A View of Auckland New Zealand

Cloud sky, Auckland New Zealand, Auckland island view

Way Above Auckland

The squiggly brilliant green line of the North Island was like a painting. At 37,000 feet I stared curiously out the window of the Air Pacific 777. I was puzzled.

It’s not that I didn’t know New Zealand was beautiful. I was well aware of New Zealand’s  reputation, not just as ‘Hobbit Land’ but also as the sunny backdrop for many of Peter Jackson’s films, namely the Lord of the Rings trilogy but also local features like The Price of Milk, Heavenly Creatures and the fun Goodbye Pork Pie.

But as I flew into Auckland city this clear skied, sunny Saturday morning I was still taken aback by the brilliance of the turquoise waters and the picturesque scene before my eyes. You see, I’ve been here before. In fact, I was born here.

Up until three years ago all I wanted to do was run as far as I could from New Zealand. I travelled all over the world – Mexico, Russia, Brunei, Peru, Argentina… I believed I had already been to the world’s most beautiful countries. I had quite forgotten how stunning my own was. As soon as I landed I made it my mission to rediscover the Auckland I had once loved.

High Street in Auckland

The fun thing about High Street is that it feels like a bit of a secret. Running parallel to it is Auckland city’s Queen Street which houses all the famous designer brands and chain stores. Queen Street is where the tourists go. High Street, to the left of Queen Street when facing south, is where the locals go. Resplendent with kitschy cafes and bars, boutique shopping, pop up stores and random galleries High Street is small and narrow, two people can barely fit on the footpath at the same time, but rather than feel  pokey and crowded, it feels intimate and village-like.

Devonport in Auckland

Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand, Kelly Dennett, Devonport AucklandLocated on Auckland’s North Shore Devonport is a twee little village with gorgeous views of Auckland City and that soothing, fresh, beachy smell from the Waitemata Harbour. Devonport boasts galleries, boutique shopping, heritage buildings and a range of first class restaurants. To get there, just hop on a Fullers Ferry at Quay Street. The ferries depart every hour and will shuttle you over in ten minutes. While you’re there check out Mt Cambria Reserve, another landscaped area built on Mt Cambria volcano. To get there take Bus 813 from the ferry terminal.

Auchland’s The Domain

Auckland’s answer to Central Park, the Auckland Domain spans 75 hectares and encompasses sports fields, art works, a cricket pitch, a museum and even a volcano. The museum is the focal point of the park. A treasure trove of Maori artifacts, rare carvings, historical exhibits and art works is housed in one of Auckland’s oldest buildings. Admission is free but donations of $10NZ are suggested.

One Tree Hill

For some of the best views of Auckland grab your water bottle and hike up One Tree Hill or, as locals have dubbed it, No Tree Hill, after officials cut down its sole tree in 2000 after a series of vandal attacks. The site sits atop – yes, you guessed it – a volcanic peak, is still home to an obelisk in memoriam of Sir John Logan Campbell, the park’s donor who is also buried there. U2 immortalised the park in their song One Tree Hill which featured on their album The Joshua Tree after a Kiwi member of their band, Greg Carroll, died in a motorcycle accident in 1986. Surrounding One Tree Hill is Cornwall Park which is often used as a wedding venue. The park is home to the Stardome Observatory and twice-yearly bird watching tours. Public barbeques are also available for picnicking families and friends.

Kelly Dennett is a twenty-something journalism graduate from New Zealand .She has spent the last three years living in London and backpacking through Europe, Mexico and South America. In 2013 she hopes to become fluent in Spanish , move to a new country and finally crack the 100 stamp mark on her passport before it expires in October .