The City of Sails
Two days later I finally made it to New Zealand. Landed at 1:30 in the morning and tired as hell. Add in time to get through customs, the taxi ride to the hotel, checking in to the hotel, then having to wait to change rooms because they gave us the wrong room, it was well past 3 in the morn before my head hit the pillow. We woke up the next morning ready to explore Auckland but little did we know that a storm has decided to dump rain on the city. And being on the 13th floor of the hotel we were being hit by strong winds. It was the soggiest holiday Auckland has seen in years and the rain made the front page news.
Since we had a kitchen in our hotel room we decided to cook dinner. Walked down to the market near the waterfront and bought some lamb chops. Groceries are not cheap here in Auckland. You can buy live green mussels at the grocery store! We ended up spending more on groceries than what we probably would've paid for eating out.
The rain stopped so we decided to go get drinks on our first night in Auckland. We pre-loaded at the hotel bar...it was happy hour! Met some people from Tasmania and we ended up bar hopping with them. We all got drunk and then couldn't remember the way back to the hotel so we wandered around Auckland for a bit until we finally gave in and called a taxi. We weren't far. It was a short 5 minute drive back to the hotel. Oh well.
Woke up the next morning not feeling to good. We walked down to get some coffee at a nearby cafe. While I was sipping my coffee I looked up at the television and realized that we were all watching a professional dart match. We then decided to go check out the neighborhood called Ponsonby just outside the Auckland city center. It's a nice neighborhood. Trees line the streets and the homes are quirky and almost all have views of the Auckland skyline. Lots of bars and restaurants as well but we ended up by deli meats and cheeses to eat back at the hotel.
By the time we got back to the hotel it started to rain again and the downpour would not let up. We decided to stay in because of the rain and get up early the next morning to catch a ferry to Waiheke island. Auckland city sits on an isthmus with natural harbors on each side. The waterfront is constantly dotted with yachts giving it the city of sails nickname. Massive cruise ships could also be seen in the harbor.
Waiheke island is a 40 minute ferry ride and the weather was worlds apart. The sun decided to show up on Waiheke island. We got to the island right at lunch time. I had some fish and chips or shall I say fush and shups...that's Kiwi talk.
With our bellies full we went on a hike of that took us from lush tropical reserves to white sandy beaches. At times the humidity was stifling while hiking through the reserves. There was a group of kiwis camping in some of the reserves and I don't know how they can handle the humidity.
On the ferry ride back to Auckland I could see the clouds hovering over the city and was bummed to leave behind such good weather. The kiwis didn't seem to mind the inclement weather since a bunch of them were decked out to party it up for New Year's eve in Auckland. We decided to head down to the Viaduct harbor for new years and because it's where all the locals are headed. Tons of bars and restaurants down there and best views of the fireworks too. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures from New Years and I blame it on the alcohol. I'm still piecing together the night. I know we bar hopped with some kiwis, a swede, someone from the Philippines, and some Aussies. I missed the countdown for the 2nd year in a row and didn't even realize it was the new year until I saw the smoke from the fireworks. What a great night!!!