St Patrick's Square has got to be one of my top three spots to train for Parkour and Freerunning in Auckland. So without the usual need to complain about anything, let's get right into it:
Accessibility: 8/10 As the spot is tucked away down some side streets in the middle of the city, you may need directions to get here - however if you know the general area that you are supposed to reach then you should be sweet. Big cathedral North of the Sky Tower. No great parking anywhere that I know of, but lots of nearby transport hubs.
Location: 9.5/10 A tranquil area situated in the CBD. The spot is made up of a large fountain, grassy areas and is situated right in front of St Patrick's Cathedral, making the square a pretty nice place to visit regardless of the need to train. I am yet to hear of anyone getting kicked out from the spot (so long as you stay off the cathedral itself), in fact it is not rare for people that see us training there to smile and take photos. A medium-large space, it is great for both small trainings and jams. However maybe avoid the spot on Sunday mornings and lunchtime on work days as at these times it can get quite crowded. The main fountain has lighting at night which looks pretty cool but can seriously screw with your depth perception thus making night-training possible but quite a challenge.
Location-wise, this is about as good as it gets in the middle of the city :)
Obstacles: 8.5/10 Tonnes of variety here. The square is made up of flat and terraced sections for all your flipping needs, and is littered with different obstacles and trees. The terrain varies between concrete, grass, a bark/dirt mix and shallow water.
The main feature is the fountain, a great place to train precisions, plyometrics, strides and vaults. The placement of the stones that make up the fountain is systemic, making it simple to practice challenging movements safely away from the water before replicating them on the stones inside the fountain. Furthermore, jumping over water is something that I think all traceurs should practice more. It provides you with a situation similar to roof gaps; where you cannot allow yourself to mess up, however you are just risking some wet shoes and possibly a shorter training session rather than risking your entire life. It will either satisfy your dare-devilry needs, or it will be great practice for the times that you do decide to head up those buildings.
Nearby the fountain are some cool trees and weird tables that you can use if you please, however it is further down the spot that it starts getting pretty interesting. Some paths, a driveway and the courtyard of a nearby building hold many different obstacles. These include rails (both wobbly and super sturdy), waist-high walls, cement poles and a small building that provides a nice wall run/dyno. These obstacles are spaced well enough that you should not be getting in each others' way too much but you could also connect them together into a properly choice line. Marvellous.
Overall: 9/10 All in all, this spot is my jam and I would like to see more people training here and getting truly creative. There are a lot of opportunities for some pretty wack lines to take place, so hit it up next time your in town and show us what you can do!