It was the volatile Auckland housing market that first saw broadcaster Clint Roberts and his wife Lucy Slight move out to New Lynn; as first-time home buyers, it was a struggle to find anything within their budget and they were completely new to the area.
But six years later and two children later, Clint says the family-friendly suburb is a dream to live in. "It suits us down to a tee for the life stage we're at, at the moment." With daughters Tui and Maggie, this young family need somewhere both peaceful and handy and New Lynn fits the bill, plus it's only a quick drive to the stunning natural scenery West Auckland is known for.
New Lynn might be more of a hub – filled with many fellow young families, but a five minute drive takes you to Titirangi and from there, "it's like a different world," says Clint. With such young children, finding family-friendly cafes are an important part of a relaxing weekend (well, as relaxing as ait can be, going to a café with a toddler and a newborn).
"Tui has just cottoned on to fluffies, and The Tannery does the ones she likes," Clint says. He shares more of his favourite hangouts and hidden gems here, both in West Auckland and further afield.
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Where do you like to go for a staycation?
Wainamu Luxury Tents is the coolest glamping spot out at Te Henga Bethells Beach. Lucy and I stayed there - the people who run it drive you out to your own secluded tent in a big old Range Rover and drop you off. You have an outdoor kitchen, bath and fire all to yourself and a big comfy bed with plenty of blankets. We did one night but could have easily stayed a few.
If you had a friend staying with you from out of Auckland and you wanted to show them the best of the area, where would you take them for a day?
I think downtown Auckland is so much better than it used to be! It's actually something I enjoy showing people now. We train in from out West to Britomart, browse the stores in Commercial Bay, head for lunch in the Viaduct, perhaps Oysters at St Alice, go check out High St and the Art Gallery, then up to Federal St for potato skins, fish sliders and skirt steak at Depot, along with some Hallertau beer on tap.
Where do you think is the most insta-worthy spot in Auckland?
The look-out on the way into Piha Beach, it looks out over Lion Rock and Piha is such a great place to take people because you really get to show off West Auckland along the way. Or up the summit of Mt Eden.
Where is your favourite place to relax?
There are two really good beaches that are five minutes from New Lynn, one is called French Bay and one is called Wood Bay. Really chilled out areas, French Bay has the French Bay Yacht Club as well and from time to time they have food trucks down there as well.
What's a fun local activity for the weekend?
The Titirangi Markets are really good – held on the last Sunday of every month, there's both craft and food at each market. They have really good French pastries and there's a lady who does amazing sourdough.
Which is your favourite island in Auckland to escape to?
Waiheke hands down, but we have a rule that we never go to the same place twice, because there's so much to see over there. the last time we went over, we actually won a prize to have a lunch at Poderi Crisci, which was pretty bougie!
Where's a local hidden gem?
The New Lynn Hospice Shop is a real gem – it sells secondhand furniture and clothes, but it's really well-curated; it's where we got our dining room table and chairs from. There's also a great juice bar called Juice It in Titirangi, it's run out of an old converted mechanics workshop and you can get a great juice for $5.