Catherine Smith: Auckland's Waterside

As part of the BIG little City launch of 453 reasons to love your city via Instagram, Weekend Editor Catherine Smith takes in the sea sounds - and tastes - wandering through Auckland's best waterside spots.

Watch the ferries come and go at the Auckland Ferry Building
I've been commuting past the gorgeous old Ferry Building for more years than I care to say, but I still get a thrill every morning as catch a glimpse of her elegant terraces and clock tower. Always, I swear, three minutes different from the one outside Britomart. A building like this speaks of the glory days of public transport (the old railway station is another). Who needs a car?

A summer (or winter) gelato at Valentinos
They claim they have had over 120 flavours over the years, but I've never counted 'cos I find it hard to go past the caramel or butterscotch. The jam donut flavour deserves a look in, too. There's barely room on the shelves for the awards they pick up at the annual ice cream competition (Golds for brown bread, lemon curd and yoghurt, and blackberry pie flavours). A person could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner here. Many do, I've seen 'em on my way to and from work.

Discover our nautical roots at the Voyager Maritime Museum
I love pottering round in this little museum that sums up our city-by-the-sea. From the interactive scenes of all our people's arrivals by sea, the weekend trips by sail or steam boat, through to the best displays of past America's Cup successes (or not). As Cup racing starts in San Francisco, I can't wait to see this place become the rallying location for - here's hoping - the successful Emirates Team New Zealand challenge.

Dream dreams of international travel with the super yachts at the Viaduct Basin
An armchair traveler can get up close to those dreams of luxury cruising in a floating gin palace just by walking the docks around Viaduct Harbour. What could be lovelier than watching buff and tanned boys and girls, in their whiter than white uniforms, polish endless acres of teak decks and steel railing? Dreaming of the life of those ships' home ports - Bahamas, Antibes, Virgin Islands? Judging whether white or navy is a better colour for the paint work? Then heading back to work. Sigh.

Slurp oysters at Soul Bar
Oyster season cannot come around fast enough for me, and Soul Bar - the heart of the Viaduct dining, in my opinion - does Bluffies the best. I love the big day when they fly in shuckers from the South, and feed you oysters every which way. A glass of bubbles, early autumn sun, harbour cruise yachts bobbing in front of you. Could this town be any better?

Or pick up pies at Celia's
Alas, a girl has to work. So on a cold, hard working day, there's nothing more comforting than slipping around the corner to Celia's Pies, a tiny hole in the wall just behind the Tepid Baths. There, the kitchen of this mistress of the New Zealand School of Food and Wine pumps out divine gourmet pies (the lamb from her family's Canterbury farm, the smoked fish from the markets 100 metres away). I'll grab a bag of chilled pies to keep in the freezer for a cheat's dinner when I can't be bothered cooking.

Catherine Smith is the editor of Weekend Life. Follow Catherine on @catherinesmithnzherald on Instagram and @Spacesmith22 on Twitter

- NZ Herald

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