There’s a very interesting development towards the west of Auckland called Hobsonville Point. It overlooks Waitemata Harbour from the west and was a New Zealand air force base for almost 100 years, providing a crucial role during WWII. Now it is the site of a planned community or township with a ferry service to Auckland CBD being built next year, a new primary school already sprouting from the ground and a secondary school to follow, as well as a weekly farmers’ market, coastal walkway, community hall and lots of new residential housing.
We have visited this part of the city before when we went to check out their award-winning playground and I posted photos of it here – playground hopping. It really is a fabulous playground. The area is very strange, yet interesting and I find that I like it more and more on each visit. The farmers’ market was terrific: vibrant with lots of fresh, delicious food, live music, coffee and inside an old air-force hangar which provides protection against the weather and also an interesting aesthetic. I wish I’d taken a photo of it but I was so absorbed in all the happenings and sensations that I didn’t think to.
The whole area has an unusual mix of architecture. There’s the gleaming, new housing development with lots of attractive homes that I’m pleased to report are *not* McMansions or the usual Antipodean housing development that is just an urban sprawl. It was compact, with lots of little walkways joining streets. I like that. Then at the other end of the spectrum there’s the odd assortment of houses and buildings that were once part of the New Zealand air-force base. These homes are 50-100 years old and look slightly dilapidated but not unkempt. Here’s one of the new streets with lots of construction in progress:
I found the walk rather disappointing. It was not really a coastal walk at all with the sea hidden from view by scrubland. There were some interesting weapon storage tunnels that are now open to the public for viewing, though.
Afterwards we visited Catalina Cafe. What a fine place this is. It’s always very busy whenever we’ve gone, is child-friendly and the food and coffee are superb.
The ice-cream is very good too.
They have a wonderful plan in place for the area which can be viewed on their website – http://www.hobsonvillepoint.co.nz/ I hope they follow through with all of it and that the developer doesn’t go bust as so often happens in these situations. My only gripe with the new development is a distinct absence of dedicated cycleways. Why, when you’re building roads and pavements from scratch, would you not add in a cycleway? It doesn’t cost anymore. The houses are also quite expensive and certainly too much for the first-home buyer at $600k+. But overall, it’s a nice place and we’ll definitely visit it again.