east. You can go kayaking or paddle boarding across the harbour in Days Bay in Eastbourne. If surfing is a thing of your amusement, head to the Southern part of the city to Welly’s surf beach, Lyall Bay. If exploring the marine life through scuba diving interests you, Island Bay can definitely give you loads of fun. By all means, you can also go fishing, sailing, swimming, diving and more in Welly’s waters. Well of course, if weather permits. Certainly on good days, Wellingtonians know so well that nothing beats Wellington!
More than its delightfully attractive physical features, you will find friendly people in Welly, too. Go out from the enclosure of where you are to the streets or parks or supermarkets and you will get some smiles or warm greetings from good-souled-Wellingtonians. Undeniably, there are those who are less than friendly but don’t worry, their species is rare. And oh, have you ever heard some drivers giving you their how-do-you-do greetings when you hop in their bus and most passengers singing out their “thank yous” when they alight from it?
When I saw the news article about Welly as the most liveable city, I wasn’t surprise at all. Beyond the overwhelming sense of pride that brimmed the heart is the feeling of gratitude that I live in a place that makes me always feel “I’m home”. I live in a kind of environment where I drink clean water, I breathe fresh air, I speak my mind, I get help when I need to, I feel secured, and at peace knowing that no guy in the street or in the mall or in school or in any crowded place will draw out a weapon to hurt other people. What I and other Wellingtonians (and New Zealanders in general) are luxuriating in may perhaps be just a dream for many people in some parts of the world where poverty is widespread, freedom is curtailed, where security means arming one’s self with a rifle, civil unrest is a daily enterprise or where smog instead of clean air is breathed.
Indeed, there is no place in the world that is without any problem. Welly, too, is not completely chargeless from a statistics of infractions and misdemeanors committed by few of its people. Nonetheless, I can always claim that it is an ideally peaceful place.
Maybe next year, the Most Liveable City title will be grabbed by other cities that ranked after Wellington this year. It doesn’t matter. Maybe, all Wellingtonians just need to enjoy the title while it lasts and be thankful that our city can offer us the best that life has to offer.
The traffic congestion at peak times is not bad at all. Seriously.