I thought for this post I would take you for a wander through west Auckland, a part of the city where I live. An area mixed with Industrial and shopping malls, giving way to tree lined residential streets, lush green parks, mountain range and vineyards. One can find much to do for the whole family.
One of the many parks well known in Auckland is the beautiful idyllic Western Springs Park great in summer for BBQ’s and picnics around the lake, as well as a play area for children. I often come here to wander around the lake here, and many people are seen jogging or women pushing prams. There are swans and ducks to feed on the lake and the park hosts the annual Pasifika Festival, where Maori, Tongan, Samoan join in a weekend of song and dance in traditional costumes. Near by are the Zoo, Museum of Transport and Technology, Chamberlain Golf Course and Western Stadium, where speed car rallies and music concerts are held.
http://www.garden-nz.co.nz/photo-gallery/6356.html (there are some beautiful photos in this website,)
The Waitakere Ranges, barely a 2minute drive from my door is a trampers or nature lovers delight. With many walks, some leading to waterfalls, lookout points, hideaway cafes and home stays ,barely a stones throw from the city, one often feels they have stepped into another world. Below on the western side are surf beaches of black and white sand attracting the fearless? To the east are paramount views of the city, its harbour and Rangitoto Island. Often you will find as you drive through the windy scenic drive, bike riders, and trampers or joggers enjoying the peace, beauty and smell of the rangers away from the busy city. There can also be found buses of tourists, or school children on nature study visits here. My hubby and I often spend a Sunday morning relaxing with coffee’s, eggs on toast admiring the view, listening to the tui chirping in the tree tops below us.
Further north along the beautiful surf beaches one can take a short walk to view gannets up close as they nest in large flocks on the side of cliff faces. At the other end of the ranges is a small village of cafes, gift and craft shops and gallery of art to view for sale. Each weekend there is a market day which attracts many people for a pleasurable shopping experience.
Not only is west Auckland known for its cafes, and ranges but also the wineries where one can sample the very best at your hearts delight. Places like “Soljans” or “Matua Valley” and “Coopers Creek” offer wine tasting, café meals in idyllic peaceful atmosphere many are drawn back to time and time again. Being a lover of white wines I am drawn to their award winning Riesling’s, and Gewürztraminer’s and their 4 star Chardonnay. Matua Valley for its distinctive award winning Sauvignon Blanc’s, not to mention all have top class reds if that is your preferred taste. I have only touched briefly on a couple of wineries although there are many situated here and I have posted some links here for you to browse. Wine festivals go from October through to March each year throughout the Auckland area. A real treat to listen to live music while sipping wine and eating delicious freshly prepared meals.
There are also many home stays around this region, and it is popular with many overseas visitors such as Germans, Swiss, French…etc taking up residence. Often festivals are held out this way such as the Kumeu Show, a family weekend of hundreds of craft stalls, competions such as wood chopping, raffels, entertainment, children and adults showing their animals (such as alpaca‘s), horse jumping, foods stalls and festive rides for the kids. Take plenty of change, for if you are like me, you will always come away with some wonderful buys.
There is also Farmers market and AMP Shows, Wine Festivals (if you wish, try your hand at foot stomping grapes) and specialty places such as “Bees On Line” providing honey sampling and a delicious café, “Crystal Mountain” (a minutes drive from home) another delicious café and like its name suggests there is a huge Crystal shop to browse or buy as well as a cave to view, and wonderland playground for kids of all ages with pet feeding and train rides. Round the corner is “MacDonald Farm” yes fantastic for kids to feed and play with farm animals and learn about them. Further a field is a Macadamia farm making and selling coffee, ice-cream, biscuits, cake to hand and foot creams, all made from macadamia nuts. Here you can also wander the orchard and relax by the huge lily pond. A lovely day out for sure.
Not to be left out the energetic will find rock climbing, paragliding, surfing, or forest trail bike riding besides tramping and other wonderful things to do.
No wonder I love this part of the country where city meets farm life, east meets west, in a space of 20 to 30 minutes one can go from coast to coast and enjoy it all. Many Europeans I have come to know, that have made New Zealand their home over the years love the relaxed life style and the ability to have the best of both worlds, enjoy this area of the city.
I have injected some websites I came across while writing this post which I think will help with giving you the ability to step, if only for a moment, into my world. Enjoy!
tēnā koutou (goodbye/farewell)
tuhi māreikura (dear/respected friends)