Catherine Smith talks to a couple who went West and are loving the lifestyle.
Nick Fracture and Nadia Poole moved to New Lynn two years ago, when they bought their first house. They proudly consider themselves "New Westies" and have already become fans of this part of town. Nick is creative director of his website design company Fracture and Nadia is a former wardrobe assistant on Outrageous Fortune who now hires props and costumes to the film industry. Nick tells us:
"I grew up in Remuera and have been trying to move as far away as possible ever since. I'd flatted all over - Newmarket, Morningside, Mt Eden - but always wanted to live somewhere green. Our dream is eventually to live somewhere in the trees, a treehouse right out west and even more remote. So we looked in West Auckland where we could afford, we looked at Avondale too. But we needed a lot of room as Nadia and I are hoarders - she's starting a vintage clothing hire business for film and TV and the front two rooms of the house are packed with things. Plus I needed a garage for my 1973 Holden HQ, and there's our big old cat, Pookie. So the house is a big 30s stucco house with lots of storage. It's a neighbourhood with a couple of older houses on the street, all with big sections and native trees. In those days the Crown Lynn factory was out here and then it was vineyards and the Titirangi wild bush. Now it's all pretty genteel.
New Lynn itself is definitely the go, the railway station's being built and there's lots of building going on. Lynnmall is really convenient and there's a nice feel about it. There's the park just down the road with heaps of kids playing and it feels very cosmopolitan - but then you could say that about lots of Auckland now.
Nadia and I drive into work, but we used to take the train before she worked in K Rd - the station is about 10 minutes from our house and 10 minutes from work. I'm really thinking of getting a bike for the summer - I've not done the cycle path to town yet.
One of the reasons for coming out west was the kickboxing gym Rebel Lee Gar (before I was lazy).
John is a great trainer and an amazing guy, he has the best work ethic. He's helped a lot of people who could have gone the wrong way. It's one of the coolest things about New Lynn, people like John. There's people who grew up here, who've been here since the old days, and then older families now selling to younger urban professionals, first time buyers.
It's a lifestyle choice to live out west, not just financial, we wanted to be close to the bush and the beaches. West Auckland does have its own culture. It's a hard case, Westie thing, that was here well before Outrageous Fortune started screening. Then there's a real eco, crafty thing happening out here - Nadia is doing slipcasting classes at Rutherford College.
It's the great stuff nearby that we love - in summertime we head off to the beaches, Karekare is just awesome, even when it's freezing cold. Piha and Muriwai are good, but we like that Kare is not jammed like Piha. Only last summer I started going on all these bush walks with my friends - there's an information centre [in the Waitakeres] and we've tried a couple of different ones.
They are all amazing, it's nice to be that close to real bush, I like being close to nature when you sit in a chair all day.
And then Green Bay Beach is just around the corner, I try to get up early to go for a run up through Green Bay, I love running out there (or if I really push it, I can do a 10 kilometre loop around to Titirangi and back).
We go into Titirangi to the Indian restaurant Masala, it has the best butter chicken and it's only five minutes away.
There's a really good Vietnamese, HaLong, which has the best deep-fried wontons, I eat there quite a lot. Oh, and there's a great fish and chip shop in Green Bay too.
My favourite place is off the beaten track in Oratia, called The Packing Shed - I only know how to get to this place and back otherwise I get lost. There's a funny little art gallery, a junk shop called Just Plane Interesting, and absolutely good food, with geese running round. Weird but pretty cool and it has awesome junk for Nadia and me. It's where we take friends when they come over."
* Karekare beach
* Waitakere bush walks
* HaLong Vietnamese Restaurant, 26 C Delta Ave, New Lynn, ph (09) 826 0809. For the best deep fried wontons in town.
* Masala Indian Restaurant, 400 Titirangi Rd, Titirangi, ph 817 5252. For their delicious butter chicken (Masala also has branches in Birkenhead, Mission Bay and Papakura).
* The Packing Shed, 99 Parrs Cross Rd, Oratia, ph (09) 835 1557. For the cafe's Big Westie breakfast, the art gallery, Just Plane Interesting junk shop and the Oratia Farmers' Market every Saturday morning.