I’ve always said it pays to have friends and family across the globe. Well, 13 years after my friend Ben and his family visited me in Canada, I finally got to pay them a visit in New Zealand. Two nights of free accommodations helped out with the trip budget as well (Thanks, Ben!!).
I arrived in Auckland city and was immediately reminded of Vancouver. The architecture, the layout, the multiculturalism, the pace, and culture I felt walking through the concrete jungle reminded me of Van-city. While getting epically lost looking for a bus stop, I did some exploring: feeling at home in the big city. It was a drastic change having just flown in from Nadi, Fiji: a place not quite as commercially developed or industrialized. Strange how I’ve now identified these features as “homey.” The only real note-worthy building to mention was the Sky Tower that everyone seems to hate in the city. Imagine the CN Tower, Seattle Space Needle, or Sydney Tower, it’s really just another skinny tall building tourist attraction that you can identify a city with. All in all, Auckland is a nice city for the little amount of time I spent IN the city and would have no problem visiting again one day!
After a quick energy boost with a cappuccino (and brownie) in a coffee shop, not to mention the free wifi that I needed to find that silly bus stop, I found BUS 11. I was on my way to a familiar face!
After a BBQ and a bottle of NZ Sauv. Blanc, it was time to pack it in for the night and get rested for the morning hike. We bussed into the city and took the ferry across to Rangitoto Island Scenic Reserve, a dormant volcanic island with an incredible view of the city and great trails. It was during this hike that I decided I needed to get back to the gym on a regular basis. On the island, there were hidden caves to climb through and multiple trails around the crater. It was a great morning hike that could be done at virtually any skill level. If you’re claustrophobic, don’t go in the caves.
TIP: Bring a flashlight. You’ll thank me later for that one.
Obligatory Food Review From An Amateur Foodie
Once we got back to Auckland we headed back to Ben’s to wash up and went out for dinner at a little Chinese restaurant with a bunch of his friends. The restaurant was called Chinoiserie, located in Mt. Albert. They have great soft sticky buns and handcrafted cocktails. The heated patio was great for the spring weather in Auckland and all affordable prices. I would definitely recommend this to anyone in the Auckland area who enjoys some Asian Fusion food.
Two nights in Auckland was enough to get a taste, but I’ll have to go back one day to experience a little bit more of the city and what it has to offer. I can’t wait one day to do all the spectacular hikes and adventures on the North Island of New Zealand. Counting down the hypothetical days until I get back there. One day, one day.
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