Kia ora all,
I’m pretty proud of myself to tell you the truth. Not for surviving the latest round of midterm tests although they were definitely testing (Sorry, that’s the best adjective my brain can manage right now). No, I’m proud of myself because I have survived about 3 months in the biggest city in New Zealand. If you know me, than you’ll know that I am definitely not a city gal. You may or may not have read in my bio that I am from rural Central Hawkes Bay. (If you’ve never heard of this place join the other 90% of people I have encountered in Auckland) The biggest town in CHB where I went to high school has a population of around 4,000 compared to Auckland which has about 1,400,000 people. That is roughly 350 times larger. It’s no wonder that a lot of the time I feel like a small fish in the very big pond.
When it came to choosing between Otago and Auckland university, the city life was definitely one of my bigger concerns with regards to Auckland. That may be weird for some people, but for me it was an important point to consider. But I am happy to say that so far the city has been pretty good to me.
If like me, the city tires you out and at times dulls your sparkle, don’t worry. Auckland has plenty of oasis’s in the concrete jungle to which you can escape for a bit of tree therapy. Here’s the low down on the best places in Auckland for a bit of a catch up with nature because trees get degrees (kind of).
1) One tree Hill
It is only appropriate that number one is One Tree Hill. This is my personal favourite because it is probably the closest you can get to a farm in the middle of Auckland. It is pretty neat because there are sheep and cattle just roaming about the place. The whole hill is a big domain with a huge spike on the top, lots of gardens, walking tracks and natives trees, a charming olive grove, some historic houses you can walk through and a lane with huge old oak trees down each side.
2) The Domain
Unfortunately One Tree Hill is about 15 minutes away from the hall via motorway so it’s not really within walking distance. Luckily the Auckland domain a close second for my top ‘green spot’, is only a 10-15 minute walk away from Unihall. The domain is awesome! It is basically a hill covered in trees and walking tracks, with the museum sitting on top. There are also some football fields, a regular ice-cream truck and best of all the winter gardens. These are a gem! They are open most of the day and are free to walk through and experience the delights of various tropical plants including lilies, eggplants, banana trees, yummy smelling orchids and other weird and wonderful species.
3) Albert Park
Albert Park is a sweet little park which has had a lot of bad press recently after some horrible attacks there at night time. Basically the rule is don’t go there at night, but more importantly use your common sense and never go there alone. However during the day, Albert Park is perfect for a quick break between classes or a lounge on the grass at lunch time. There’s a nice fountain in the middle and some neat statues and art sculptures. Location wise it is ideal as it literally borders the campus and is a good short cut to Queen St.
4) The Campus/UniHall
Although it is the ‘city’ campus it is surprisingly green. The leafiest part of campus would have to be the surroundings of Uni-Hall, which is basically the reason why I picked it. I love that the dining hall, study room and corridor ends have floor to ceiling glass windows looking out at the surrounding trees so that most of the time it doesn’t feel like you’re right in the middle of the city. My daily 10 minute walk to classes passes under the oak trees of the Fine Arts school and down a nicely planted bike pathway which looks across at the domain. (Although at times you have to be wary of cyclist rage.) On the actual campus itself my favourite spot is by the student services clock tower.
5) Make your own
Sadly not everyone can live in UniHall and there is not always time to get outside during the typically hectic schedule of a student. Consequently I would definitely recommend incorporating a bit of ‘zen’ into your own personal space too. For example, I love my tree which does an excellent job of brightening up my room and recycling my carbon dioxide.
Also a big thanks to my parents who got me this little guy to keep me company.
So at the end of the day what I’m trying to say is, even if you “ain’t about that city life,” don’t let that stop you from coming to Auckland University! If I can do it, so can you.
Till next time, stay grounded