CHARACTER housing and strong COMMUNITY on the city edge
Situated on the south western fringe of downtown, Aro Valley hosts an eclectic mixture of young and older professionals, unemployed bohemians, and plenty of students. Fully renovated character homes stand alongside unrenovated student hovels. Everyone tends to ‘get-along’ as there is a strong community spirit, unified by the compact but eclectic shopping strip. The area is a short, level walk into downtown and a regular bus service helps on the worst days of winter.
Ideal suburb for?
Liberal achievers, students, music/art/culture fans. Those wanting to live close to the city in a character home but can’t afford Mt Victoria prices.
Aro Valley is one of the most diverse Wellington suburbs, in relation to age groups and occupations. The area is well known for its student population, due to its proximity to Victoria University. The area is also popular with liberal professionals who seek out renovated and unrenovated character homes. There are also a number of older residents who have lived in the valley all their lives. Most homes have small sections and thus the area is not very popular with young families who need more outdoor space.
Your typical Aro Valley home is a single or two storey timber villa, erected in the period 1880 to 1930. Many retain original features like timber staircases and floors, sash windows and high ceilings. A resurgence in interest from the mid 1980’s led to a large number of homes being renovated, retaining character features while updating bathrooms and kitchens to modern standards. There remain a number of unrenovated homes, mostly owned by long-term landlords and rented to students. These are popular when offered to the market as they have good potential for capital growth.
Aro Valley has a small shopping area situated half way up Aro Street. Included is a small supermarket, two cafes, bakery, and a popular video/DVD store. The shops are typically run by local people and this adds to the independent feel and vibrancy of the area.
Te Aro School is a primary school (years 0-8, ages 5-12) situated on The Terrace, a short walk from Aro Street. The nearest secondary school is Wellington High School, about 10-15 minutes easy walk to the east.
There are some interesting walks in Aro Valley. Polhill Gully contains both walking and mountain biking tracks, running from the top of Aro Street, up through the Town Belt and toward Brooklyn. Central Park borders Aro Valley to the east and can be accessed off Ohio Road or Brooklyn Road. Aro Park on Aro Street was once known as a hangout for the homeless and alcoholics, but has been tidied up in recent years and is now a popular spot for locals to meetup.
Aro Valley was considered a cheap and rather undesirable suburb for many years, by inner city standards. However, the area has grown in popularity since the mid 1980’s due to the character housing stock and handy location. Two storey villas remain the most prominent and popular choice here. Any property with a large section (say over 400m2) is snapped up by developers who then subdivide and build townhouses. Aro Valley will probably always play second fiddle to the more popular and salubrious central city suburbs of Mt Victoria (sunnier) and Thorndon (closer to Parliament).
Maarama Crescent - elevated above the valley floor with city and harbour views
Boston Street - more of a private lane than a proper street, away from the noise of Aro Street
Aro Street - for those that enjoy people spotting and don’t mind the passing traffic noise
Aro Valley is sunnier on its southern flank. Be wary of any natural objects or structures on the northern side of any site as they are likely to create shade. This can be much worse in winter when the sun is further north. Those homes higher up on the north facing hillsides (e.g Maarama Crescent) can get a lot more wind than those on the valley floor.