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Opinion: The lockdown is bringing ‘country quiet’ into Auckland City

I’ve spent half of my life living in the country and half living in Auckland – last night was the quietest I’ve ever heard the city in my 20 years here, as the Covid-19 lockdown begins.

There are a number of noticeable changes.

1) There isn’t a ‘hum’ of the motorway. Even on a quiet day you can usually hear the distant hum of the traffic on various motorways. Where I am, I can no longer hear it. It’s just quiet.

2) Very few flights. As someone who loves planes and lives on a flight path for Auckland International Airport I’ve really noticed the drop in international flights overhead. What used to feel like a constant sound is now a rare and noticeable sound. I find myself checking FlightRadar every time a plane flies over now, just out of huge curiosity – why is it flying? where is it going? I wonder who is onboard that flight and why?

3) The sound of the Tūī bird (Tui). Every evening for a week now I’ve had the beautiful sounds of a Tūī. Sometimes in my neighbour’s tree, sometimes in my own yard. What a gorgeous sound. Most years I do hear them but this year it’s much more obvious and frequent. (perhaps I’m just noticing it more with lack of other things going on around me).

4) Very few cars in my streets. I live in a fairly quiet suburb but even then you can have a car driving past every 60 seconds. I haven’t notice many vehicles today other than recycling and rubbish collection trucks and one car.

5) In the middle of the day I step outside and I can hear crickets chirping, rather than the sound of a city.

It’s an odd feeling going from knowing you’re in NZ’s largest city, to now feeling like I’m in a small town in rural NZ. But it’s one positive I’m making the most of, when other things don’t feel normal. In fact as I finish my last sentence here, that tūī is back as a light rain shower falls – silver linings and all that jazz. 🙂

  • Image – Last night in Central Auckland / Justin Bennett, TWR Media
  • Story written by head forecaster Philip Duncan,


Robyn on 28/03/2020 7:32am

Yes I have noticed a distinct quietness as no hum of motorway traffic. I even heard a male and female morepork last night, so felt privileged being in an urban area of North Shore.

Derek butcher on 27/03/2020 9:21pm

I am experiencing the exact same thing and it really is wonderful. I live in Whangarei so nowhere as noisy as Auckland but all so quiet and I awake to the birdsong which is very clear.
One of the benefits of the lockdown and we can appreciate more the world and country we live in.

WW Forecast Team on 27/03/2020 9:53pm

Just the sounds of nature and the wind blowing in the trees is very pleasant to the usual noise of people and cars.
Hope you’re well Derek, stay safe 🙂
Phil D

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