Love where you live: Auckland

All the things I love about living in Auckland, the city of sails

Since I have less than a month left in Auckland, Amber’s post on loving where you live struck a chord with me the other week.

As a nearly lifelong resident in the city of sails, I am intimately familiar with all its downfalls. But it’s still a fine city, and one I fell a bit more in love with again over the summer, in the process of introducing it to a long line of couchsurfers. (I’ll revisit this post once we’re back and update with my more worldly, informed opinion at the end of the year.)

Let’s get the cons out of the way first:

The weather

When we say you get four seasons in a day, we mean it. Sometimes we’ll rotate through all four seasons two or three times, even. I could leave the house in the morning practically perspiring in the cloudless blazing heat, and get to worth 20 minutes later cursing the sudden downpour that caught me halfway. Speaking of downpours, it rains far too much here, and summers are horribly humid. But at least it’s fairly warm! Temperatures range from about 10-25 degrees, depending on the season.

The cost of living

Housing, petrol, food, and anything else you can think of is expensive. The “great Kiwi ripoff” resurfaces in magazine and newspaper features every couple of years or so. We all shake our heads – and fists – for a bit, then settle right back in resignedly. I also bemoan the lack of free and cheap entertainment here, though Silo Park is doing great things on that front.

The transport

I walk to work, so I haven’t had to regularly catch the bus in over a year, and it’s wonderful. I have a rule against reading the comments on news articles, but this one basically sums up the state of Auckland public transport: “More evidence that those who plan our public transport don’t actually believe in it.” It’s unreliable, expensive and on some routes, infrequent.

And now, to the pros…

It’s beautiful

Don’t get me wrong, we have some absolutely hideous eyesores of buildings around the place (a “nicer Rio” was how our last Couchsurfing guests described the CBD). But otherwise, we’re pretty darn good looking, with beaches, parks, volcanoes, creeks and more aplenty. Crossing the Harbour Bridge always offers a spectacular sight, and rounding the cliffside corner right where the vista of Piha’s coast opens up is enough to make the heart swell.

It’s multicultural

I’m sure we have nothing on bigger cities around the world (actually, I KNOW we don’t, having met so many well-travelled visitors through Couchsurfing), but on a national scale, we’re definitely ahead. Cheap and cheerful ethnic restaurants and supermarkets are all over the place, and every year Diwali and Chinese New Year celebrations take place in the CBD, shutting down parts of the streets.

It’s close to everything

Realistically, in New Zealand everything is just a few hours’ drive away. Skifields? Lakes? Forests? Bush? Beaches? Fill up the tank and go.

And of course, I’m thankful for the other things I enjoy as a New Zealand citizen. Free ER visits (though until I met T, I’d never been to the ER in my life), cheap medical care ($5 prescriptions, thank you very much), affordable education (student loans for all), four weeks of paid annual leave (plus a bunch of public holidays) and so on.

ETA: I’m also very proud that we’ve become the first Asia-Pacific nation and the 13th worldwide to legalise same-sex marriage. Ka pai!

What do you love/hate about your city?

13 thoughts on “Love where you live: Auckland

  • Reply Kylee April 17, 2013 at 07:35

    Phoenix, AZ
    The summer is quite the bitch 45-50degrees making it difficult to go outside and do stuff

    You have to drive. There’s public transport, but um, no.

    Seems to be little culture (opera in the park, anyone? please?!)

    All the other seasons. Mild weather, not a lot of rain (which is also a con, because that makes water and air conditioning expensive

    The food – a large mexican population means cheap and good eats abound

    Location – close to vegas, the grand canyon, california, mexico

    Museums and local attractions are able to be free using a culture pass. That you just borrow from the library (yep, really)

  • Reply anna April 17, 2013 at 07:54

    I have a lot of love for San Diego, mostly for the weather, diverse population, and variety of activities. The only con is the high housing prices. I hope to visit NZ someday – my friend went inner-tubing in caves down there and it looked amazing!!

  • Reply krantcents April 17, 2013 at 08:07

    Los Angeles had dreadful traffic, expensive and crowded! I can go skiing and the beach n the same day. Family is here and I beat the high cost of living by getting here a long time ago.

  • Reply Michelle April 17, 2013 at 09:26

    Love this post! I like living in St. Louis, even though people have such wrong opinions on it. The weather can be crazy, but there are many times when it’s wonderful. Lots of FREE things to do here (zoo, museums, festivals, summer concerts etc. are almost all free) and the cost of living is very low even though salary/pay here is high.

  • Reply Joe April 17, 2013 at 10:54

    I love NZ! Auckland is pretty awesome, but I like going out of the city more. I guess because I was a tourist.
    We live in Portland, OR.
    I love the great summer here. It’s 3 months of paradise. We have great restaurants and a ton of reasonable priced restaurants. We can go snowboarding and then to the beach in the same day too, but who does that? Public transportation is good.

    Hate? The long rainy season. It’s hard to meet people here. A lot of weirdos. I guess that’s good sometime.

  • Reply Budget and the Beach April 17, 2013 at 13:19

    I love NZ, but I can see where those parts you mentioned would be really frustrating. I think I’ve written a lot about what I like and hate about LA. Mostly it’s just the cost and traffic.

  • Reply Country Girl April 17, 2013 at 13:55

    NZ is on my places to go list, and pretty darn high up there. I just wish either planes flew faster or it was a little closer 😛

    I’m a pretty big fan of my little part of Ontario. I love living near Lake Huron, having awesome beaches, farm fields and forests all around. I could do without mosquitos though. It’s quiet, without much in the way of entertainment except for what you make yourself, but that suits me fine. It’s relatively cheap living out here, but you do have to drive everywhere. It’s not for everyone, but it’s just right for me. 🙂

  • Reply CF April 17, 2013 at 16:02

    Auckland sounds lovely – It’s one of the places I’d like to visit one day. I love Vancouver for the diversity, the food, the care that people have for the environment and their health. I dislike people coming in from the ‘burbs and telling Vancourites to forgo bikelanes and increased transit!

  • Reply Linda April 17, 2013 at 16:07

    I’ve lived in Chicago most of my life. The only thing I really dislike is the winter doldrums. Not all of winter is bad, but the long stretches when it is not only cold, but the skies are grey and the days are super short are truly depressing. The traffic can be annoying and is only exacerbated by the extreme suburban sprawl. Finally, our politics can get a bit messed up and annoying. (Don’t ever ask a Chicagoan about the “parking meter deal” or they will erupt at you!)

    Good stuff: we have this beautiful, massive lake at our doorstep. We have cultural activities galore, and we have outstanding restaurants. The people are friendly, too!

  • Reply KK @ Student Debt Survivor April 18, 2013 at 12:22

    Pros NYC area-culture, diversity, lot of free stuff to do and watch, amazing museums, amazing food

    Cons-traffic, parking, congestion, fast pace, rude people (not everyone), not enough green space, expensive housing

  • Reply Funny about Money April 19, 2013 at 14:37

    NZ: it’s such a spectacularly beautiful country, and the people are wonderful. Never met a New Zealander I didn’t like. Really!

  • Reply The Norwegian Girl April 20, 2013 at 21:12

    I would love to visit NZ one day!!
    Oslo is extremely expensive, there`s a certain amount of crime, it`s soo cold during winter, but it`s a fun city to live in, it`s by the sea, there are many beautiful sightings, great people and great stores.

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