Auckland New Zeland

We were quickly loaded into a shuttle bus with a bunch of other people and taken to our hotel’s front door step. The shuttle buses are definitely the way to travel from the airport to your hotel. They provide a great service for a reasonable price. Plus you get to sit back and enjoy the view!

The first thing Lisa and I did once we got up to our hotel room was throw down our stuff and tossed ourselves onto the bed and released a big sigh; we finally had made it to New Zealand!! We were both just so exhausted from the long flight over and the hours waiting for the connecting flights.

Auckland Sky Tower

Auckland Sky Tower

After an hour or two of relaxing and running in and out of the hotel because the fire alarm kept going off, we showered and got ourselves ready to see the big city of Auckland. I hadn’t really studied any maps and we only had a rough itinerary laid out with brief descriptions of the different events and sites that could be seen or done at each stop along our way, but nothing set in stone. Auckland doesn’t really have all that much to offer other then its history and parks; there are some attractions but nothing really all that exciting. I logged onto www.virtualtourist.com and checked out some of the recommended things to do in Auckland. I then looked them up on a map and made a mental note about each one.

It was still the morning when Lisa and I started wandering the streets of Auckland, taking in the new sites and sounds and trying to get a feel for Auckland city and its culture. One of the very first things I noticed was that at major crosswalks the signal lights all turned red so pedestrians could cross in whatever direction they choose. This eliminated the need to make two crossings to get from one side to the other. Now that is smart!!

Ship Parked in Auckland Harbour

Ship Parked in Auckland Harbour

We made our way down to the harbour front and checked out the ships that were coming in and sailing past. It was a great view. We just stood there looking around taking in the scenery and the thought of being in New Zealand, this whole new country waiting to be explored by us over the next two and a half weeks. We took a few photos of one another with the spectacular backdrop of the harbour and the other half of Auckland in the background, it made for some really nice photos.

After strolling around the harbour for a bit I decided we should check out one of the parks I had mentally stored in my bad memory. All I could really remember was that we needed to walk quite a ways along the harbour in the opposite direction that we had been traveling and then at some random point when I thought it was right, cut straight back into the city center. Well that didn’t work!! Not really, we found a park but it wasn’t the right one, plus it took about 1,000 steps to get to the top. Lisa was not impressed, so we just parked ourselves on one of the benches near by and sat, caught our breath and talked. As we sat on the bench we noticed this high pitched buzz coming from all around us. I couldn’t see what it was, but apparently it was tons of these bugs in the trees. The noise was actually quite defining just sitting there. After a little relaxation we decided to head back to hotel room and regroup.

Looking Back on the City of Auckland

Looking Back on the City of Auckland

Back at the hotel room we hydrated ourselves and replenished the food in our bellies and decided to give another shot at finding this park, but this time we brought the directions. In a few minutes and a couple of wrong turns we eventually made it to the park we were looking for (Auckland Domain). We walked again up a steep hill to get to the very top of the park. Lisa and I strolled around a bit, took a walk through a flower garden at the top of the hill and then decided to head back as it was getting late and we needed to freshen up before our supper at the Sky Hotel Observatory Restaurant that night. As we headed back down the hill we discovered this great little path called Lovers Trail. It looked interesting, so we took the path down. It turned out to be the best site seeing we had seen yet!! The trail wound back and fourth over this little stream the entire way, it was very secluded and surrounded by very dense bush. At one point I told Lisa I felt like I was in the movie Jurassic Park.

Back in our hotel room Lisa cooled off and I tried contacting my mom using the Internet Telephony software Skype. On my second attempt my mom picked up and the conversation came through clear as day. We chatted for a little while and I told her everything had gone smooth and then let her go.

Supper in the Sky Tower

Supper in the Sky Tower

Lisa and I made our way down the street toward the Auckland Sky Tower, the tallest building in New Zealand. We arrived and boarded an elevator with a few others. The elevator started to go up and in no time we could see through the glass doors of the elevator as Auckland grew smaller below us. At one point Lisa tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to her feet. She was standing on a glass section of the floor. She gave me this awkward look but didn’t move. We made our way to the Observatory Restaurant and were quickly seated. Our server mentioned two free appetizers, so we said bring one of each. One was Scampi “something” I can’t remember and the other was Scallop “something” I can’t remember that one either, but anyhow both tasted great, so I was really looking forward to the rest of the meal. However Lisa isn’t really fond of sea food and was a little apprehensive of what was to come.

The rest of the meal ended up being a high end buffet, ranging from seafood, to cuts of beef and ham. The buffet pretty much had everything you could imagine. I thought the rest of the meal ended up being kind of blah; none of the food from the buffet really jumped out at me and made me take notice. For the $55 per person charge, I could have had a better meal at one of the restaurants we passed on the way there.

By the time we got down from the tower it was closing in on 9 P.M. Lisa and I were feeling quite exhausted and took one look at each other and agreed that that was enough for today, pointed our feet in the direction of our hotel and started walking.

Day 3

Auckland Sky Tower Restaurant and the Harbour in the background

Auckland Sky Tower Restaurant and the Harbour in the background

It was an early start for us today. We had set our alarm for 6:05 so that we could get up, pack, eat and go pick up our rental car from Ace Rentals just a few blocks away. Well that didn’t go exactly to plan. When we were checking out we were told that a continental breakfast was included with our stay so we decided to claim our free breakfast. We finished eating around 7:30 and made our way over to Ace Rentals, the car rental company, before 8:30.

Once we arrived at Ace Rentals Lisa and I quickly made our way in, gave our last name, signed a few documents, took some complimentary maps, got some directions and headed on our way. The very first thing I did was try and put on the turn signal to leave the parking lot of the car rental company but because everything is backwards I had accidentally put on the windshield wipers. Lisa & I had a good laugh. Not more then 3 minutes down the freeway we made a wrong turn and got lost. We drove for nearly 20 minutes on the freeway in the wrong direction, the whole time looking for somewhere to make a U turn. After a few minutes and no U turns in site I decided to exit the freeway and stop for directions. The first person we asked was a girl who looked to be about 16, she hmmm’d and haaa’d for a bit then came up with some directions to get back. So Lisa and I hopped back into the car and started driving. After about another 15 minutes and no sign of the Freeway we stopped to ask another person. This time I choose a younger male, who looked to be about 20, for directions. I figured he’s probably been to the city center a couple of times to check out the night life. Sure enough, after speaking with him we were back on the right track and only about an hour behind schedule. Lisa sat back and took in the spectacular scenery while I got accustomed to driving on the wrong side of the road, oh and on the wrong side of the car too!!


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