Following the bag debacle, I wasn’t in high spirits when we arrived in Auckland. In fact I was pretty upset and miserable. We took a bus to Auckland CBD and wandered to our accommodation. We’re using AirBnB for our initial few stays in New Zealand. We like the idea of staying with locals, and enjoy having more privacy than in a hostel. I know you can get private rooms in hostels but this way works out cheaper!
So our first few days we stayed with a couple right in the centre of the city. When we arrived they were away. so we had the run of their house. Complete with a fully stocked kitchen, bathroom and access to laundry. I had just the one change of clothes which I wore on the plane. So I ended up wearing some of Ian’s. Gents, HOW DO YOU WEAR BOXERS? They’re the most uncomfortable underwear I’ve ever tried!
Anyway, we spent the first few days literally walking around the city. And I mean, we walked a heck of a lot, wracking up nearly 50k steps in 2 days. (I’m obsessive about getting my 10k a day now.) We checked out Auckland CBD, tried some cool coffee places, and our first foray into the New Zealand burger scene. These guys really like their burgers! My favorite find was stumbling upon the beautiful Emily Place, where there are some lovely trees growing. I was totally getting a Whomping Willow vibe. I have yet to find out what kind of tree they are but very pretty.
We had to have an evening in on day two, as the airline were dropping my lost bag off at our apartment. So we had to hang around and wait, and we were pretty exhausted. After it was delivered we pretty much had an early night. Thus we missed the Rugby World Cup match, which would have been amazing thing to experience. But I got my stuff back!!
The next day was a bit mad. It was a Sunday, and we got up and were immediately met by drunk people playing Rugby in the streets. The bars were still full and people everywhere were partying hard, and it was Halloween!
We took it easy though. A combo of jetlag and a stressful few days meant that we went a bit further afield from the city centre instead. Venturing out to Parnell, which is a really cool area, and checked out a coffee roastery called Espresso Workshop. If you like your coffee, I would recommend popping in to see these guys.
For a big city, there’s a lot of greenery around. It reminded me very much of Vancouver, where there are lots of parks and wide streets, which makes it feel open and unoppressive. There’s a great park by the Art museum which I really enjoyed walking around as well, and took a few nice shots (see right.) The Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tāmaki is itself really interesting, with an array of Maori and International art and photography. A great destination to while away an afternoon.
We spent another morning meeting up with an old work colleague of mine, who has been in New Zealand about 2 months now. It was really interesting chatting about his experience in the country and Auckland so far. I’m sure we’ll bump into each other again soon!
Another highlight of the city was for us, the wharf and waterfont, which we found to be quite beautiful. We enjoyed walking along the waterfront in the evenings, and discovered a lovely little book swap/library in a container on the wharf, such a cute idea!
Overall, Auckland really did wow me, way more than I expected it too. We’d been told that Auckland was the big characterless city, so we were kind of blown away. It is a big city, but it’s a good looking one, and the people are friendly and approachable, the streets are clean and inviting, there’s a lot to see and do, and we are definitely looking forward to revisiting later in the year!