10 October 2011

What I Love About Where I Live

Right now I'm far from home, on the other side of the world.
From this distance its easy to find many things I love and miss about New Zealand. Its a beautiful place, after all.
The clean'n'green, the mountains and beaches, bush and countryside... what's not to love?
Of course I love to travel, and there are many beautiful spots in the world, breathtaking sights and fascinating places... but in the end there's no place like Home.

I've been gone a while now, so I thought I'd give myself a little piece of home and write about why I love where I live.
And then I thought I'd invite you to join me.
Write a post on what you love about your town (or country).
Introduce us to where you live... and then link up.

So here's What I Love About Where I Live...

Wynyard Quarter, Auckland Viaduct

I've traveled enough to know that in comparison to the world's great cities, Auckland is really a small town. And I like it like that. We don't have millions of people living in high-rises. Most of us live in stand-alone homes with a garden.

Volcanic cones, Mt Eden & One Tree Hill
There are sheep grazing on One Tree Hill and cows up Mt Eden, for goodness sake! Where else in the world do you find that? How many high schools in London or New York have a fully-operational farm on-site? Well my local high school does. In the middle of central Auckland.

City Centre, Britomart Station, Quay and Queen Streets

Auckland is small enough that when we go to the Mall, we will almost always bump into friends.

Auckland is large enough to host big concerts {like U2 and Katy Perry}and major sporting events {like the Rugby World Cup Final}... but small enough that I know my neighbours over the fence.

Rainbow's End

And along with this small-town feel we also get the benefit of all the amenities that go with living in a larger population. Awesome libraries. Big concerts. Great shopping, cafes, restaurants, schools. Rainbows End might not be Disneyland or MovieWorld, but the kids don't care.

To me, Auckland has the best of both worlds.

School Assembly

You could say that Auckland is a melting pot of the world's people. Not many places in Auckland are mono-cultural. Some see this is a bad thing. Me, I like it. My kids rub shoulders with children of different colours. Children who speak a little differently and who come from all over the world. They learn how to get on and respect others who are different from them.

Our class photos look like an advertisement for the United Nations... and yet... brown, black, pink, yellow and white, these youngsters stand to sing the national anthem at assembly, in Maori, English and Sign Language and they know it off by heart. Their singing sends shivers down your spine. They chant, "Aue, Aue, Aue-ah! Nga Tamariki! Nga Tamariki!" and your hair stands on end.

For all the multi-cultural mix in Auckland, our kids are kiwi kids. They run barefoot and climb trees. They chase the sheep in Cornwall Park and collect shells from Pt Chev beach. Then we come home and have curry and naan for dinner...

Okahu Bay, City Centre

Being surrounded by water, Aucklanders love nothing better than a day at the beach.

We can head over the bridge and take our pick of Narrow Neck, Takapuna, Milford, Browns Bay, Long Bay and all the little nameless beaches in between...

Long Bay, North Shore
In Auckland we have so many great beaches to choose from - without leaving the city.

Waterfront Walk and Cycleway

We can bike along the waterfront and stop off at Mission bay for icecream, let the kids play on the awesome seafront playground, have fish'n'chips under a pohutukawa...

Visit the viaduct, with working fishing port, cafes, restaurants, playground and even a Tramway... and we can recycle our rubbish. Aucklanders are very good at recycling.

I love that in the city there are people wearing gumboots, jandals. Blokes napping on benches, construction workers playing the piano.

I love the waterfront mini-golf. The cafes and restaurants. The awesome Zoo. Kelly Tarlton's Underwater world. The Sky Tower with revolving restaurant.

Pt Chev Beach, picnic with the neighbours
My favourite hidden gem is Pt Chevalier, biking distance from my house, lined with pohutukawas, perfect for picnics, BBQs and breakfast while the kids play at the park {which has an awesome flying fox of course}

Then there's Oakley Creek. At the end of my street a bush reserve which makes a joke of living in the city. As I drop below the treeline, I disappear into nature. There's a bike path, eels and ducks to feed in the stream... and a waterfall. All at the end of my street. in the middle of the city. Where else in the world do you find that?

I love that my kids can walk 200 metres from our gate to a a great playground. Best of all, this playground is nothing special. Auckland has awesome playgrounds for kids wherever you turn. Even at the viaduct.

I love that we are part of a community where we know our neighbours. We can go down to the local football club and see people from school and next door, having a beer, talking about sport, while the kids play.

We can bike over and knock on friends' doors, see who's at home. Ask the neighbours to collect the post, mind the spare keys, come for a BBQ, have a few wines at sunset.

I love my neighbourhood. I love the old houses, the views to the West, the leafy trees everywhere.

September Sunshine 2010

I love the climate. Swimming in September? Auckland is warm.
OK I can do without the humidity, but I love the long-lasting summers and early springs.

Sure those that don't know Auckland like I do can look on and think its just another big smelly city with bad traffic and pollution.
But to me, Auckland is home and I love it.
Oh look I've gone and made myself homesick.
But that's OK, cos I'll be home soon.

Now it's your turn.
I'd love you to write a post about where you live and link it up, so I can find out all the great spots to visit and things to do when I come visit you.

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Lyns said...

Okay you may just have convinced me to write a post as there are heaps of things that I love about where I live! Great post.

Anonymous said...

When ur back I'd love to hear from you like/don't like about the UK.


Miriam said...

Most convincing and appealing thing I've ever read about Auckland you should be on their marketing board. I'm in Chch and I wouldn't swap it - it's awesome! Come visit!

banban said...

Stop it! You're making me miss NZ :(

Great post, lovely little slice of heaven in this world isn't it!

Cat said...

LOVE this post LOVE LOVE LOVE it xxx
I'll def be back to link up to you
Cat xxx

Jen said...

thanks for the trip down memory lane I grew up in Auckland
I wont be back though
I found it all a bit too fast paced and busy for me
its interesting and your right when say compared to other cities of the world Auckland isnt so big
I LOVE the Hawkes Bay though for me its the right size :)

Rebecca said...

Beautiful! I heart and miss Auckland too!!

Suki-Lou said...


Auckland is fab, as we are just discovering!

We have been here for about 8 weeks now and have been doing lots of exploring!

Hope you are enjoying the UK :)

remaliah said...

Wow, what a wonderful description of our Auckland! I'm seriously impressed with your gift at writing - truly a gift! Hope you're off having the time of your life in Ireland :) It's been fun following your UK trip!

Catching the Magic said...

Fabulous post and it sounds like you are definitely living where your heart is!

Enjoy the last bit of your trip in Ireland (you've really done some travelling!) and safe travels home!

Cat said...

that is the joy of going away isn't it???
coming back home....so good!

love and light

Partito y Monito said...

I love Auckland too. Used to live in Pt. Chev - all kids of awesome! Miss home too. Coming back soon though - yay!

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