Auckland & Waiheke 11/07

Home Up Auckland & Waiheke 11/07 Auckland 4/01 Blue Mountains 11/07 Melbourne 4/01 Sydney 11/07 Sydney 4/01

A quick Auckland stopover & a visit to Waiheke Island...

Auckland skyline view from Waiheke Ferry

Heading home from Sydney over Thanksgiving break, Craig and I stopped over in Auckland for a couple of days to get a taste of the country. I had been to Auckland in 2001 with Ben and wasn't impressed. This time we stayed closer to the Harbor and took a side day trip to one of the close-in islands, Waiheke. I wasn't any more impressed this time. In my opinion, Auckland has a lot of what Sydney has, just not quite as good.

Friday November 23rd

We arrived from Sydney around 4pm and took the Airbus to SkyCity, which was a couple blocks from our hotel, the Auckland Crowne Plaza. The drive from the airport was very long due to heavy traffic almost the whole way in. We checked in just after 6pm but had to change rooms because of an air conditioner problem. Hungry by then, we walked the few blocks to the Ferry Building and looked for a restaurant. We ended up at a tavern called the Shakespeare, where we finished the evening with pub food and beer.

 

Waiheke Island Matiatia bay

Saturday November 24th

After breakfast at an Esquires Coffee Shop near the 328 meter tall Sky Tower (first picture above), we caught the Kelly Tarlton's bus from SkyCity to Takaparawha Point. The second picture above is the view of Auckland's skyline from Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World which is a unique zoo and historical spot specializing in underwater and cold wildlife. Their penguin area is especially good (third picture above). Back in town by the early afternoon, we grabbed the Linkbus to Auckland's War Memorial Museum in Parnell where they had an excellent special exhibit on Darwin. From the museum, we walked the whole length of Parnell to Iguaçu, one of my favorite restaurants in the world, where we ate an early dinner at a sidewalk table. Inspired by the Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc I had there, I bought a bottle for our refrigerator on the way back to the hotel. We then headed up the Sky Tower to catch a sunset view over the city (fourth picture above).

Sunday November 25th

The last day of any far east trip is one that you get to live twice, due to crossing the international date line. Our flight out of Auckland was at 11pm, arriving LA at 2pm the same day. The weather was perfect on Sunday morning so we took the 45 minute ferry ride (first picture above and large picture top of page left) over to Waiheke Island to explore. Arriving at the ferry terminal (second picture above) at Matiatia Bay (third picture above) we booked a bus tour of the island stopping at Enclosure Bay (fourth picture above), Palm Beach (first picture below) and Onetangi Beach (second picture below). Much of the interior of Waiheke Island is wine country (third picture below) making for a very beautiful landscape. We headed back to Auckland in the late afternoon (fourth picture below) before grabbing dinner and heading for the airport for our trip home.

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