Auckland

Auckland City on a good day

Last weekend I was in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. It’s population is approximately 1.5 million. That’s almost a third of the total for the country. Nevertheless, over the last decade or four, I’ve spent very little time there, seldom paying more than a cursory glance as I’ve passed through on my way elsewhere. Until now. Now some of our special people have moved there. And so we have begun to explore the city.

And as I’m sure you’ll have guessed, although Auckland might be large by New Zealand standards and although it has all that dazzles and glisters, I’m still me –  it was the ordinary that caught my eye.

Come with me as I amble along Karangahape Road (better known as K road) through Myers Park, down Queen Street to the waterfront and you’ll see what I mean.

One thing hasn’t changed from my time in Auckland, during one summer back in the late seventies, and that’s the street art. Yay to the bird for breaking free, I say.

Street art, near K Road, Auckland, New Zealand.

Street art, near K Road, Auckland, New Zealand.

Although the street art is till there, K road is radically different. It’s gone up market. Where are the strip joints, the prostitutes, the people living on the street, the run down bus stops?

Gone to dust, everyone?

This bus stop is seriously flash!

Bus shelter, K Road, Auckland, New Zealand

Bus shelter, K Road, Auckland, New Zealand

But all is not lost. This barber shop is just the sort I’d expect to find here, complete with the promise of refunded hair. And just maybe the two barbers, John and Tim, who cut hair every day for more than thirty years in this very shop are indeed life wise – the other small sign in the window announces they have retired.

Barbers Shop, K Road, Auckland, New Zealand

Barbers Shop, K Road, Auckland, New Zealand

We wandered through an arcade, down some steps, through Myers Park, and past a replica of Michelangelo’s Moses. There were many photos that could have been taken. But it was this old building, juxtaposed against the new that caught my eye. And Ben’s.

And then I realised where I was: Greys Ave, my stomping ground for much of that long ago summer. It’s changed a lot. And so have I. For the better, both of us.

Near Greys Avenue, Central Auckland.

Near Greys Avenue, Central Auckland.

The Sky Tower is a landmark readily seen from all around Auckland. It dominated our view as we drove in to the city and it dominated the skyline during most of our walk. But once we were on Queen Street (the centre of the shopping district) it was more difficult to spot. Until I happened to look up!

Auckland Sky Tower

Auckland City Sky Tower

I have been up to the viewing platform – once. It was raining that day and I was shocked to discover that rain doesn’t fall in nice round droplets. Some things just are not natural; descending in a lift at the same speed as falling rain is a perfect example. Viewed from an external lift(!) raindrops are actually rain cylinders. This visit I was in no hurry to go up. Been there, done that, right?

Because we’re in the city, and because it’s Auckland, here’s a shot of the sky tower I took with my phone the night before.

Auckland City Sky Tower

Auckland City Sky Tower

Our small home town has a lot of buskers. Especially during the tourist season. At the moment it’s winter. But one gentleman is on our main street nearly every day with his piano accordion. He’s good, that man. But he doesn’t have the same pizazz as a fire juggler! This act was all over in a flash but what a show.

Street entertainer, Queen Street, Auckland

Street entertainer, Queen Street, Auckland

At the bottom of Queen Street we checked out Britomart, Auckland’s solution to motorway congestion. Hmm – I saw only five platforms. What’s more when we arrived in the city, the day before, the dense traffic reminded me of Bangkok.

Soon we were at the waterfront. There weren’t many people around but we found a bar. In fact we had the choice of several.

Near the ferry terminal, Auckland waterfront

Near the ferry terminal, Auckland waterfront

The drink was welcome, the view constantly changing. That’s Auckland Harbour bridge in the distance.

Auckland waterfront

Auckland waterfront

And when I got tired of the view, there was George. Perhaps, I should have tried the coffee.

Auckland City waterfront

Auckland City waterfront

It was a good day: WP photo challenge 

For more walks from around the world visit Jo. She’s in Bristol this week.

45 replies »

  1. Sorry about the long wait, Jill. You just missed me 🙂 I don’t have internet in the Algarve which is a mercy because it’s a distraction I like being without, for short periods. The world goes on without me, right? 🙂 Enjoyed our little introductory ramble and many thanks for thinking of me.

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  2. Excellent post, Jill! There is so much of New Zealand big city downtown – only a native could do that! Thanks so much! Congratulations for the addition of the dynamic top of your blog! Excellent! 🙂

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      • Hi Jill! I only hear good things about Auckland. I only know the airport. I am looking forward to seeing your next posts from there. And the slider gives even more life to a superb blog! Thanks very much and take care! 🙂

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  3. Ha, ha – I love this. I was thinking while I was reading through your great descriptions and photos that this place is similar to Seattle…and then I get to your last shot and that is the exclamation point 🙂

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  4. Love seeing Ak through new eyes. K Road has gone upmarket for sure, on the surface, but homelessness has got so much worse, and I think moved towards the Symonds Street end of the road now that there are all the flash new apartments at the Ponsonby end. Hope you enjoyed your trip to the ‘smoke.

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    • Hi Su, I saw homeless people on Queen Street – during both my recent visits. (I was back up your way again this last weekend – a work trip). We have problems with homelessness here, too, but it’s less obvious. I certainly did enjoy my trip to the big smoke. I’ve scratched the surface now and i’m keen to explore more!

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      • Homelessness has become so much more prevalent — and Queen Street at night has become a very sad place. I still love exploring parts of the city that are unfamiliar, or part of my distant past. My real issue at the moment is that perfect storm of lousy public transport from where I live and lack of parking both in town and at the bus stations. Sigh!

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  5. Thanks for the lovely trip around Auckland, Jill. The Sky Tower looks amazing and is one of the first things we see every New Year as the Fireworks to welcome in the New Year start to fire off. I’m guessing the climate is pretty like it is here in the UK?

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  6. My word K Road has changed so much. Up market, what a shame it had so much character but I suppose the city fathers decided to clean it up. Jack has many stories of that area when we lived in Auckland in the 1980’s I haven’t been back in that part of town since we left so it was interesting to see your photos. Have you been to the new art gallery yet? It is an amazing building.https://pommepal.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/weekly-photo-challenge-inside-auckland-art-gallery/

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    • The art gallery is on my list for the next visit, Pauline. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy your virtual tour. I was really surprised at how much K Road had changed but from Su’s comment above I think we were at the more pluty end.

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    • I agree with you Jill, especially as we have just had one of the wettest summers on record, not to mention that it has also been one of the coolest.

      Have you ever visited the far south of the South Island in your part of the world?

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      • Yes, Hugh, I’ve been as far south as Bluff, which is the most southerly point of the South Island. Bluff is famous for it’s oysters. I love them, just thinking about them sets my mouth watering! And I’ve been to Cape Reinga which is the most northerly point of the North Island, too. I only got to both places in the last three or so years. They’re very different and yet have a similar sense of remoteness.

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  7. Your making me miss Auckland! K Road and Queens Street were my stomping grounds for the 1st 1/2 of 2015! Your wonderful images show me some old favorites and some new moments (e.g. The Unicyclist on Queen Street). Thanks for taking me back with your lens!

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  8. Great fun. Loved seeing the sky tower at both day and night. The fire juggler photo was delightful and i liked the street art. A diverse and interesting first look at Auckland. Thanks so much.

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    • Hello Eileen, Thank-you so much for visiting and commenting. The fire-juggler was incredibly well coordinated. He had the small children in the crowd entranced … as well as those of us who are larger and older but still children at heart.

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  9. I didn’t spend much time in Auckland but it seems to be a very small city (at least the centre is) a sort of mini Sydney even with its harbour bridge! I liked the area around the waterfront, good restaurants there and those red railings and lamps are amazing! Are they Victorian?

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