New Zealand: Auckland

Auckland is not just a city it is an area of the Northern island of New Zealand that is home to a lots of different activities, landscapes and people. The city itself is home to around 2 million of the countries 6.2 million people. The city itself is what I would call highly user friendly. Although there isn’t that much excitement going on within the city itself for a tourist or a passer by, I certainly understand the appeal of living in a city such as this. We spent four nights in Auckland as we had just flown in from the UK and had a hell of a flying hangover. Our bodies needless to say were mightily confused, with it being a full 12 hour time difference that we just jumped into. We also wanted to stay for a little while so that we could sort out our Kiwi bank accounts and phones etc – what can I say life admin gets you even when you are living out of a van on the other side of the world.

Ponsonby

Staying a little further out of town allowed us to have time to adjust before the adventures well and truly began.

By choosing to stay at little out of town we in fact picked the hipster part of the town but that was ok with us. The food there was amazing so even if you aren’t in Ponsonby for the night I recommend that you head over and take a look at the restaurants and bars in the area. They are very yum indeed. I can only personally vouch for Mr Tom’s and a couple of places in Street Food Lane but so many had potential to be a culinary experience for sure.

Sky tower

Seeing as it’s the tallest building you can see, you cannot miss it. The sky tower is at the centre of the city and is always a good landmark to see where you are within the city. If you are looking to head into the tower you should look at having lunch or supper there instead. That way you get the food as well as the view, rather than just paying to head up the tower to the viewing deck. We had supper at Orbit 360 at the top that has a rotating dining area whilst you eat which is a novelty. The food was also very nice but we did have better meals around Auckland than up the sky tower although we did really enjoy ourselves.

Mt Eden

Find a nice day to visit the largest Volcano in the area. You will not be short of volcanoes to pick from but we just went straight in for the largest. There are fourteen that are surrounding the city. Take your lunch and have a little picnic at the peak where there are a few benches dotted around with a view of the city and Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. It is sure not to disappoint. Try a pick a sunny day to make the trip however as there isn’t a lot of shelter if the heavens do decide to open.

Waiheke island

If you like wine you will like it here.  Wine and nice views, what more can I possibly say to tell you that when you’re in Auckland that you should make time to head across on the ferry to the island of Waiheke. There are 30 boutique vineyards on the island which we had no problem heading to a few to have a little tasting and a spot of lunch. This lunch by the way, although it did come with a nice little price tag, was the best meal of the trip thus far. This is also me writing this about a week later, and its still the best. A true, taste sensation. This was at Mudbrick Vineyard which we walked to. We also really enjoyed a tasting we had at Cable Bay Vineyard, which came with a very informative sommelier. Try and ask them some interesting, he really seemed to enjoy the difficult questions!

Piha

Piha is on the western coast from Auckland and is home to the big surf. There are warning signs all over the place about the dangers of the rough waters for swimmers so is perfect for those of you who like to catch a wave or two in your free time. The beaches are black on this stretch of the coastline with the rugged iron-sand. So come join the fun on the surfer beaches of Piha. Head up just off the road to a little fish and chip shop called Piha RSA for the days catch; truly some fresh fish is being served there.

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