The Capital of New Zealand, and a city that compared to other areas may not seem like it has as much going for it, more business and financial business are posted here due to it being the capital city. It has links to the highest northern point of NZ, and also has ferry services to some stunning islands, which is why it gets it nickname the city of sails.
I found alot of people down playing Auckland speaking in about it in a negative way, infact people told me not to even stop of stay to long… I therefore took it upon my self to make sure I didn’t judge this city before I even arrived, it actually made me determined to find good things about it.
A new city in terms of its existence and discovery, in 1840 by the British, but before that had a history back to 1350 when the Polynesian people found New Zealand the town of Auckland was cemented, meaning ākarana. With some of the key buildings at that time still in existence including the post office and maritime harbour building.
With one of 3 international airports in NZ, Auckland is the gateway to the world, or more importantly the Worlds gateway to New Zealand and where I flew into when I arrived. A simple bus shuttle takes you from the airport to several stops in Aucklands outer and inner city for 17 NZD one way. Another option is to hire a car, van or just hail a taxi, but this would be double the cost.
Accomodation, there are a lot of different ways to stay in Auckland, me beign on a budget stayed in a Hostel, but Hotels, Airbnbs and Apartments are all a available. I stayed at the NOMADS Backpackers, but other hostels nearby are YHA and Base, Jucy Snooze. All of them have other hostel chains around Auckland and Australia so have very competitive with prices.
Then off I went, lets explore;
1. Due to the little time I had hear i would of loved to explore teh popular islands off the coast of Auckland, however to see but not touch I went for the Island ferry tour , departing 4 times a day, for 2 hours of sightseeing around Aucklands harbour and going under its very own Harbour Bridge.
2. Mount Eden is a 2 mile walk from the city centre, or a 20 minute bus ride (busK2), I rode the bus out to the foot of the Hill, and had a lovely walk around the rim of dominant volcano crater, covered with grass and trees. It has insane views of Auckland is all directions including the suburbs then the city in the other. With views on a clear day of the ocean, harbour and other islands.
3. I decided one of the best ways to see the city was to take advantage of the Free Walking tour which takes you round what makes Auckland. The buildings and the history within Auckland. It starts on the Auckland Harbour, and is a good 3 hour tour, taking you through the centre, past the post office, through the shopping streets.
4. On a rainy, cold or extra day the main Street of Auckland which runs all the way to the harbour is full of high street and high end Shopping, for someone who didn’t realise how cold New Zealand would be after a month in Asia this was perfect for finding a nice jumper and some socks for the trip, with reasonable prices and a lot of choice. In between the shops are restaurants, supermarkets, and a few streets of bars in some of the old style buildings. Something for everyone .
5. The Most expensive icecream i’ve ever had was from a small little unique corner of Aucklands many shopping streets. When shopping with my new friend, one of the shop assistants insisted we visited the ultimate dessert parlour, Giapo was the Willy wonka of of ice cream parlours, with dark chocolate structures like the selfie ice cream, the sky tower and the famous squid cone. Each flavour has a story and a unique taste , one is even named after Cher who visited every day she was playing here. The prices range from 12 dollars upto 35 dollars, but they are a work of art!
6. The landmark which appears and has looked over every street in Aucklands city centre for 20 years, it towers above the other buildings surrounding it is the impressive Sky tower. 328 metres tall with a viewing platform, bungee jumping for the adrenaline junkies, or a platform exterior walk for the curious – https://skycityauckland.co.nz/sky-tower/
7. Climb the Harbour Bridge, NOT THAT ONE, but similar in aesthetics, height and its very own impressive view of Auckland city harbour. They go up every hour with no more than 16 people per group. Its a great way of seeing the city, and if you dare you can even do the bungee jump option! – https://www.bungy.co.nz/auckland/auckland-bridge/auckland-bridge-climb/
8. A little further afield is Waiheke Island , famous for its white sand beaches and the exquisite Awaroa Winery , one thing NZ is ultimately famous for if there wine! A perfect day out with quant little houses and beautiful harbour town of Orapiu. Its also a great location to try out your Scuba diving skills with beautiful clear ocean and coral under the volcanic island.
9. Dat trip to the harbour town of Devonport is also a must do, if not for anything else but the beautiful ferry ride across the harbour, and the famous fish and chips sold along the promenade. Beauty views of Auckland, as well as the cutest little houses all up the hill side.
10. One of the main green spaces in Auckland city centre is Albert Park, named after Prince Albert from England in 1869, it has beautiful trees, water fountains, the clock garden and even a speakers corner (not like the famous hyde park ones but still). It reminded me so much of the Parks in London though and even has a statue of Queen Victoria to show that even half way across the world the British history and connection is everywhere.
11. Due to the huge international university connections in New Zealand and the hundreds of courses available for students from Asian countries to come here, there is a wonderful fusion of deliciously fresh food which have influenced Auckland with its own China town , Little Korea and Mini Bangkok you will be spoilt for choice on Dominion Road
12. Aucklands Waterfront and Viaduct Harbour all integrated along Darling Harbour and a fantastic place to see the fusion of New Zealands, it foods, people, cuisines and views of the open water. With outdoor seating, events, crafts and pop up stalls.
13. Beautifully designed to honour the Mauri culture with tradition woods and carvings as you enter under the canopy with the body of it being concrete for a raw and beautiful finish. With changeable exhibits as well as some beautiful permanent ones, the Auckland Art Gallery is a building full of the culture you crave from the capital city of New Zealand.
14. A little further out of the main city centre is Auckland Botanical Gardens , with a beautiful stately house, which is like something out of pride and prejudice, with 64 acres in an area called Manareuwe. It has beautiful glass house gardens, ponds and the beautiful glass conservatory with a whole garden centre of flowers.
In all Auckland was a cheery hello and welcome to New Zealand for me, with the added spontaneous Bar Crawl I took part in from the Hostel to some of the main bars through I met some great people who I stayed in contact with throughout the trip. I found people friendly, helpful and so proud to show people the history of their country. The weather helped me see a lot more of Auckland and the surrounding islands, areas to make it a wonderful start to the trip or end.
In all I think Auckland has its only welcoming charm, which definitely deserves a chance to enjoy and take in this new capital city.