News and Views

The guide who ate Auckland

Posted by Website Admin on June 22, 2017

The guide who ate Auckland

One question we frequently get asked by visitors and locals is "where's a good place for lunch?"  At the end of each walking tour we like to treat ourselves to a little sticky or a savory and always with coffee. Hey it’s a tour guide’s job to know where to go right? Let’s just say we like flavorsome food, plenty of it and the personalities who prepare it for us.

The following cafes and bistros often feature on our radar for their tasty treats, ambiance and friendly service so hopefully, there’s something here to whet your appetite too. This is our independent opinion with no free perks, commission or backhanders coming our way!

1. Oaken 130 Quay St, Downtown

A special occasion lunch with an old friend brought us here. Sitting in the sunny front room with the Waitemata sparkling across the way, we could’ve been anywhere but wintery Auckland.  The coffee was exemplary, you can choose between Supreme and Allpress, and it's the first time we’ve been asked by a waiter to choose our preferred blend!  The chicken roulade salad was light, fresh and flavorsome with its salty anchovies and flaky croutons. The waiter personally addressed us by our names on each approach and was courtesy personified.  And the total bill?  It came to $45 which, for its premium location and satiation factor, we judged good value. Five star service too.

2. Misters  12 Wyndham St, Central City

A vegan ‘Sister’ first revealed this ‘Mister” to us.  A no-dairy, gluten-free cafe which serves up delicious multinational cuisine - mainly bowl food. Think Japanese, Turkish, Thai, Chilean dishes each featuring a different base - be it potato, rice or quinoa.  Shared trestle tables make for a buzzy boho vibe and the coffee’s very good too.  Love that it’s tucked away off Queen Street up the mysterious Wyndham way.

3. Major Sprout  21 Graham Street, Central City

One of the few eateries on the ‘lower westside”, Major Sprout is a light-filled, spacious cafe just down from the new flash NZME headquarters.  It’s so good - it’s obviously drawing up the city workers from the Viaduct office park who bravely cross Fanshawe Street for the uphill traipse. Their classic eggs bene (pictured) is a regular favorite as are their light and dreamy cakes on display. Well worth hunting out.

4. Chuffed   43 High Street, Central City

For some of the friendliest service and tastiest slices in town, check out this hidden-deck delight.  It’s small and a bit cosy with other diners in close proximity but hey it's winter, so that’s ka pai!  The pocket terrace seating area provides a delightful contrast to busy High Street and it’s a secret little spot worth sharing.  Love the poached chicken salad - try it!

5. Mezze Bar - Durham Lane, Central City

Sisters Sally and Clare are celebrating the 25th anniversary of this locally-loved Middle Eastern inspired bistro. It's always humming and particularly popular with the city workers keen for their specialty kofte meatballs or hummus and za’atar spiced falafels. Their woodfired pide bread leaves you wanting more of its soft and doughy deliciousness. A great midtown stop which has proven its stripes time and again.

Auckland is blessed to have so many great cafes and we're constantly unearthing more.  Walk with us to discover even more decadent delights - chocolateries, cocktail bars, ice creameries and cake shops.  We’ll show you how to eat your way around town and walk it off!


Albert Park - Auckland's next Tunnel?

Posted by Website Admin on June 22, 2017

Could Albert Park be Auckland's next Tunnel?

Hundreds of Auckland university students stroll down the steps of Albert Park each day unaware of the exciting opportunity beneath their feet.

Aucky Walky tour takers are fascinated to learn that the city’s air raid shelters lie under the tranquil city park. And they’re excited by one man’s vision to create a new underground cycle and walkway linking Victoria Street to Parnell and the Auckland Domain. So while the opening of the new Waterview Tunnel is a major breakthrough, there's potentially another city tunnel project which could help move people, both physically and emotionally.

When World War 2 broke out in the Pacific, a real threat existed that Auckland would be bombed by the Japanese. It was considered a major risk for the city’s population of 400,000 at the time.

So a plan was actioned to tunnel 3.5 km of rock out of Albert Park to create air raid shelters, reaching from Constitution Hill to Wellesley Street. The tunnels, completed in 1942 were mainly hand-dug by council workers, most of whom were middle-aged men deemed unfit for war.

The shelters included sanitation facilities, kitchens and first aid stations all ventilated by air shafts substantial enough to accommodate 20,000 city workers.

The war passed and Auckland was fortunate enough to escape attack.Unfortunately the timber supports in the unused tunnels then began to rot and collapse so the shelters were backfilled with 8.8 million bricks.  All nine entrances were sealed and buried by 1946. Three of the blocked entrances are located behind the scoria wall at the Park's Victoria Street entry.

Since then, a number of schemes have been proposed to reopen the tunnels.

Over twenty years ago tourism promoter Bill Reid gained permission to unseal the tunnels and perform an inspection, with a view to developing a tourist attraction.  Various changes in Council and priorities stalled Bill’s progress, however the intrepid advocate persevered and has recently conducted promising tunnel talks with both ATEED and Auckland Transport.

The prospect of a dual walk-cycle way linking Victoria Street east to Parnell is an exciting prospect.The strong belief that glow worms caves exist in the volcanic rock would be a tourism bonanza.   

This week the Tunnel Team are meeting with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

Successful tourism operator Waitomo Adventures are lending their support to the plan.

Auckland needs innovative attractions downtown and this seems like a venture worthy of full Council and ATEED backing. If we can fund a national cycleway with variable usage then this project, potentially benefiting thousands of people per day, is overdue a feasibility study.

You can follow Bill’s progress here on the Albert Tunnels Facebook page  

photo credit: Albert Tunnels Facebook Page - Nicolas Reid, Transport Planning Consultant