AUCKLAND’S HIDDEN HAVEN
Westmere is Auckland’s most-desirable neighbourhood. Find out why this harbourside dwelling is a haven to the stars
Auckland’s sought-after suburb of Westmere is a place for global music and film industry A-listers to come when they’re in town. And one property in particular which is set on Westmere’s most desirable street, Rawene Avenue.
This extraordinary contemporary house, which sits on the waterfront facing west to Auckland’s inner harbour, offers the kind of sanctuary that so many buyers crave today. “Rawene is a very discreet street,” says Jamie Graham from Bayleys Realty Group, Knight Frank’s partners in New Zealand. “The homes built on the waterfront of the desirable central seaside suburb of Westmere are very high end - but only a handful of these homes have this incredible perspective over the harbour.”
Yet, as secluded as Rawene Avenue feels, it’s also just a few kilometres from Auckland’s CBD, the popular shopping and dining district of Ponsonby, and Westhaven Marina, the largest yacht marina in the Southern Hemisphere.
While there is a Hollywood-style level of luxury to this super-sized 739 metre-square house set on a double plot of nearly 2,000 squared metres, its character is distinctly Kiwi. As a stand-out modern home in the ‘City of Sails’, known for its love of maritime pursuits, the four-bedroom property designed by architect David Ponting is all about the connection between house and harbour – emphasised at all times by the 17-metre infinity pool’s refractive dance with the ocean, or from the luxuriant cocoon of the huge living space and its double-height glazed wall overlooking the water.
The property is also outstanding in its bold use of materials, its concrete façade a dramatic and desirably low-maintenance option – and the perfect foil to the sun and storms that sweep across the harbour. The exterior’s stark greyness is softened by the lush planting, including tall palms, that surrounds the house. Inside, richly coloured cedar gives a warming glow to this party-lover’s paradise and family retreat.
EXPLORING… WESTMERE, AUCKLAND
Only minutes from Auckland’s upscale CBD, Westmere is a quiet and enclosed neighbourhood offering some of the finest waterfront lifestyles in all of New Zealand
Once a sleepy suburb of Auckland City, Westmere is now a highly desirable area to live, offering a truly special waterside living opportunity thanks to its outstanding views over Cox’s Bay, plenty of outdoor space and a charmingly quaint selection of restaurants, cafés and amenities. Known primarily for its Californian-style bungalow architecture, Westmere offers an idyllic and sociable lifestyle with a strong reputation for its sense of community.
Defined by the surrounding locales including Cox’s Bay, Herne Bay, Grey Lynn, Western Springs and Point Chevalier, Westmere’s backdrop of lush green hillscapes and sandy dunes can make you forget you’re only a ten-minute drive from Auckland’s city centre. Cox’s Bay is a popular spot for watersport enthusiasts, boaters and divers, and is protected from the west by the Meola Bay volcanic reef and park. Back on the land, Cox’s Bay Reserve consists of three parks, Hukanui Reserve, Bayfield Park and Cox’s Bay Park. A circular walk around the reserve takes around 70 minutes and features a boardwalk through the mangrove swamps, sculptures by local and international artists, and breathtaking views over the Pacific Ocean.
While Westmere as a development is fairly new in relative sense, – most residences are no older than 100 years – the area has a significant history to the indigenous people of New Zealand. The region held great spiritual, physical and cultural importance for the local iwi (tribe) thanks to its abundance of streams, mangroves and wetlands which provided food, flax and tools for industry. The last iwi to lay claim was led by Apihai Te Kawau in the early 1820s, before the land was gifted to the Crown in 1841 by the Māori.
Garnet Road bisects the Westmere neighbourhood and offers a charming selection of shops, restaurants, cafés, as well as a great selection of wine shops. Neighbouring Ponsonby’s reputation for good food has had something of an influence on business owners in Westmere, with popular neighbourhood café Catroux big on light and airy casual dining, while Garnet Station Café is a relaxed spot for locals to work or have coffee from. Fine dining options can be found in and around neighbouring Ponsonby, Wynyard and Wydnham Street within the Auckland CBD.