When I was initially asked about doing this blog about Johnsonville I thought crikey - what will I write about? It's just an average suburb right? Well Johnsonville is an average suburb and like most suburbs comes with its own quirks and foibles so read through this list, contributed to by people in your community and remember why you live here.
1. Location Location Location
Only 10 minutes to the city and a gateway to the Kapiti coast, Johnsonville is perfectly positioned to get the best of all worlds. Easily commutable or to pop in and out whenever you need to, the Wellington CBD is far enough away to reduce your house prices and come home to a quieter pace yet so close you can be at a waterfront restaurant or meet friends for coffee within 15 minutes. Heading South for 10 minutes can get you to Plimmerton for fish 'n chips on the beach, 10 more can get you to the glorious Pukerua Bay. A vibrant, cultural city as well as beaches, views, walks practically on your doorstep - unbeatable.
2. The Food Shopping
Yes we have 2 Supermarkets that are the same (not actually sure what that's all about) making sure we don't have to leave the suburb for our weekly shopping but its what else we have is interesting to me.
Two Asian food marts ensures authentic asian food can be cooked by the whole of Jville( just seeing what's on the shelves in these stores is worth a look! ) while Commonsense Organics supplies us with a fantastic range of sustainable fair trade, allergy aware, organic food and products and the award winning Nada Bakery (a personal favourite) has fresh bread and homemade cakes - mmm custard squares!
The local Sunday Market at Johnsonville School is hugely popular for fresh fruit and veg and where I hear Mr Tontory's special teriyaki sauce is a must.
I would welcome a chocolatier to the neighbourhood but other than that - I'm covered!
3. The Schools
Here we are so very lucky. Great schools, walking distance from home, amazing teachers, happy children, committed boards. Our children can attend their primary, secondary and high school all in the same community, each promoting the same values and emphasis on learning. I know many families come to the area for the quality of our schools.
4. The Transport
I don't know if this is good or bad but my teenagers haven't even bothered to get car licences - they don't need to. We have a bus stop outside our door that takes them straight into the city. The trains go straight to the Cake Tin for sports games or concerts. As a mum this is great for not worrying late at night and and limits the running around I have to do. You mums of preteens will come to love this, your unpaid taxi driver days will not be over but will be alleviated somewhat. An easy commute with regular buses and trains with the trains having the added bonus of not missing your stop if you fall asleep!
Johnsonville has great walks and really well used by all ages. Old coach road is a favourite, originally built between 1856 - 1858 for farmers and early settlers, it's still well used for exercise and escape just watch out for the cow pats. The other popular walk is to Mt KauKau and the northern walkway via Truscott ave entrance. A pleasant but steep walk through mature bush to great views. The northern walkway itself is a day trip but fun this shortcut is only an hour return and very enjoyable.
6. The Glow Worms
I hear we have them. I have not seen them. Those that know are keeping quiet...
7. The Playgrounds
Have you seen the rope park off Kipling street? It is so cool and officially the largest rope playground in NZ. The new playground at Memorial Park is also pretty great and a nice place to stop with the kids, especially if you have just dragged them round the shopping mall.
8. The People
We are diverse demographic in ages, interests and ethnicity which makes for a very interesting community. A stroll through the shopping centre shows just how diverse we all are. I love the intergenerational and multicultural aspect of Johnsonville and the strong community we have built. Having been involved in sport, church, business and school groups it never fails to impress me how much time and commitment is given by so many to contribute to this community.
So that's 8 things to love about Johnsonville - it's a good list. A list to make you happy with the choices you have made for you and your family. Sometimes we don't notice or take for granted what we have, how well we actually live and what is on our doorstep. As a turbulent year of unrest around the world draws to a close it's a good time to reflect on how blessed we are in the community we live.