Wellington, New Zealand
Clara, 22
English Literature Student
see her Wellington city guide

ask Clara about

café gourmet coffee bakery breakfast and brunch music venues cocktail bars record stores

What do you do and why do you do it?

I'm a singer-songwriter biding her time by studying English literature. I love all kinds of stories but my studies centre around female sexuality and desire, a taboo subject by all standards. I love writers like Jeanette Winterson and Eimear McBride who write so beautifully about the female sexual experience without descending into cheap gas station erotica. In saying that, at the moment I'm particularly interested in eighteenth century gothic fiction, which is basically the old-timey version of cheap erotica. Think 'Twilight' but set in feudal Italy.

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

'Paper Bag' by Fiona Apple, 'I Wish I Didn't Miss You' by Feist, 'Liability' by Lorde, 'Fool's Gold' by Amy Winehouse, 'I Know' by Fiona Apple, 'Waiting Game' by Banks, 'Sylvia's Mother' by Dr Hook, 'What I Miss About You' by Katie Melua, 'You Should Know Where I'm Coming From' by Banks, 'Where I Stood' by Missy Higgins, 'Weaker Girl' by Banks, 'Tiny Little Piece of My Heart' by Bic Runga, 'Company' by Rickie Lee Jones, 'The Last Time I Saw Richard' by Joni Mitchell, 'River Man' by Nick Drake, 'Tears Dry On Their Own' by Amy Winehouse, 'Goddess' by Banks, 'Someone New' by Hozier

What are the best TV shows of all time?

Parks and Recreation never fails to cheer me up. If I'm ever feeling low I'll use an online dice of some kind to choose a random episode and settle in for some wholesome laughs. Please Like Me is written so naturally that it feels like hanging out with friends when I'm watching it, so that's always a good call. On the less indie end of the spectrum, my guilty love of all things high fantasy puts Game of Thrones high up on my list, because who doesn't love a good flock of dragons.

Name some spots in Wellington that are good for a Tinder date.

Memphis Belle on Dixon St has mostly outside seating made up of old seventies furniture, so apart from being very trendy and making exceptional coffee, it offers an easy getaway should you need one!

Who’s your hero and where in Wellington would you take them out for a serious hang?

I absolutely adore Fiona Apple. I think she is one of the greatest songwriters of all time, and her lyrics never fail to absolutely blow my mind. I'd love to take her to a bar on Courtenay Place called The Library and settle in for a long evening of artistic discussion and possibly excited salivation on my part.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

Either extremely lucky finds in second hand shops or sales in shops I definitely cannot afford. In Wellington I love walking into Trenery and dreaming of making my fortune so I can afford something in there. Otherwise anywhere that sells nice shirts and plaid trousers has my approval.

What restaurant in Wellington looks crap, but the food’s amazing?

Americano's on Waring Taylor Street! I'm gluten-free so proper, hearty breakfast food is always a challenge, but these guys do gluten free waffles, pancakes, french toast, you name it! They do 'normal' food as well, and its pretty delicious. It's done up like the kiwi version of your classic American diner, but it's quite a treat. Get there early if you're going on the weekend as it can get pretty packed.

Where can you get the best cocktail in Wellington? Which one do you like?

I love The Library on Courtenay Place. Its wedged between a Burger Joint and a Waffle stand with only an out-of-place bouncer to indicate its presence. However, once you've convinced him that despite your youthful glow you are in fact over eighteen, you walk up some unassuming stairs to find the bar. They do impressively delicious cocktails in a dingy, lounge-y kind of bar, but best head on Wednesday night when they have a 2-for-1 deal!

What’s the one place you think is underrated in Wellington?

Enigma cafe on Courtenay Place. It's open until 3am which is unusual for this small city. Most of my nights out end here (or, if I'm feeling less energetic, start here), eating chips and affogato and chatting nonsense. It's quite dingy and the toilets are an experience to say the least, but the chips are fab and late-night gelato is always a good call.

What are the Wellington spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

A walk along the waterfront is a must. Sundays mean various market stalls outside Te Papa Museum and if it's a sunny day I'd recommend grabbing a coffee or an ice cream and wandering all the way down the waterfront, and popping into Frank Kitts Park where there's an underground market in the carpark.

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Callum Hale-Thomson