So the area of Auckland I’m living, working, and walking around on a regular basis is known as the CBD– the Central Business District. It’s the very heart of downtown. Here’s a map:
For some further (but not-very-specific) information, I live near the southern boundary of the CBD, my coworking space is south of the centre, and the walking time from the Customs Street end of Queen Street to the Karangahape Road (or K’ Road as it’s colloquially known here) end is about 20 minutes.
I wish I had been looking at a map like this when I was looking for apartments– there are many listings out there which say that they are close to both the Britomart (roughly at Queen and Customs East) and K’ Road. This is an impossibility which I didn’t realize at the time :P. There is, however, a city bus (the City Link) which runs frequently up Queen Street, down to the harbour, and back up to K’ Road– free with a HOP card (transit tap card)– which I have been making heavy use of.
Some highlights of the CBD:
1) Vulcan Lane
This is just past Queen and Victoria, and it’s a really nice pedestrian area with pubs and shops. The streets on the other end of Vulcan Lane are really narrow though (most of them are one-way), and if you’re not careful, it’s easy to get lost. Nice area to get lost in, though!
2) Myers Park
This is a busy stop on the City Link bus. It’s basically a valley in the middle of the city which is a really lush park. There’s a long pathway which connects Queen and Mayoral to K’ Road, which is a much nicer walk than taking Queen Street all the way up. However, the not-so-fit, beware: the path ends in a set of very steep steps (if you take Queen, it’s uphill, but it’s gradual). Populated by sunbathers on the weekend.
3) The Harbour!
Bustling during all hours of the day and night, the harbour is one of the most popular destinations in the CBD. It’s got shops, restaurants, clubs, walkways, boats, and of course, the water. You can also catch ferries from here to Davenport, Waiheke, Tiritiri Matangi, and more.
4) Britomart Square
This pedestrian area right behind the main Britomart building (which is a major transit hub) has a really chill vibe and is packed with pubs, coffeeshops, and high-end clothiers (including a LuLuLemon, apparently). There’s a big covered (but very airy) atrium which is also part of this, unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of it, but it’s very nice. On Saturday mornings, the square plays host to the Britomart Farmers’ Market, which is awesome for decently priced fruits and vegetables direct from the farmers. I got some amazing smoked cheese ($9 for a wedge, but so good!) from here as well.
Unmentioned are a couple more– the Viaduct (which will probably get its own post in the near future), the Customs Street East shops and pubs (this is the most hipster area of the CBD that I’ve seen so far), Symonds Street, the Aotea Centre, and more. I really like the CBD, although it does have some downsides as well: expensive, cramped housing; plenty of people asking for change (and not a lot of shelters that I’ve seen); wind tunnels; sketchy side streets, etc. But you’ll find those in the downtown of any major city– Auckland is no exception. On the up side, compared to Calgary (and even Ottawa), Auckland’s CBD is always busy, always moving, even during the off-hours– and that energy is almost tangible. Given the close proximity of everything as well, I’ve been enjoying my time in the CBD. I’m going to end up not wanting to live outside the downtown core ever again :P.
More photo posts to follow soon!