Did I mention Wellington enjoys status as New Zealand’s political capital too? Whilst the same may not be said about its resident politicians, this city is full of soul. A soul singing in tune to the latest musical at its many live theatres; a soul fed by rich culinary wares offered by the diverse ethnic community, and a soul that might just sport full-arm tattoos, a nose piercing and a different black leather jacket for every night of the week

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but sometimes I refer to Wellington as the “Freak Capital of New Zealand”. It’s a joke, and a reference to the fact that this city embraces personal differences. I think this lends it to housing a number of groups that some call ‘sub-cultures’; groups of creative people that feel free, here in Wellington, to look and do different from the mainstream populous. It’s sweet as though, Wellington will love you either way, and it’s this acceptance of diversity that makes me love Wellington too, and possibly why it is often compared with Australia’s Melbourne.

You’ll see a real range of Wellingtonians on any given day. Soldiers of the corporate army marching down Lambton Quay on the way to breakfast briefings; disordered, musos waking late and fluttering between Newtown’s funky cafes; skaters compromising park benches (and their kneecaps) during the rad inner afternoon, and gothic-looking couples, mascara matching, sauntering hand in hand up Cuba St Mall choosing where to enjoy a dark chocolate dessert as the sun sinks. It’s all quite romantic I guess, and it shows how Wellington really offers something for everyone’s tastes, no matter how varied (or depraved…) they may be.

As darkness descends, Wellington’s bars and clubs awaken. Being back in a large city (okay, by New Zealand standards) it’s time for us to experience some urban kiwi culture. A group of us head out for a cheap Malaysian dinner, and follow it with a tour of my favourite freaky off-the-beaten-track Wellingtonian bars. It reads like the start of a joke really – An American, a Spaniard, an Italian, a Dutchees some Brits and a Kiwi go out for dinner … at a Mayalsian restaurant!

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