There’s an indescribable pleasure in revisiting one’s old hometown and bringing to mind youthful memories triggered by familiar landmarks and scenes. Our capital city at the centre of Middle Earth still manages to surprise me.

I love the fact that when the weather is ‘trying’ in the sense of rain, hail or gales, the locals will say, “she’ll be right, it’s OK, you can’t beat Wellington on a good day.” Well, there are 2000 hours of sunshine each year – a little more than Auckland and 30 per cent more than London.

I grew up in Kilbirnie on the low-lying isthmus between Lyall and Evans bays where historians believe Captain Cook sailed through the channel to enter the harbour of Te Whanganui-a-Tara. The area around the present airport runway was sand dunes as recently as the 1940s.

Four decades ago I moved to Auckland and have since made a number of trips to the capital. By pure chance, every return trip has been on one of those perfect ‘unbeatable’ Wellington days when the harbour is a millpond sparkling in the brilliant sunshine and still, cool air.

A model of the old cable car fills Wellingtonians with pangs of nostalgia

There are things that I miss about the capital. Mostly the convenience and compactness of the city centre. Commuting from the suburbs takes 20 minutes. The CBD is tailor-made for walking. There are great shops, restaurants, cafes and vibrant art and cultural scene. This city is full of creators, thinkers, dreamers, doers, and lovers of life.

As a lover of the outdoors, I enjoyed the south coast fishing and diving spots just ten minutes down Happy Valley from our childhood home, and the beautiful tramping and hunting forests of the Tararua Ranges were only an hour up the Hutt Valley. Fine swimming and surfing beaches were a little further north on the Kapiti Coast.

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