Jacobs Ladder & Point Erin Park

Jacobs Ladder Bridge is a covered footbridge for pedestrians and cyclists that crosses over eight lanes of State Highway 1. It connects Westhaven Marina with Saint Marys Bay suburb and Point Erin Park.

Jacobs Ladder Footbridge

The footbridge officially opened in December 2012. It cost $7.9 million to construct. It is 102 metres long, 3.7 metres wide and stands 6 metres above the motorway. The exterior of the bridge is covered with gold coloured mesh, which is designed to evoke the idea of traditional Maori fishing nets.

Jacobs Ladder was originally built in the 1800s to provide access from St Mary’s Bay cliffs to the foreshore. The steps originally came down to the motorway level. The stairs now only come to the bridge level and ramps provide pedestrian access down.

Jacobs Ladder Footbridge

When I visited the bridge it was midday and was popular with office workers on a lunchtime run.

After crossing the bridge I turned right and followed the ramp down and walked along the path next to motorway to the entrance to Point Erin Park. If you turn left the ramp will come out across the road from Victoria Park.

The large panels reduce much of the traffic noise so it was quieter than I was expecting.

Ramp down from Jacob’s Ladder Footbridge

Walking next to the motorway

Walking next to the motorway

Steps up to Point Erin Park

Steps up to Point Erin Park

Point Erin Park covers approximately 4 hectares. The park includes a children’s playground, picnic tables, and an off leash dog exercise area.

Also in the park is Pt Erin Pool, which includes hydroslides, a spa pool, toddlers pool, a 33-metre competition pool, dive pool and basketball court. There is also a cafe and shop onsite. Check their website for opening hours and prices.

There is vehicle access to Point Erin Park and Pt Erin Pool from Shelly Beach Road.

Point Erin Park

Point Erin Park

Point Erin Park

Westhaven Marina

Westhaven Marina in Auckland is the largest yacht marina in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Last month the Westhaven Promenade opened.

This new path and boardwalk is up to 5 metres wide and runs along the edge of the marina providing stunning views of yachts against the city backdrop. The boardwalk is made from Spotted Gum hardwood imported from Australia.

Two sections of the boardwalk take visitors out over the water and include viewing platforms for photo opportunities.

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The Westhaven Promenade will eventually be part of 20km cycleway that travels from the Harbour Bridge in the west to St Heliers in the east.

You can access the Promenade from the western end near the Harbour Bridge and Sitting Duck Café. From Wynyard Quarter, head down Beaumont Street and onto Westhaven Drive. The path starts just start pass Swashbucklers Restaurant.

After or before walking the promenade cross the marina carpark for views of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Next I followed the path under the Harbour Bridge and followed Curran Street around the waterfront before returning along the Promenade back to the city.

Path under Harbour Bridge

Waterfront

Waterfront

Walking back along Westhaven Promenade

Walking back along Westhaven Promenade

Auckland Arts Festival

The Auckland Arts Festival kicked off today for 19 days of theatre, music, cabaret, dance, and art.

As well as the many high quality productions on during the festival (check the website for details) there are many FREE events and things to see.

Aotea Square is the heart of the festival. Visitors from Queen Street are welcomed by the Heart of the City gates.

Welcome to the Heart of the City

Welcome to Auckland’s Heart of the City

In the centre of Aotea Square is the Paradiso Spiegeltent. A Spiegeltent is a large travelling tent that is constructed from wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors and stained glass. The word Spiegel is Dutch for mirror. Even if you are not seeing a show in Speigeltent’s Festival Club it is still worth taking the time to stop and admire its exterior.

Also in Square is the TimeOut Festival Garden, which is a space for all to enjoy. The iHeartRadio Sound Lounge promises to pumping out a mixture of live jazz, indie-pop, classical, soul, funk and New Orleans street music throughout the festival.

Timeout Festival Garden

Timeout Festival Garden

iHeartRadio Sound Lounge

iHeartRadio Sound Lounge

In the Garden is the Big Screen, which will be displaying digital art. The highlight of the programme will be Lisa Reihana’s Tai Whetuki: House of Death, which will be playing most evenings.

Also in the Square is a stunning art installation by Niki Hastings-McFall entitled Fale Ula. Hastings-McFall has wrapped tree trunks in Aotea Square with synthetic lei (ula). The trees are lit up at night so it is worth checking it day or night.

Big Screen, TimeOut Festival Garden

Big Screen, TimeOut Festival Garden

Niki Hastings-McFall's 'Fale Ula'

Niki Hastings-McFall’s ‘Fale Ula’

Further a field in Daldy Street Park is Field, an outdoor installation by Angus Muir and Alexandra Heaney. It is a grid of mirrored pillars that is ever changing depending on the light and audience around it.

'Field' by Angus Muir & Alexandra Heaney

‘Field’ by Angus Muir & Alexandra Heaney

Also coming up on Saturday 14th March is White Night. From 6pm till Midnight visitors can see various creative installations across 100 venues and location all over Auckland. There will be free White Night buses linking the participating neighbourhoods.

Auckland Arts Festival runs 4th to 22nd March 2015.

Auckland Lantern Festival

The Auckland Lantern Festival took place this weekend, 26 February to 1 March, from 5pm to 10.30pm, each night in Albert Park.

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Traditionally the lantern festival is held at the end of the 15 day observation of the Chinese New Year, but this year the lantern festival was held early.

There were over 800 handmade Chinese lanterns throughout Albert Park as the festival now its 16th year celebrated the ‘Year of the Goat’.

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As well as the lanterns, Princes Street was lined with Asian craft and food stalls. There were two performance areas. On the main stage there was music, theatre and dance performances. The second area was a martial arts demonstration area with martial arts from China, Japan and Korea.

Shangwen Martial Arts Academy

Shangwen Martial Arts Academy

Guangdong Puppet Art Theatre

Guangdong Puppet Art Theatre

 

 

Highwic

Highwic is a historic home in the Auckland suburb of Epsom / Newmarket.

Highwic

Highwic

The property is at 40 Gillies Avenue but the recommended entrance is off Mortimer Pass. Onsite parking is available. Alternatively take a train to Newmarket Train Station or a bus to 277 Broadway and walk up Mortimer Pass (first street on the right after the shopping mall, Westfield 277 Newmarket).

Entrance to Highwic off Mortimar Road

Entrance to Highwic off Mortimer Pass

Highwic is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Adults are $10, accompanied children are free. If you plan on visiting Alberton and Ewelme Cottage as well I would recommend purchasing the Historic Auckland Passport for $18, which allows you one time entry to all three historic properties and is valid for a year from purchase.

In 1862, Alfred Buckland purchased 5 acres (2 hectares) of land. The house is built in Carpenter Gothic and was based on country homes on the East Coast of the United States.

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House is built in Carpenter Gothic style

Mr Buckland and his first wife Eliza immigrated to New Zealand from England in 1850. His older brother William had moved here in 1841. Together Alfred and Eliza had 10 children before Mrs Buckland’s passing of pneumonia in 1866. The following year Mr Buckland married Matilda Frodsham, who had been his wife’s companion and home help. Matilda and Alfred had 11 children together. In total Alfred Buckland had 21 children, fourteen daughters and seven sons.

Bucklands Beach in the eastern suburb of Howick is named after Alfred Buckland as he owned a large farm there.

During the 1870s and 1880s the house was enlarged as the family grew. Descendants on the Buckland family lived in the house until 1978 (that is 116 years the Buckland family occupied the property). The property was jointly purchased by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and the Auckland City Council. Highwic opened as a historic house museum in 1981.

The house has seven bedrooms, a ballroom, drawing room, sitting room, dining room, kitchen, scullery, outdoor courtyard with meat and dairy storerooms.

Dining room

Dining room

Drawing room

Drawing room

Maid and Cook's Bedroom

Maid and Cook’s Bedroom

The Boy's Barracks

The Boy’s Barracks

The guest bedroom on the side of the house has been converted into the sales and information desk. They sell a wide selection of memorabilia relating to Highwic and range of authentic reproduction children’s toys.

The picturesque grounds include a billiards house separate from the main house, stables, a fern house, a hedged circular garden and a croquet and tennis court lawn.

Most of Highwic is hidden above the bustling and busy shopping centre of Newmarket by tall trees and high hedges adding to it’s ‘hidden’ old world charm.

Billards House

Billiards House

Fernery

Fernery

Circular hedged garden

Circular hedged garden

Hedged garden

Hedged garden