New Zealand? -- Try Her Wellington Cafes
is a member of the Journeywoman Network and a Southern Hemisphere
kind-of-gal. She's a freelance writer and photographer who
lives in Wellington, New Zealand. Jane considers herself
an expert regarding the most female-friendly cafes in her
hometown and wants to share her knowledge with visitors
to her part of the world. Jane writes...
capital city of New Zealand, has embraced the cafe culture
so whole-heartedly that it reputedly now has more cafes
per capita than New York City. For me, this means plenty
of wonderful places to head off to with a book in hand where
I can sit for several hours over a mug of coffee (or tea).
Allow me to introduce my favorites.
Overlooking the harbour, this trendy cafe serves some of
the best coffee in town and is a favorite stop for all seasons.
You'll love their roaring fire in the winter months, and
the sunny patio during the summer. However, on the weekend
lunchtimes here can get really busy. If you're after a quiet
read, I suggest you avoid stopping this time of day. P.S.
This spot was voted New Zealand's best caf� in 1997.
Address: 148 Oriental Parade. Tel: 04 939 3935
Chocolate Fish Cafe
Situated across the road from Wellington's most popular
beach, the Chocolate Fish can get crowded at weekends, especially
in the summer. However, the rest of the time, it's a great
place to relax. Its marvelous selection of ice creams is
a major attraction, as are the unusual road signs warning
you to beware of their fab waiters.
Address: 497A Karaka Bay Road, Scorching Bay. Tel: 04
Ed. note: Another bit
of info -- according to wellingtonnz.com, the Chocolate
Fish "menu is based around breakfasts (all day) and panini.
The coffee is pretty fabulous and the staff are some of
the best in town."
Eva Dixon's Place
Hidden up a side alley, a plain black door leads upstairs
to a cozy, sunny getaway. At this cafe nobody will care
if you sit all day, read every magazine they own and sip
away at their fruit teas. Woman-friendly plus! P.S. Good
music, yummy muffins -- everything made on the premises,
including the bread.
Address: 35A Dixon Street. Tel: 04 384 100
One of the trendiest cafes in town (for the yuppie set),
Brava's main appeal is its long hours of operation. This
place is open for breakfast right through till the evening
drinkers leave. The main area is often crowded, but the
secret spot with comfy sofas on the other side of the bar
is ideal for the lone reader.
Address: 2 Courteney Place Tel: 04 384 1159
For a comfortable late night coffee and snack (veggie choices
available), without the worry of being harassed by some
of the guys who've had a little too much to drink, Axolotl
is a good pick. While a solo woman traveller will want to
stay out that late, this cafe is open till 3:00am most nights
and is usually fairly quiet outside of mealtimes. An added
advantage is that each time I have been there in the evening,
the person left on night duty has been a woman.
Address: 34 Courtenay Place Tel: 04 384 3834
Finally, if you can't
live without having Starbuck's
Coffee in the AM, you need not worry.
One of their cafes is located in the historic Old Bank Arcade,
at the corner of Willis Street and Lambton Quay (it's one
of the stops on the city's circular yellow bus route). Feel
Want to do more cafe
research on your own? Check out: http://www.wellingtonnz.com.
Black -- a single shot of thick black coffee
Black -- a long, but very strong cup of black
-- a Long Black with extra hot water, for those who prefer
White -- Very strong coffee with hot milk and no foam
Cappuccino-- the traditional, one-third coffee, one-third
milk, and one-third foam
Latte -- a large cup of very milky coffee with a thin
layer of foam on top
Moccaccino -- coffee with hot chocolate instead of
For extra strength in
any of these coffees, ask for a double. For a larger size,
order a bowl. And if you want low fat milk, "skinny" seems
to be the in phrase.
New Zealand's women
Wellington, I suggest you pick up these two novels. They are
lovely reads offering excellent background material about
this part of the world. Take either one out of your daypack
and who knows what kind of interesting conversation will transpire
with the person(s) sipping coffee at the next table.
Keri Hulme's The Bone
only is Keri Hulme one of the most popular modern-day New
Zealand writers, but also her first novel, The Bone People
published in the 80's is highly acclaimed in literary circles.
Her poetic writing guides you through the mind of a woman
living alone in rural New Zealand. It is both a love story
and an insight into the recent lives of Maori, and the mystical
history that surrounds them. P.S.
After being rejected by major New Zealand publishers, Bone
People was published by a women's collective and won the prestigious
Booker Prize in 1985.
Sue McCauley's Other
Set in the early seventies this is not just a great novel,
but also a stab at a society that has forgotten people. An
older middle-class white woman falls for a young Maori street
kid. And in this story of love and growth, we watch as our
heroine is forced to accept that her people are walking around
with their eyes closed. Like Alan Duff's, "Once Were Warriors,"
we are again shown that New Zealand life is not as easy as
we like to believe.