About the North Shore
The North Shore of Auckland is easily accessed by a short ferry ride to Devonport from downtown Auckland City or by a drive across the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Transformed over the last few decades, Albany has become one of Auckland City’s most forward-thinking growth areas. The area offers metro and some rural lifestyles, with all types of shopping catered for at the ever-expanding Mega-Centre, an excellent university campus (Massey University), many cafes and restaurants and superb sports facilities (a pony club, tennis centre, rugby and soccer clubs, hockey fields etc). Much of the residential area is now well-established with a mix of modern homes, town houses, apartments, lower-priced homes some luxurious lifestyle properties. There are several well-respected primary schools, a new middle-school (years 7 to 10 inclusive – Albany Junior High), and three highly-regarded private schools, Kristin, Westminster Christian School and Pinehurst. The area has an excellent Park and Ride option for bus travel to central City Auckland every 15 minutes, seven days, all day and into the evening, with feeder services to and from other parts of the Shore.
The quiet, leafy streets of Birkenhead lie on an arm of land tucked between the Auckland Harbour Bridge and Northcote. There are many charming old homes here, and numerous reserves, as well as excellent local restaurants, cafes and small, specialist shops. The area is also home to one of the country’s best-known secondary schools Birkenhead College and a choice of primary schools. Housing is mainly traditional in character, with many quaintly restored villas, but also with a smattering of modern homes and apartments. A unique feature of Birkenhead life is its easy and enjoyable access to central Auckland City by ferry from the local wharf, with a feeder bus operating at peak times. Regular bus services also run in the area, serving other parts of the North Shore and central Auckland.
East Coast Bays
Stretching up a very scenic coastline, from Castor Bay in the south to Long Bay and Okura in the North, this is a large and diverse area with a population to match. Typical residents include retired couples enjoying proximity to beaches, excellent shopping, dining and medical facilities; young families seeking an address in sought-after school zones; immigrants (many from South Africa, Asia and England); and students from Massey University in Albany. It is an area that offers an excellent mix. The area’s state schools include two excellent colleges (Rangitoto and Long Bay), two intermediate schools (Northcross and Murrays Bay) and several primary schools. Three highly-regarded private schools - Kristin, Westminster Christian School and Pinehurst - are also in the area. Bus services operate regularly, with increased frequency at peak times. An excellent walkway links each bay, starting at Long Bay and snaking down the coast to Takapuna.
Spread over the hills and valleys of the central North Shore, Glenfield has matured from ’70s suburbia to a much more stimulating area. Shopping is excellent, from the huge stores of Wairau Park to the boutiques of Glenfield Mall, and there are leisure facilities (including the North Shore Events Centre and a swimming complex), plus easy access to the east coast beaches, Takapuna, Albany, and the Northern Motorway. The area is well-served by bus, including services to central Auckland. There are seven primary schools, plus Glenfield Intermediate and Glenfield College. Several top private schools, including Kristin, Westminster Christian School and Pinehurst are nearby. Parts of the area are also zoned for Westlake Girls’ and Boys’ High Schools.
Occupying the hills and valleys behind Northcote and Birkenhead, and enjoying fine views from some parts, Hillcrest offers great access to almost everywhere on the North Shore. It is also surprisingly close to central Auckland, with the Auckland Harbour Bridge just minutes away by car (off-peak). There are several good primary schools and secondary schools close to the area, as well as a number of scenic reserves, the popular Takapuna Golf Course nearby, and the extensive North Harbour Netball Centre. Excellent shopping surrounds Hillcrest, with malls at Highbury, Northcote Central and Glenfield, the big Wairau Road stores just down the road, and Takapuna’s Shore City complex no more than five minutes’ drive.
The pretty coves of the inner Waitemata Harbour, and the beautiful beaches of the East Coast Bays, lie within a ten-minute car trip.
The area has a great mix of new and old homes, with many well-established gardens and mature trees. Hillcrest has good bus services to Auckland and other parts of the Shore, as well as the option of using Birkenhead’s nearby ferry service (and its feeder bus) to Auckland’s Central Business District.
Milford & Takapuna
Though beautiful older homes can be found in both areas, many of the cream of the North Shore’s modern homes are located in these adjacent beachfront suburbs, both of which also boast excellent leisure facilities, cafes and restaurants. The area has a distinctly coastal flavour. Within walking distance of one another, the two suburbs lay shared claim to many outstanding attractions, including beautiful beaches, Lake Pupuke, a marina, two fine theatres and many of the North Shore’s smartest shops. Milford and Takapuna have excellent public transport, and are an easy trip from central Auckland. Auckland’s most highly respected secondary schools Takapuna Grammar School, and Westlake Boys’, Westlake Girls’, Carmel (girls) and Rosmini (boys) Colleges – are in the area, as well as a choice of primary and intermediate schools.
There is plenty of variety for house-hunters in this sprawling piece of the Shore. Starting just north of the Harbour Bridge, the Northcote district includes Highbury, Chatswood and Northcote Central, with the northern motorway as its eastern boundary. Homes here include large and luxurious, quaint and colonial, investment properties and affordable housing for first-time buyers. Many parts of the area have views of the harbour and/or North Shore peninsula, and there are good leisure, shopping, health and sporting facilities (including North Harbour’s large netball complex) within very easy reach. Convenient transport links residents to other parts of the North Shore, as well as to Auckland’s Central Business District. Excellent educational facilities include Northcote College, Auckland University of Technology’s (AUT’s) Akoranga campus, and a number of primary schools.