Gem of the capital over the hill

Kilbirnie is a colourful, quirky, multi-cultural suburb of Wellington. PHOTOS: BRUCE MUNRO
Kilbirnie is a colourful, quirky, multi-cultural suburb of Wellington. PHOTOS: BRUCE MUNRO
Think you know Wellington because you’ve shopped Cuba St and been to Te Papa? Give the capital cone another lick for a taste of Kilbirnie, writes Bruce Munro.

Visitors to Wellington know the suburb east of the airport is Miramar, home to Weta Workshop. But on the other side of the airstrip, bounded by the harbour and the Hataitai slopes of Mt Victoria, is undiscovered, quirky, colourful, multicultural Kilbirnie.

It is a completely different, refreshing take on the windy city. Here, real people go about their business just 7km, but a million miles, from the bustle of Beehive bureaucrats.

A wander along Coutts St is a gastronomic global tour. Feel like Argentinian empanadas, Persian kebabs, Kiwi fish’n’chips or Indian dishes fresh from the tandoor? Perhaps you want to stock up on ingredients from the large Spice Emporium.

Helen Neonakis opened A Taste of Greece, in Kilbirnie, seven years ago after being made redundant...
Helen Neonakis opened A Taste of Greece, in Kilbirnie, seven years ago after being made redundant at the age of 50. She now has her own thriving Greek empire in miniature.
Don’t miss A Taste of Greece, a small cafe and shop stuffed with an amazing array of fresh Greek foods, imported products, ready-to-eat meals, deli goods, Greek Orthodox religious items and sweet treats including halva and ouzo.

If you have the op-shop bug, Kilbirnie is the place to indulge your addiction. There are three centrally located second-hand stores were you can hunt in earnest for a bargain blouse, some ’60s glass or an early edition paperback.

At the far end of Kilbirnie’s Onepu Rd is scenic Lyall Bay.
At the far end of Kilbirnie’s Onepu Rd is scenic Lyall Bay.
Finish by dipping your toes in the waters of Cook Strait. It’s not technically Kilbirnie, but the suburb’s main drag, Onepu Rd, goes straight to the sand and sea at Lyall Bay. In fact, it is only a few minutes’ bus ride or a 1km stroll away; an ideal way to end your Kilbirnie encounter.

 

 

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