Summer in the City
Cool things to do on hot days in the Auckland CBD
AUCKLAND CENTRAL - ART GALLERY, GIFT STORE & CAFE
Auckland Art Gallery
I like the Auckland Art Gallery. It's a bit posey, that's true, because it's a serious art gallery I guess it's to be expected. Tucked into the edge of Albert Park, the location is my favourite inner city bolt-hole: equal parts shady trees, flower gardens, Auckland Uni students and pantingly steep stairs.
The gallery is open, accessible and child-friendly. Multiple exhibition spaces span three floors in a slightly confusing, arty way, but you'll usually find a helpful attendant happy to provide a map or show you where to go. There's an interactive area and places where events, workshops and school holiday programmes are held, as well as a cafe kind of tangled up in the trees, and a gallery shop.
You pay to see feature exhibitions (usually around $25). Entrance and other current exhibitions are free. More info here.
Covid who? The thing that was such a THING is now a NO-thing. Nobody mentions it. Occasionally people still wear masks but generally, it's just not a thing.
SWIMMING, PICNICS & BBQS
Parnell, Judges Bay
The juxtaposition of city, 'burbs and beach that Auckland does so well. Dapple shaded parkland drops steeply down from the Parnell Rose Garden to a little beach at Judges Bay. There are picnic tables, bbqs and public toilets, a wharf and a couple of pontoons. Sunbathing while watching trains go by and helicopters land at the Mechanics Bay Heliport feels urban and a little weird, but in a good way.
- Can you swim here?
Yep. It would be worth seeing where the tides are at though. There are mud flats and a long wade when it's low.
- Should you swim here?
Personally I wouldn't but lots of people do. Probably ok if you don't put your head under. Check for water quality updates at Safeswim.
- Getting here?
It's a bit of a hike (about 15 to 20 mins of up-and-down terrain) from Parnell Road, which is on the Inner Link bus route. Or you can walk from the city along the waterfront, cross the pedestrian bridge at Parnell Baths and double back. If you're coming by car, parking is likely to be at a premium, especially on a sunshiny day. A good option would be to park at the Parnell Rose Garden.
Nothing (if you don't include transport). The beach and amenities are free.
(TRAINING & LEISURE)
They're big, colourful and salty. All kinds of swimming happens here; serious lap training, kiddie pool splash abouts, toe-dipping . . . lots of sunbathing too. The trick is to try to lay claim to a lounger, but if you can't get one there's the decking and grassy patches lie about on. A couple of trees and the new addition of giant brollies provide some shade.
- Is the water cold?
Refreshing. The pools aren't heated but after the first gasp, you get used to it.
- Can you picnic here?
Just a personal packed lunch. No commercial food is allowed, ie, don't order in your Uber Eats. There's a cafe selling food, drinks and ice creams.
- Is it all about posers parading their six packs and bikinis?
Not that I noticed.
Seniors & Students: $5.40
Children (under 16): free
- Covid? Of course not!
But the pools ARE closed - for winter. More info here