Wellington, New Zealand Report of what it's like to live there - 06/10/19
Personal Experiences from Wellington, New Zealand
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No. I have also lived in Spain.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
East coast of the US. It takes forever and two days to get here. I flew to CA, then Sydney and then here.
3. How long have you lived here?
About eight months now.
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
I have a very big apartment right in the city. Most families live outside the city in what seem to be very nice homes. I take the bus in and that takes about 30 minutes +/- and I walk home which takes about 40-45 minutes. (But I don't usually walk fast.)
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
You can get anything and everything here. The paper towels are not great, for some reason, and everything is expensive.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Probably nothing. Amazon and DPO makes everything available.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Every kind of food you can imagine. It's all here.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
DPO is great.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
It would not be cheap, I'd imagine.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Just like being at home.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
I don't believe so.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Safe and affordable.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
I'd buy here. There are tons of used cars for sale. Japanese cars are the norm. I understand that it's difficult and expensive to retrofit a US car to their standards but I have not tried.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
High speed internet is widely available and easy to get. No issues.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Unlocked phone with local provider.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?
All of the typical ones. Shelters, hospitals, and NGOs.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
We don't have a Med Office but there are doctors' offices all around.
2. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
3. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?
Nothing that I've heard of.
4. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?
This may well be. I am just entering my first winter here and I hear it's very gray.
5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Typical seasons that I was used to, just upside down. The summer was spectacular: no humidity, comfortable temps. Loved it. The housing does not have AC but I never missed it and I'm usually all about it.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
I don't know that there is an expat community, per se. Everyone can just meld in with the locals.
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
All the usual MeetUps.
3. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
Very! Super open and welcoming society.
4. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?
Seems easy enough. No prejudices that I know about.
5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
I haven't been here long but there is gorgeousness everywhere you turn. NZ is famous for its breathtaking landscapes and that is for a reason.
6. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
People buy greenstone (Maori) pieces and lots of wool.
7. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
It's easy, beautiful, the weather is very often fantastic, you can buy whatever you need.
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
That the embassy itself doesn't have a sense of community.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
Car. Any furniture as the houses are 'densely' furnished. Lots of stuff.
4. But don't forget your:
TSP. You can burn a lot of money traveling around the islands.