After a quick flight to Auckland we made our way to our Mount Eden hostel. It’s a bit out of the way we later learned, but it’s in a nice quaint bit of Auckland all the same. Part little England, part American West with a Belgian beer pub.
Once we dumped our stuff, we decided to get our bearings and go for a wander. Luckily Mount Eden (a former volcano) was right outside our window. We scaled it, stopping for photographs, to catch our breath or to dodge the early evening runners! At the summit, a view of the city and a sprinkling of rain welcomed us.
It was about dinner time and tonight we had decided to go full backpacker and cook our own meal in the hostel. Wandering to the supermarket it struck us how similar everything looked to the UK, the houses, the weather, even magazines in the post office talked about UK TV.
Saturday we spent the morning trying to figure out the Kiwi Experience details for the trip we’d be on for the next few weeks. I knew we were booked out of Auckland Monday and that was about it, not sure about hostels or our itinerary so I rang. A bit of a wait. A bit useless. But we were told just to get on the bus on Monday and it would all become clear. Ok. Thanks.
Not to waste the whole day we decided to go into town. The buses would be a while so we walked.
Everything interesting on my Auckland guide app seemed to point to us to Queen street and the docks. So we did that. Via a spectacular ice cream shop called Giapo that serves avocado ice cream in solid chocolate cones. Mmmmmm.
At the docks we booked ourselves onto a wine tour the following day. There wasn’t much else to do in town apart from shop, or head to a museum so we hitched up in a bar whilst it bucketed with rain, then headed to the Skytower for a peak at New Zealand’s highest building. With that we felt the ‘must-do’ activities were done. Auckland is a big city but sparsely populated and there’s not lots to do if you don’t own a boat. So we went to the cinema, grabbing the last 2 of 4 tickets available to see the Hunger Games.
On Sunday we headed to the ferry port to skip over from Auckland to Waiheke island.
Only 40 minutes away the climate on Waiheke is different to Auckland and hot and sunny making it good for vineyards. We were driven around sampling Syrahs, Pinot Noirs and olive oils! After the tastings we hit the high street and sampled a few of the craft beers New Zealand has to offer, and there are many, but we could only sample one or two before heading to an oyster restaurant to try the fat meaty local variety along with some excellent Pinot Noir. A day of indulgence indeed.
On our way back to the ferry we bumped into some travellers from Germany, Canada and The Netherlands. Who it turned out had not only been to see the Hunger Games the night before too, but had acquired the remaining tickets and sat next to and behind us. Small world syndrome back to greet us again!
Tomorrow we finally get the Kiwi Experience bus rolling, and after a sleepy few days in Auckland I can’t wait…