At work in Wellington, when I mentioned we were moving to Featherston, I sensed an undertone in people's reactions that as a non-local I could not place. I even started to have doubts, but then Rachel said, don't worry. It's not like it used to be. I have mates who live there and they love it.
Featherston is close to Wellington but a world away mainly due to the Remitaka Hill :)
Featherston is the first town in Wairarapa, coming over the Rimutakas from Wellington.
The first time we went over the Rimutakas, the mountain range above Wellington, we drove right past Featherston to Martinborough, a 15-minute drive. That's where most tourists go because of the vineyards. Or they continue north to Greytown with lots of quaint shops.
But Featherston had large sections and beckoned more and more. Mostly because it had a station and was only an hour's train ride away from Wellington city. The last stop before the tunnel through the Rimutakas which lasted about 7 minutes.
The houses were a lot cheaper than in the other towns and we liked the wide streets and the Featherston shops and cafés. Uli and Dean were running the Royal as a restaurant and pub. The whole town had a good, friendly vibe. So we bought a house in 2008, had it done up and moved over.
And then we experienced the gales... 140k an hour or even more. We could expect these about 14 days a year my friend Chris said. And the most amazing thing was our house had been built so well to survive the wind. The wind rolled over it. After the first stormy night we were surprised to see our bits and pieces on the verandah had not even moved.
Start to shine
We saw Featherston start to shine through the years and we got to feel quite proud about our town. So some six years later when thinking about an outing for our team at work, we chose Featherston.
We went to an award winning olive grove Olea Estate, where we enjoyed an amazing lunch supplied by the superb cheese shop C'est cheese, walked around the shops and raised our glasses at the Royal before they boarded the only train back on Sundays, I think I can fairly say all doubts about living in Featherston had vanished.