Skip to main content

Auckland City Centre

New Zealand excites more with its outdoor possibilties, scenic panaromas and adventure sport sites than its urban landscapes and activities. Having acknowledged that, I sought to find the best of Auckland city centre. Auckland, New Zealand's largest city by population and area, calls for comparisons with Sydney in Australia. Auckland has sloping, hilly roads, combined with a beautiful harbour of varied and many bays and inlets. It also has a Harbour Bridge and more - the isles in Auckland Harbour, like Rangitoto, are bigger than Sydney's and its suburban roads are wider and perhaps more well planned. Many of the Auckland suburbs sit on extinct volcanic sites, hence all the Mounts from Albert to Eden, as the place straddles the Auckland Volcanic Field. In the city centre itself, however, life is more simple than Sydney's sprawling version. Above image, preparations for Christmas and New Year' Eve as parts of giant baubles are laid on a courtyard.



Life does still revolve around cafes, fruit juice bars and pubs. Above, looking through the glass of a Italian styled coffee place on an early Monday morning. Queen Street is one long hilly thoroughfare around which Auckland downtown personifies. On my November 2011 visit, I noted the emergence of more students, Asian businesses and a lively scene during evenings. The Korean and Chinese presence in Auckland are more pronounced. There still are heritage buildings and long standing Kiwi establishments like Whitcoulls, the Town Hall and Civic Theatre. Joining them now are the Red Guard Noodle Bar, curry houses and the new fangled Burger Fuel joints.


Rupert Murdoch, the ASB Bank Buildng and an ANZ Bank mrketing campaign motto ("Float Like a Butterfly, Fix without a Fee") all stare at you as you walk down from the top end of Queen Street. (picture above) Below, a few practitioners of tai chi and flag waving exercise in front of the main Auckland cinema complex in the city.


Kiwi architecture and interior design can be inspring and refreshing, as exemplfied by the counter of the box office at the entertainment centre, next showing the live performance of the Jersey Boys from April 2012. (image above). This contrasts with the feel and look of shopfronts of Asian chains like Japanese Daiso below.



Aotea Square is a landmark site not to be missed (picures above and below). When I wandered there, the denizens of the protest movement Occupy Auckland had just awoken from their slumber outdoors, albeit with camping tents, in the best tradition of New Zealand adventure and life. Aotea is named after Motu Aotea, or the Great Barrier Island, whch lies off 90 km from Auckland Harbour and is the largest off shore island for New Zealand.



Auckland is named after George Eden, Earl of Auckland in the UK and is the largest Polynesian city in the world. It continues to have a third of the population of New Zealand, and is sited to be blessed with both the Tasman Sea and South Pacific. Trams used to run in Auckland after Pakeha settlement. Preceding that were many Maori traditional villages called pa which existed from around 1350.

Above, the Auckland Town Hall, done in the Edwardian style, of which I had the privilege of attending Yin's graduation a few years ago. Below, the map of the route for the Auckland City Triathlon on 20 November 2011.



My favourite part of downtown Auckland is around the High Street precinct. Here are the side walk restaurants and cafes, cobbled and bricked pathways and a sense of the old quarter of the city (picture above). There are businesses with narrow shop fronts, those that lead you upstairs or to basements and all with a sense of uniqueness and ambiance. Some family members and I had a pub lunch of pizza and pasta at a quaint joint called Cassette.


The harbour front continues to be the jewel in Auckland city centre's crown, with the Viaduct and Wynyard Quarter the focus of night life and social events post game during the 2011 World Rugby Cup in New Zealand. Here fine dining, marina bays and the smell of the ocean remind any visitor of what Auckland City is mostly all about - the City of Sails.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Chung Ling Alumni Association Petaling Jaya Klang Valley

Telephone Contact:  +603 7957 0318

85 Degrees Bakery Cafe Hurstville NSW

There are several outlets of this bakery cafe for several years now in Australia.  Did they coem from the USA?

Each franchised outlet is in a busy area, often in suburbs so-called by a diverse Asian demographic.   The one in Hurstville is rather roomy and lots of baked stuff on its shelves.   The base of Sydney operations is in Chester Hill, a suburb south-west of the Sydney city centre.


Some of the cake creations would be viewed as rather leaning on the East Asian dimension  - Strawberry Angel (with chocolate base and top) and Mango Cheese ( with yoghurt).   However, to counter this perspective, there are also Death by Chocolate, US Cheesecake, Coffee Brulee and Blueberry Marble options.    


The pastries are definitely filled with ingredients more suited to perhaps Anime loving fans and non-mainstream cultures - for example, garlic, pork, tuna, green tea, red bean, shallots, pork floss, coconut, Hokkaido butter cream and Boroh or pineapple buns.   Sung seems to be a variation emphasised…

Penang - Lor Mee

Lor mee is another of those street foods that are not commonly available in Western societies, but are easily found in southern China, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. The dish is iconic of the Teochew Province in China and has been mainly brought to equatorial climes by immigrants over the last few centuries. It combines snippets of ingredients in a thick savoury sauce. Above, the lor mee with roast pork and sliced hard boiled egg accompaniments at the Fong Sheng Cafe, along Lorong Selamat in Georgetown, Penang - the place was introduced by May Wah and Henry Quah.







The cafe harks back to the seventies or eighties - and maybe earlier - what caught my eye were (above) freshly blended fruit and/or vegetable juices and (below) metal and plastic contraptions of the food trade.
















Hot and cold drinks are easily on offer from the cafe (above and below) at very reasonable prices.







Another version of the dish (below) taken whilst Bob Lee was enjoying them in another cafe or coffee shop in Georgetown…