Tunnel Vision!

The Waterview Tunnel has been an exciting development in Auckland’s transport network. In fact, it is deemed the most significant change since the Harbour Bridge. It is expected to ease traffic flow although it is by no means going to fix the high density traffic problems for Auckland during peak times.

Open days for the tunnel were quickly booked out, but we managed to get some tickets and explore the new tunnel. Surprisingly packed for a Monday morning, the surrounding roads were a mess of double parked and pavement sprawling cars.
The efforts of Alice, the big boring machine and the 11,500 strong team who built the tunnel have been met with great public interest and rightly so.
The tunnel lead up is surprisingly aesthetic, with contemporary coloured walls and a lovely Māori inspired carving. Inside is spacious and futuristic with plenty of exits, deluge zones and even a loud speaker system. Despite being 40m below ground at some points, it feels very safe and well thought out. It will be great to see New Zealand’s longest tunnel up and running in the very near future.

Maintaining and upgrading road networks in an ever growing city is an integral part of keeping things moving. However, it does not fix the congestion problems and at what point does more roads discourage public transport commuting?
The tunnel does address this somewhat, with a shared path for cyclists and e-bikers to ride to work safely, but this won’t affect the majority of commuters.
Alongside these road upgrades we need to see concurrent public transport increases, too.
Car pooling efforts rarely succeed as few people really want strangers in their car and if you don’t get on well, that’s an awkward, very slow drive to have. But one car, one person commuting is very inefficient and the congestion shows it.

Public transport is seen as inconvenient, slow and uncomfortable and the cost effectiveness of bus fare compared to fuel and parking clearly does not outweigh these factors for most people.
Buses are not perfect but they can be convenient. Express buses at peak hours are exactly what we need more of – they are often far quicker than driving and more convenient for many commuters by only stopping at main stops. More buses, more frequently, with more stops alongside these road upgrades will reduce traffic jams far more and that requires a massive image shift to keep up with this ever expanding city.

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Stunning Summer Sights!

Take a break from the tech and take the family car for a spin on a classic Kiwi road trip. These not far from Auckland destinations are perfect family day trips.

Bridal Veil Falls

A light trek down south to Raglan, through winding country roads leads to the fantastic Bridal Veil Falls. The easy gradient forest walk takes you to a wide clearing where the serenade of our native birds ebbs away to the momentous roar of Bridal Veil Falls. For the more adventurous, a steep set of steps lead to the base of the fall, perfect for photos and picnics. Little legs may need a piggy back on the way back up to the top, though!

Cruise on through to Raglan and enjoy a well-earned pick me up from one of the many delightful cafes or grab an ice cream and enjoy the serenity of Raglan beach.

Mahurangi Regional Park

One of Auckland’s best kept secrets, Mahurangi Regional Park is a gorgeous hidden treasure. A sharp turn off the highway and along some unsealed roads, cars with travel sickness prone passengers take it easy. Well suited for any day trip, this picturesque park has it all. Plenty of grass for soccer, untouched sand for your favourite beach games and gorgeous glassy water for swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding and even fishing!
If you fancy a good leg stretch, take the cliff walk to get the heart rate up and enjoy those unique views and at low tide, clamber across the rock pools and see what you can find.

A fully packed adventure with plenty to do and a campsite nearby, if you plan to stay for a day or two.

Warkworth

For a chilled, family day out visit Warkworth. Stretch your legs with a cruisy walk along the river and stop off for lunch at Chocolate Brown’s – a cute café with a good range of food and something kids and adults alike will love. Chocolate Brown’s is part café, part chocolate factory! Watch hand-made chocolate, fudge and cakes be lovingly crafted, painted and moulded. So much to choose from and a great way to keep the kids quiet on the way home with a chocolate of their favourite dinosaur!
For spontaneity, try the non-toll road route back to Auckland and marvel at the gorgeous sights as you cruise up and down through the hills. Stop off at a nice place for a while, take your time. Why not, you’re on holiday.