Yeshe Dawa's Auckland

I’m the owner of The Midnight Baker, a gluten-free bakery in Maungawhau (Mt Eden). I’ve lived in Tāmaki Makaurau for 10 years now. I love food and engaging with where it comes from and how it’s grown. I love that we have a vibrant food culture here and that there are plenty of ways to connect with makers and artisans at the various markets and gardens. I spend my spare time cycling and going for walks, and am enjoying finding new things to do and new parts of our city and surrounds to explore.

Walk the food forest in Point Chev

139 Carrington Road, Mount Albert, Auckland

Sanctuary Mahi Whenua Community Gardens is a lovely place to visit, located at Unitec in Point Chev. We discovered the gardens while walking through the campus, and it is really interesting to see how everyone does things slightly differently in their garden plots. They also have a literal food forest which is amazing to (carefully) walk through. 

The gardens at Sanctuary Mahi Whenua Community Gardens.

Explore OMG inner city garden

257E Symonds Street, Eden Terrace, Auckland

We are building a veggie garden at home and I’ve been really inspired by OMG inner-city garden. They have turned what used to be an empty lot at the top of Symonds Street into a thriving market garden, making use of every single bit of space. They are just up the road from The Midnight Baker and we were lucky enough to use some of their organic, seasonal produce in our café menu.

A worker planting vegetable seeds.

Dairy free ice cream from Duck Island

1/182 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland

Really good dairy-free ice cream can be hard to come by, but I am never disappointed by Duck Island.  They have so many unique and wonderful flavours, including the best range of dairy-free options. It’s our #1 place to take friends from out of town, and the Ponsonby Road store is an especially good spot to people watch on a weekend night.

The inside of the Duck Island Ponsonby store.

Best tacos from Cielito Lindo

14 The Concourse, Henderson, Auckland

Cielito Lindo is a small eatery run by a lovely couple who make the best tacos in town. Every dish comes with their in-house salsa which is super fresh and spicy. My bestie Tash and I meet up there for what we lovingly refer to as ‘Dump Tacos’ because it’s on the way to the Waitakere Refuse and Recycling Centre and its amazing second-hand store, Tipping Point. 

The exterior of Cielito Lindo.

Plant-based burgers at Wise Boys

604 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland

My absolute favourite takeaways are Wise Boys Burgers in Grey Lynn.  Their place is this awesome hole-in-the-wall that has the feeling and charm of an old school takeaway shop but is entirely plant-based. The boys, Tim and Luke, are the nicest people and old foodie friends. Look for the big red roller door and the crowd of happy punters spilling onto the street.

A Wise Boys burger in a box.

Disappear into the Maungawhau bush

Mt Eden, Auckland

I love finding secluded quiet places. The rock forest on the eastern side of Maungawhau felt like finding a spot completely untouched. Located on Withiel Drive, the entrance is little more than a small gap in the bush. Once you’re on the path amongst it all though, you can hardly tell you’re in Epsom. It’s one of the last surviving sections of what used to be hectares of rock forest on the volcanic isthmus. It gives you a glimpse of what the areas might have looked like pre colonisation.

A path at the Rock Forest.

Discover Project Twin Streams

102 Parrs Cross Road, Sunnyvale, Auckland

We’ve just moved out West and I’m really enjoying exploring our new neighbourhood on my bike. Project Twin Streams is a network of paths you can walk or cycle.  My best one so far is the Oratia stream path which will be beautiful in spring and summer.  It is flat and easy cycling.

A stream at Project Twin Streams.

Walk with the Kauri in Okura Bush

Okura Bush, Auckland

Bush walks are my go-to when I need some grounding and fresh air. The Okura Bush walk on the North shore is one of my favourites.  It feels like you are entering another world and time as you walk through the towering Nikau, Pohutukawa and Kauri. It has a set or two of challenging stairs but it's a walk people of all ages can do.

The Okura Bush walkway.

Hunt out vintage finds

131 Pilkington Road, Panmure, Auckland

We have just moved into our own home and wanted to buy as much second hand as possible. This meant scouring all of the op shops in Tāmaki Makaurau. Of all the ones we visited, the Panmure Restore Habitat for Humanity was hands down my preferred. It had the most eclectic mix of homewares, vintage clothing and paraphernalia. And I managed to find a set of bright yellow tupperware that matches my yellow kitchen bench.

Vintage finds inside Panmure Habitat.

Spot the elephants in Western Springs

Western Springs, Auckland

When we lived in Mt Albert, we really enjoyed going for a walk around Western Springs. If you follow the stream on the side of the park closest to the raceway and walk away from Motat, you will eventually see the fence for the elephant reserve of Auckland Zoo where you can watch the elephants hanging out. There are a couple of cute picnic spots down by the stream, too, which are beautiful in summer.

Swans in a lake at Western Springs.