On Awhitu ~ Auckland

Manukau Heads Lighthouse

Last weekend, a photog friend and I headed south of Auckland to capture the historic Manukau Heads Lighthouse at Awhitu – and anything else that took our fancy along the way.

Built in 1874, the Manukau Heads Lighthouse is one of Auckland’s true hidden gems. Located at the very top of the breathtaking Awhitu Peninsula, this Lighthouse is one of a few in New Zealand you can actually climb to the top of and with views to die for when you get there.

Lighthouse-Door

There are plenty of photo opportunities on the way to Awhitu – most notably, Waiuku, a picturesque little rural town nestled at the southern end of the Waiuku River. My favorite attraction (as with every other photographer and artist) is the Kohekohe Church. Built in 1886, this tiny church is framed by a stunning backdrop of rolling hills, which stretches out the length of the west coast and the Tasman Sea – as seen in my photos below.

So, if you’re looking to escape the city for the day without having to travel too far, then grab your camera (and spare memory card) and head to Awhitu – you won’t be disappointed!

KoheKohe-Church

Hay Bayles

Heard-of-Cows-lge

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On Fort Lane

Fort Lane featuring 'Eye Light' art installation

Auckland city is a truly amazing place and I love taking photos (on my humble iPhone 5) to capture its vibrancy and character. One place I particularly like to photograph is the Fort Lane area in Downtown Auckland.

Once a tired and run-down street, Fort Lane has recently been transformed into one of the hottest places in town. Fort Lane is now an elegant shared space, open to vehicles and pedestrians alike. It’s a truly compelling space with a cobbled lane, historic buildings, raw brick facades and fabulous eateries – all beautifully restored to create a convincing New York/Melbourne-esque feel.

Fort Lane is home to the historic Imperial Buildings and Everybody’s Building which front on to lower Queen Street.  What surprised me, is that on the first floor of the Imperial buildings, there are two century-old picture theatres – who knew! Badly damaged by a fire, the Roxy and Everybody’s Theatres had been left untouched, gathering dust for 50 years. Today, the lux Hollywood style Roxy Restaurant and Japanese inspired Everybody’s Izakaya occupy the old theatres.

Fort Lane is now a photographer’s / Instagrammer’s mecca thanks in part to the recently erected art installation ‘Eyelight Lane’, created by Swedish artist David Svensson. The 120 metre long neon light feature is criss-crossed through Fort Lane – see it in the photo above.

I tip my hat to the developers of the Fort Lane buildings who have managed to preserve the elegance and grandeur of a bygone era. I also congratulate Auckland Council, who seem committed to transforming Auckland spaces into people-friendly destinations – all contributing to Auckland becoming a truly international city with a vibrant beating heart.

Everybody's Izakaya facade

On Vulcan Lane

Vulcan Lane Cafe2

I love Vulcan Lane in Auckland and use it often as a thoroughfare to upper High Street, thus avoiding the chaos and clutter of Queen Street. Vulcan Lane is also home to one of my favorite #cleaneats cafes – Raw Power Cafe whose window I shot the above photo from.

For me, Vulcan Lane is one of the few places in Auckland that truly evokes a sense of old European urbanism.  Steeped in history, Vulcan Lane first appeared on Auckland’s plans in 1841 as a narrow service alley linking Queen and High Streets, and as an access lane to the merchant houses in Shortland Crescent, or Shortland Street as we know it today.

The photo below has won some acclaim from various photographic communities in New Zealand, and is my attempt to capture the history and urban ‘Europeanness’ that is the delightful Vulcan Lane today ~ Hope you enjoy it.

The Vulcan