Grey Lynn - an exclusive extract

Including Westmere, Pt Chevalier and Arch Hill.

Grey Lynn is a desirable inner-city suburb, seen as a slightly cheaper alternative to neighbouring Ponsonby, and traditional home to free-thinkers and anti-establishment types.

Westmere and Pt Chevalier exhibit some of the same tendencies but beneath the liberal veneer there are more conservative concerns, while cheaper Arch Hill attracts younger home buyers to its smaller villas.

Older people who have lived in the area for most of their lives choose to remain and there are Maori and Polynesian families in long-held family homes.

Westmere and Pt Chevalier are not as outwardly arty as Grey Lynn but the suburbs are full of trendy liberals, often with school-age children.

Being a waterfront suburb, Westmere's attraction has increased markedly in the past decade. Pt Chevalier has always been popular with older people but now it is in demand from young professionals and families as a commuter suburb.

Grey Lynn and Arch Hill's villas and bungalows have mostly undergone renovation during the past decade. There's a group of well-established terraced houses near the West Lynn shops and some apartment buildings on the main arterial Great North Rd.

Arch Hill has narrower streets, smaller workers cottages and more do-ups. Westmere and Pt Chevalier were originally developed as bungalow suburbs in the 1920s and grew directly along the tram routes.

Amenities
Grey Lynn adequately caters for all levels of schooling. There are at least six primary schools in the area, Pasadena Intermediate School and Western Springs College.

The main shopping centre is still rather shabby, while the West Lynn shops are more gentrified. Westmere's little shopping centre is being taken over by the likes of eateries and wine shops.

Pt Chevalier's main shops are also shabby, but a few more interesting shops are opening towards the beach.

The annual Grey Lynn Festival (held in Grey Lynn Park) in mid-summer attracts more than 40,000 people to its stalls and entertainment. Auckland Zoo, Motat, and Western Springs Stadium are just down the road.

Grey Lynn Park has a free toddler pool and sports grounds and Coxs Bay Reserve has sports fields and a sea view. Coyle Park at the end of Pt Chevalier peninsula is a lovely open space with plenty of parking.

The beach is accessed here or further back off Harbour View Rd and is pretty but tidal. The bottom of Raymond St is popular for launching windsurfers. Meola Reef is a favourite spot for dogs and their people.

Real Estate
Pt Chevalier has been a star performer during the past decade - one report says it has had the highest capital gain (143 per cent) of any suburb in Auckland during the 10 years to September 2005 (the average across all of Auckland was 106% during the same time).

In Grey Lynn, the apartment buildings that are popping up where car yards and old commercial buildings used to be on Great North Rd are in high demand.

Best Streets
In Westmere, Rawene St and lower Garnet Rd. In Pt Chevalier, Harbour View Rd and Lynch St. In Grey Lynn, the upper reaches of Ariki St, Beaconsfield St and Elgin St. Popular in Arch Hill is Cooper St.

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