Watching the first of the cruise ship tourists do their rounds of the cable car, Lambton Quay and the Botanic Gardens the other day, made me realise how much of this city they miss. While a few will venture to Te Papa, fewer will go and explore the real city. Wellington is home to a burgeoning group of laneways, those small streets that give people an alternative route through a city, cutting through between busy streets and offering opportunities to create communities of small businesses, homes and places to gather.
For example, Eva Street and Leeds Street connect Dixon Street and Ghuznee Street in the city centre. This area has at various times been home to a timber yard, saw mill and Hannah’s shoe factory, which has been converted into flats and business space. Here is now home to Fix and Fogg peanut butter, The Wellington Chocolate Factory, Leeds Street Bakery, Golding’s Free Dive to name a few thriving businesses (check out an old post from 2016).
Just ‘next door’, is Egmont Street, which links Dixon and Ghuznee streets. Home to Egmont Street Eatery (what I ate for lunch there last year), and the historic Young’s Chemical Company Warehouses. Every time I walk down there I see something different, and really need a trip there soon just to see what is going on and perhaps eat at Egmont Street Eatery again!
Last Friday, saw the official opening up of the new Lombard Street regeneration project. Linking Manners Street and Victoria Street, it connects different parts of the central city. Part of the area includes a small park, Denton Park, which is also being revitalised, forming a mini green oasis in the centre of the city. This part of Wellington, between Cuba Street and Victoria Street also once formed part of the original shoreline, which is quite fascinating considering how far it is from the current waterfront (you can read about the reclaimed land here).
Despite the damp weather last Friday, there were quite a lot of people tasting coffee, trying out samples from Pickle and Pie, a new deli, and just having a look. There is still some development work going on, but it looks like this part of town has a lot of potential – there is even a rumour that a gin distillery is interested in moving in.
I have to say, that personally I was most interested in Pickle and Pie, having read good reviews of the place. Luckily for me, they were handing round sample platters of mini cheese toasties topped with bread and butter pickle and mini Ruben sandwiches, made with their own pastrami. These were so good, and I probably had more than my fair share…so I bought a large jar of dill pickles (which I had also tasted).
So should you find yourself in the best little capital in the world, then walk a little further than the cable car, and see a bit more of what the city has to offer. You may be surprised.
Oh and check out 17 Things Only a Wellingtonian Says from The Residents for more on the people who live in New Zealand’s capital city. And yes, a lot of these things I have certainly said….
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