Matthew Olsen tells Cate Foster why he and his wife Lorissa enjoy living in Wai O Taiki Bay, which lies happily on the edge of the Tamaki estuary between Glen Innes and Glendowie.
We like Wai O Taiki Bay for lots of reasons but one of the main ones has to be because it is so quiet and because it's surrounded by parks there's always somewhere to walk. We have a grassy link between a couple of parks in front of our house and so it's easy to get to either the Tahuna Torea nature reserve in one direction or Wai O Taiki nature reserve in the other. The Tahuna Torea reserve goes right out to a narrow spit of sand into the Tamaki estuary so there's lots of bird life there.
The green space in front of our house is an off-leash area and lots of people exercise their dogs there. As a result our cat has learned to be pretty circumspect about the using the space but we enjoy having the greenery to look out over, and the water views of the estuary beyond.
The orientation out towards the east and the way the land falls away towards the estuary means the whole area gets all-day sun, and a lot of the homes get sea views as well. I have to admit that was a real attraction when we were looking for somewhere to buy. The prices are moderate, you get sea views and as long as you leave before peak time it's less than half an hour by car into the city. We never feel cut-off living here and I think perhaps in some suburbs the same sort of distance out you might. There are trains in Glen Innes but I have to admit I don't use them.
We find it incredibly handy for shopping too. There's the Glen Innes shopping centre for all the everyday basics you need, either from Pak'n Save or the other shops nearby. We always use the independent fruit and vege shops there, everything is always fresh and reasonably priced. Nosh is there as well. It's a great source of high-end small goods and weekend coffee. Also, we both really like that we're so close to the St Heliers Bay shopping centre with the cafes, restaurants and all the rest, and down Roberta Ave in Glendowie there's a little parade of shops. We enjoy the Fix Cafe there and a new little deli there is pretty useful too. Fix has been the best local cafe in Metro Magazine's Top 50 Cafes for the past few years and was the overall winner in 2008, so it's good to have that on the doorstep.
In fact, one of the main attractions of Wai O Taiki Bay is that although it's a pleasant place in itself and it's quite modest in many ways with a wide mix of housing types, it's very close to all the amenities offered by the wealthier suburbs nearby. Whether you want to go to a beach or a restaurant or bar or whatever, they're all reachable within a few minutes' drive. Accessibility to all these things is a major attraction.
The area itself is very well cared for. Whether it's privately owned or public housing, you get a feeling there's a lot of personal pride in where people live.
We like the fact that there is a real mix of people around us and yet we are all just living our lives and enjoying our homes and neighbourhood. This was one of the reasons why we bought here, and the longer we live here, the more we appreciate it.
Matthew and Lorissa's picks
3 Roberta Ave, Glendowie. Ph (09)575 5577. "Friendly staff and great coffee."
Spencer's Gourmet Grocery Store
7 Roberta Ave, Glendowie. Ph (09) 585 1448 or 027 252 2296. "Having a deli nearby like this is always handy."
St Heliers Bay Township
All of the shops, the location across the road from the beach, the restaurants and cafes. "This is where we tend to go for a meal or a drink. It feels more like a little town than a suburb."
Tahuna Torea Nature Reserve
Entrance: 340 West Tamaki Rd, Glendowie. "A lovely place to walk any time of the day. At the end, where the sandspit is, it feels a long way from the city."
Glen Innes Shopping Centre
Apirana Ave, Glen Innes.