If you’re partial to a peninsula and you like your city settlements on the quirky side, the western trio of suburbs near central Auckland’s inner harbour – Point Chevalier, Western Springs and Westmere – is well worth exploring.
In spite of their proximity to the city, there are lots of green spaces, even plenty beaches worth wandering. Picnicking and swimming are both popular Pt Chev pursuits, but being largely inner harbour it’s preferable to paddle when the tide is high and the wind isn’t blowing. If you pick the right moment, visiting these western suburbs is a little like being on holiday.
The area’s biggest ticket item is Auckland Zoo on Motions Road. 40 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds with all manner of animals – monkeys, tigers and giraffes, plus an impressive enclosure where you can watch the sea lions swooping serenely underwater.
The zoo’s native fauna section is a treat with everything from kiwi to kea; tuatara to wētā.
If you’re on a budget, see if you can catch a glimpse of the elephants from the playground at Western Springs and if you take some bread, the abundant birdlife will certainly befriend you – or take your hand off.
Get up close to our cheeky troop of spider monkeys at 2.15pm today! Keeper talks are the best time to visit them - as you can see they love the snacks that keeper Michelle brings them. These South American monkeys are extremely agile with long lanky arms and a prehensile tail that acts as an extra hand. This enables them to swing gracefully between the tree tops as well as gather and hold their food. We have free keeper talks on every day! The full schedule is on our new look website - www.aucklandzoo.co.nz/plan-your-day . #spidermonkey #blackhandedspidermonkey #southamericananimals #monkey #zoo #keeper #keepertalks #zookeeper #auckland #nz #whatsontoday
Neighbouring MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) is easily accessible from the zoo, with historic trams that clatter between the two posts at regular intervals. Transport and technology buffs will want to spend a full day at MOTAT to make the most of all the planes, trains and automobiles.
For walkers, there are lots of gorgeous off-road trails, from the bushy paths that wind through Jaggers Bush to the pleasures of Cox’s Creek and the Weona Westmere Coastal Walkway that links Meola Road to the heart of Westmere. This corridor includes bush paths and boardwalks, passing beside waterways, mangroves and impressive pōhutukawa trees.
Cycling is also increasingly popular around these parts with the creation of many new dedicated cycleways. If you’re feeling lazy, you might like to hire an e-bike instead, because who needs mountains when you can have molehills?
Also well served for playgrounds, the most popular and best equipped can be found at Walker Park, Eric Armishaw Park which has excellent kite surfer action too, Coyle Park and Western Springs.
And don’t forget to refuel, because the United Nations is represented in the local cuisine with everything from Afghan, Indian, Chinese, Thai, Turkish and Italian food in Pt Chev alone. Plus there are numerous cafes when your caffeine levels get low. Or maybe you fancy good old fish and chips eaten al fresco because that never goes out of style.
Beautiful year round, whether you’re taking a summer dip at Pt Chev beach, admiring the colours of autumn reflected in Western Springs lake or making time to smell the roses of spring.