Swapping life in Dunedin for Auckland's city centre

Life in Auckland's central city

Publish Date : 09 Jul 2019
Swapping life in Dunedin for Auckland's city centre
Dan Windwood and Rachael Francis at the Daldy Street community garden plot they tend to at nights.

Auckland’s city centre is the beating heart of the region's economy and is rapidly increasing with the number of residents growing to more than 55,000.

OurAuckland talks to residents about what it’s like to live in the central city.

It wasn’t easy finding the perfect rental in Auckland’s central city, but Dan Windwood nailed it within 48 hours.

“I only had a limited amount of time to view around 20 apartments in the central city, so I booked viewings for every 15 minutes,” he laughs.

Originally from Nottingham in the UK, Dan and his wife Rachael Francis moved to Otago in 2017 where Dan worked for Dunedin City Council.

While they enjoyed living in Dunedin, they wanted “warmer winters” and a "city life".

When Dan was offered a job as a built heritage specialist with Auckland Council, they jumped at the opportunity to move north.

With only two weeks between jobs, Dan started his meticulous search for an apartment.

“I’d go to bed and he’d still be up at 11pm looking for places,” Rachael laughs.

With two days of appointments locked in, Dan flew to Auckland with his checklist for their ideal rental.

“We wanted parking for a bike, a separate bedroom and a full-sized oven,” Rachael smiles.

Hiring an OnzO bike made travel around the central city quick and easy.

“We wanted to live centrally and be in the thick of it…. we were over doing marathon commutes – like in the UK,” Dan, 38, says.

As luck would have it, halfway through his search, Dan found an apartment in Fanshawe Street.

Soon after, Rachael moved up securing a job with a national social agency.

Her first impressions of the central city was “it was different”.

“I just kept thinking there’s a lot of cranes and a load of traffic,” she laughs. “I couldn’t get over the number of people walking around with pizza boxes and dumplings.”

“It’s certainly not a pie town like Dunedin,” she jokes.

Making the most of Auckland's nightlife

With a love of the theatre, arcade and board games, the couple are often out socialising and making the most of the city’s nightlife.

“Living so close to everything we don’t have to plan, we just go,” Dan says.

They find it cheaper in Auckland to do the things they enjoy.

“We like taking the CityLink bus around the city, it’s so cheap and there are so many characters on it. We also love going to the Academy Cinema’s $5 screenings each week,” Rachael says.

The pair love exploring the city during the weekends. It was while out walking one day they stumbled across the Daldy Street Community Garden.

Swapping life in Dunedin for Auckland's city centre (1)
Rachael and Dan taking care of their garden plot in the central city.

After inquiring on the community group’s Facebook page, they were offered a garden plot of their own. They now have two plots.

“We take our food scraps down there and do our gardening at night… we love it.” Rachael says.

Inner-city living suits Dan and Rachael’s lifestyle, but like many residents they find the construction noise “hard work”.

“Especially at 7am on a Saturday morning,” Rachael says.

With a fondness for outdoors, the couple says they try to get out and explore as much as possible.

“Āwhitu Regional Park is one of our favourite places to go,” Dan says.

They would love to see more green spaces in the city and hope the planned Victoria Street Linear Park city green link happens.

Married for 10 years, the couple were given their New Zealand residency last April.

“We really enjoy being Aucklanders,” Dan smiles.

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