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Best of Auckland — Places

Islands of success in a city made almost entirely of error.

Best of Auckland — Places

Aug 1, 2022 City Life

Read on for Metro’s favourite places or jump across to:

Retail
Services
Food and Drink
Culture

 

LIBRARY

DEVONPORT
2 Victoria Rd, Devonport

This public library over the bridge is housed in a very nice-looking building that’s caged in by the handsome trees which line the road. On the inside, it has A fun circular window nook in the kids’ section, a great sense of height and drama, and plenty of little spaces to hide away in. Best of all, it’s quiet. Oh, and did we mention it’s by the water?

 

PLAYGROUND

TAKAPUNA BEACH RESERVE
14 The Strand, Takapuna

Giant hamster wheel! Trampolines! Merry-go- round swings! The beach!

 

TREE
We asked Xanthe White, the principal designer at landscape design studio Xanthe White Design, about trees and parks. xanthewhitedesign.co.nz

PŌHUTUKAWA IN THE PARNELL ROSE GARDENS / DOVE-MEYER ROBINSON PARK 85–87 Gladstone Rd, Parnell

“The pōhutukawa in the Parnell Rose Gardens next to the site of the New Erebus memorial is an absolutely beautiful soul. We have a rule that no one in our studio can remove a tree older than themselves without consulting someone older than the tree. This tree has long outlived any human. Its limbs undulate over the ground. It’s a beauty.”

 

PARK
Also Xanthe White

WATERVIEW SHARED PATH
Mt Albert

“My favourite park is the Waterview Shared Path, which I call the Vondel Park of Auckland. Vondel Park is the biggest park in the heart of Amsterdam and a beautiful part of the city’s utopian cycleways. The Waterview Shared Path is a gem and full of beautiful surprises like Harko Brown’s tree limb playground [the first-ever traditional Māori playground] and curving bridges that reward your climb to the top with flying down the other side on your bike. It is too cool. My favourite part though is the PuketĀpapa bit [in the Mt Roskill Memorial War Park], full of treasures, and probably the most culturally alive and diverse landscape park in Tāmaki.”

 

DOG PARK

MEOLA REEF
81–189 Meola Rd, Western Springs

A fenced-in, off-lead dog park near the inner city. Just beware the muddy water.

 

PUBLIC POOL

PT ERIN
94 Shelly Beach Rd, Herne Bay

Ticks all the necessary public pool boxes: indoor and outdoor pools, slides, grass, playground, shade. Although truth be told, you might struggle for a park on those perfect pool days.

 

BASKETBALL COURT

VICTORIA PARK
203–271 Victoria St West, Central city

The best place to get into a pick-up game.

 

BUILDING

THE HOTEL BRITOMART
29 Galway St, Britomart

Designed by Cheshire Architects (and led by Nat Cheshire), The Hotel Britomart is a restrained beauty, with a deliberate sense of embracing the energy of the city and rejecting the usual genericness of city hotels. There is also a lovely collision of old and new as it meets with adjacent heritage structures. And it’s not just us who think so — it won the Sir Miles Warren Award for Commercial Architecture at the 2021 NZ Institute of Architects awards, too.

 

APARTMENT BUILDING

LONG BAY VILLAGE CENTRE
Glenvar Ridge Rd, Long Bay

An award-winning feat of urban design and planning, the new Long Bay Village Centre in- corporates apartments above the shops, head- ing a step in the right direction with more dense housing options, even far into the suburbs. If only it covered more blocks.

 

CAR PARK

CIVIC CAR PARK
Greys Ave & Mayoral Drive, Central city

Actually close to places you’d want to go, and an early pioneer of above-park lights so you can see from across the building which parks are free — a huge anxiety reducer in car-park buildings. Also more car parks need to be underground where no one can see them.

 

CITY REJUVENATION PROJECT (UNDER WAY)

THE CRL
Central city

This thing better be worth the wait.

 

CITY REJUVENATION PROJECT (THEORETICAL)

VICTORIA ST LINEAR PARK
Central city

This is very likely in a room getting watered down as you read this, but the idea of digging up a big chunk of crappy Victoria St and dropping planting and paths in the earth left behind seems very, very appealing.

 

Simon Farrell-Green of Here magazine on his favourite houses. thisishere.nz
BEST HOUSE (OLD)

STOUT/MITCHELL HOUSE

“A small house built on a former tennis court, the Stout/Mitchell House by Julie Stout and David Mitchell (1988) house combined Japanese and Pacific influences with rigorous planning and a delightful accumulation of screens and layers to create the quintessential Tāmaki Makaurau house. Lifted above the street with a generous covered deck, it is at once a private sanctuary and a good citizen. Now in the careful hands of architects Lance and Nicola Herbst. Honourable mention goes to the Bossley/van Wezel House in Westmere, Pete Bossley and Miriam van Wezel’s 20-year evolution of a hum- ble Westmere bungalow. A masterclass in joyful house-making.”

BEST HOUSE (NEW)

COURTYARD HOUSE BY GUY TARRANT

“You can’t have missed Tarrant’s own Courtyard House on a prominent corner in Pt Chevalier: its sexy brick curve hugs the corner, topped with an unbroken clerestory window. Inside it’s delight- ful, running out to a walled courtyard with a pool at its centre. Effortless, calm and beautifully detailed. Honourable mention goes to Heron House by Pac Studio, one of their more humble houses showing how little we have to fear from density. An urban bach for a young client, the house was built in record time on a tiny budget in the garden of a Sandringham bungalow. Bold colours and unexpected volumes make for a delightful home.”

 

STREET

DOMINION RD
Balmoral

What can’t you do on Dominion?

BEST OF DOMINION RD

MAYA BBQ
345 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden

“Open till we die”, the neon sign outside the restaurant says. This checks out considering how popular the skewer spot is, offering up anything from pig kidneys to beef paddywhacks (neck tendons). And there’s two now!

LA VOIE FRANCAISE
Shop 4/875 Dominion Rd, Mt Roskill

If you spot a line of people idling outside on a footpath down the Three Kings end, then you know you’ve arrived at the right place. A luscious spread of bread (still the best baguettes in town), pastries and little treats (the macarons!) await, including our personal faves, the cabanos (a ring of savoury bread with a sausage stuffed inside) and the épi aux lardon (a bacon number). Make sure you say hi to owner (and baker) Tetsuya Namekawa.

THE CAPITOL CINEMA
610 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden

It’s a dark and cosy cinema with only one screen (so one film playing at a time) and plenty of low-seated couches to do a post-movie dis- section. You can bring a glass of wine into the theatre (as opposed to those flimsy plastic cups the other movies make you use), and there are special one-off screenings of classics that can introduce you to your new old favourite.

POTTERS PARK
173 Balmoral Rd, Mt Eden

Boy Walking, sprinklers, a shaded gazebo, and so, so much grass. Just beware the lack of parking, though it’s on a very handy bus route.

COMMONSENSE ORGANICS
284 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden

Although we know people get put off by the prices of the vegetables here (they’re organic!), we love Commonsense for its bulk-bin range, which is very reasonably priced and also great quality. Stock up on snacking nuts, especially the tamari almonds, which at only a few cents more per kg than regular almonds, is amazing, tasty value. Also, they stock a highly-recommended cider.

SHEFCO
827 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden

Delicious hummus, bread, toum, kebabs, tabbouleh, babaganoush … we could go on.

SALVATION ARMY FAMILY STORE
200 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden

There’s two on Dom Rd, but we’re partial to the one closer city-side, which is bigger and seems to always have something to um and ah over.

JIMIJIMI
583 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden

It’s a gigantic hunk of chicken. What more could you ask for? We’d recommend ordering in ad- vance (they take orders online) because the wait is … long, to say the least.

This feature was published in Metro 434
Available here in print and pdf.

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