What we did in Auckland!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Again, apologies for the lack of posts recently as you may know my lovely mum and dad have joined us in New Zealand for a holiday so we have been super busy with them! Managed to find a little bit of spare time now to write up a few posts on our time here so far.

Our first stop, like most travelling New Zealand, was of course Auckland. Now unfortunately we hadn't heard too many good reviews on Auckland - a lot of people were saying there is NOTHING to and it's just like any other ordinary city. Although I would agree with the latter half of that sentence, I believe people are very wrong when they say 'there is nothing to do'. We arrived in Auckland in the afternoon so just spent the first half a day wandering around the city having a look at the shops and cafes and chilling at our hostel, The Attic, which I must say was a really great hostel - clean, spacious, two living areas - one with a big TV, very homely feel and great staff that provided us with loads of info on what to do in Auckland. We spent the evening planning our next two days we had in Auckland with the help of many leaflets and a very helpful guy who worked at the hostel. In the end we decided on a picnic at Mt Eden one day and Rangitoto island the next day. We also decided on a day trip to Waiheke island for the day my parents arrived in Auckland - as we felt like it would be right up their street! In this post I will be chatting about what we got up to in New Zealand's largest city and hopefully making Auckland sound a tad more appealing to those wanting to rush out on arrival.

Mt Eden
We were lucky to have a beautiful sunny day for visiting Mt Eden. Not a hard climb, more of a 15 minute walk up hill walk but totally worth it for the panoramic views over Auckland - making the sky tower completely unnecessary, in my opinion. Having seen nothing like it before, the crater at the top was really quite amazing to see, a gigantic hollowed out centre with a small edged frame for people to walk along and get different views of the city. We found a lush little spot in the sunshine to sit in and enjoy some sushi which we picked up in the city centre (there is A LOT of sushi and Japanese food in Auckland). Seeing Mt Eden is a must do when you're in Auckland as it's quick and easy to do, gives you great views of the city and is completely free! Even though it was super easy to climb we then convinced ourselves that we deserved an ice cream and went to Giapo, an ice cream parlour that had been highly recommended to us by a friend. It was totally worth it and quite an experience - I had a huge scoop of chocolate ice cream inside a Yorkshire pudding, which sounds odd but tasted delish! A perfect first day if you're a tad tired after your flight and want to get a taste of the city.

Rangitoto Island
Recommend to us by the staff at Attic Hostel this was a great day out! Just a short ferry ride (about 20 minutes) from Auckland and costing around $20 for a return it's a simple and reasonable day trip. The island itself is uninhabited by humans but is home to loads of native birds and wildlife. I recommend getting the earliest ferry you can as it's super cool to be one of the first few humans on the island at the start of the day and have loads of time and freedom to explore. Rangitoto is Auckland's most recent and largest volcanic island - making it a pretty spectacular hike. The views from the summit were great and the climb itself was easy to moderate! Pack a picnic as there are no shops on the island, sit on one of the islands beautiful beaches and enjoy! You can also explore volcanic caves which were fun - if not a little dark and scary. If you have a few days in Auckland but fancy something miles away from city life Rangitoto is for you.

Waiheke Island
Last but by no means least is Waiheke. We chose to leave Waiheke until my mum and dad arrived as we had heard it was famous for its scrummy food and tasty wine trails - and was more of a relaxing/mooching kinda day out in comparison to Rangitoto. I have to say that if I had to live anywhere in New Zealand so far it would be Waiheke. Only a 30 minute ferry from Auckland yet so different from busy city life. Laid back, trendy, stunning beaches, lovely people and incredible food and wine - it really did have everything! Me and mum enjoyed hopping in and out of all the quirky little gift shops and collecting shells along the beach. This was then followed by an amazing meal at The Boat House in Onetangi (a little town on Waiheke). The calamari salad and seafood pizza was divine, washed down with New Zealand's Mud House Sauvignon Blanc whilst looking out on the ocean - perfect. We bought a combined ferry crossing and bus pass ticket which cost $40 each, this covered all our travel whilst on the island and was a super handy and officiant way to travel the island and see as much as possible. As we were with mum and dad we didn't go off and do any hiking but there're some great hikes and coastal walks on the island as well. If I was to go back I would be extremely tempted to try out the zip-wire which takes you to different wineries where you can sample the wine as you go (get very drunk).

All in all I can understand why people say 'get out of Auckland as soon as possible' because yes, the city centre is just another city but if you do your research there're so many great little spot in and around the area (mostly islands off the city) that are full of charm and character and really shouldn't be forgotten about if you are travelling to New Zealand.

Elly x

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