Here’s what Auckland’s property developers don’t want you to know.
The city is full of hidden shortcuts, rooftop gardens and viewing platforms which are required to be accessible to the public. In the past, property developers made public space concessions with Auckland Council in return for bonus floor space. But very few records of these concessions have been kept and a lack of policing meant some developers were not meeting their end of the bargain. Some of the publicly required walk ways and short cuts are not clearly signed meaning most Aucklanders are blind to their existence.
So at Aucky Walky we’ve snooped and scoped out what we believe are five little-known hidden gems - selected for their views or time-saving shortcuts, when walking from A to B.
1. Most secret alleyway? Cruise Lane - connecting Shortland Street with Chancery Plaza. Who knew this little through-lane existed? We didn’t and found it one day by happy accident. It’s a narrow ‘suck-in-your-tummy’ passageway which links Shortland Street to Chancery Street and the serene shopping Plaza beyond. It looks a bit dodgy even in daylight but once you’re in it, you realise it also connects with the O’Connell Street laneway and the lobby of a major office block. Maybe one to avoid at night.
2. Best city views? Rooftop Garden at 56 Wakefield Street. Previously Oracle House, now home to AUT School of Tourism. Just enter the lobby and take the lift to the 17th floor (Monday to Friday) for some of the best ‘free’ views of downtown Auckland. It’s a great place to snooze, sunbake, have a picnic and take selfies. When we visited, we had the place to ourselves. Surprise and delight your mates or family next time you’re in town as it’s just up the hill from the Aotea Centre.
3. Best harbour views? The public viewing platform at the Hilton Hotel. Yes that’s right. This five star international hotel agreed, as part of its planning consent, to provide public access to the end of the wharf. So the Hilton built us lucky Aucklanders a public sundeck.
4. Best uphill avoidance? The Lumley Centre - from Fort Street to Shortland Street.No need to walk uphill from the flat terrain of Fort Street, especially if you’re enjoying a mega icecream from Giapo. This is a huge time saver for university students and avoids a detour up a steep hill. Also keeps you dry in the rain. Nice one!
5. Best art? The lobby at the Vero Centre is required to be open to the public as the developer was granted “CBD Bonus space’ when building the property. The lobby is decorated with artworks including a hugely impressive ‘living legends’ wall that not many know about. Just be mindful that no photography is allowed and the security, while polite, were quick to ask our intentions! But you have every right to stand in the lobby and take in the creative surrounds.
So among the hustle and bustle of Auckland, there’s a wealth of hidden treasures that reside down the lane ways and on rooftops of our spectacular city. Book a guided walking tour with Aucky Walky to find out more.