After a perfect two months gallivanting around Australia, it was time for the third leg of our journey: New Zealand. Quite honestly, I had never really given NZ much thought. Mike really wanted to go, and I really didn’t want to go home so soon, so we both thought: why on earth not?! Unlike with Aus, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. But experience has shown me that more often than not, having no expectations delivers the best results! Despite our newfound eagerness, arriving into Auckland was a bit of an anticlimax.
When we first booked our huge trip (months in advance), we had arranged to stay in Auckland for two whole weeks. Big mistake. Do you ever just wonder what was going through your own mind? Me too.
To be fair, we had some friends to stay with and we weren’t sure if we would want to extend this little visit. But things don’t always work out the way you planned (as is life), resulting in us being hostel-bound for a week and a half. Sad times all round really. See below photo for evidence. And no, this is not a prison cell. Apparently.
Nevertheless we did go exploring and found some fun spots. We had heard that NZ can be great for snowboarding, so we thought we should get some practice in. We took the bus from the City centre, and headed for Snowplanet, an indoor ski slope but with real snow.
It was super crowded which made us nervous as beginners, though the 5-year-olds overtaking us was far more off-putting than our general lack of ability. The only thing it seemed that I was capable of, was having a good laugh at Mike’s misfortune. Unfortunately and inevitably, I was then struck down by karma and fell off the blooming ski-lift. Heyho.
The rest of the week consisted of strolling around the Harbour, dipping in and out of cute foodie spots. We ate in quite a few places, but there were so many more we would like to try! For brunch we tried ‘Up Cafe’ and a quirky little place called ‘The Shelf’ which was buzzing with locals (always a good sign).
If you’re after something really special, I would recommend dinner at the Botswana Butchery. Not exactly backpacker friendly but if you’re prepared to treat yourselves, this is the place to do it. Inside is beautifully decorated and I imagine it feels wonderfully cosy once the weather turns. As it was still summertime, we opted to dine outside overlooking the Harbour. Everything about this place will leave you feeling spoilt!
We also popped into the Freddy’s Ice House because they had a deal on and well, you know, we were looking for some excitement. A fun spot to check out if you have nothing else to do, but basically the same as any other Ice Bar around the world (harsh but true).
All in all, I’m not sure that I would rush back to Auckland. Without meaning to offend, it could have been any old City, anywhere in the world. There were no real landmarks, historically or otherwise. It may be one of the most populated parts of New Zealand, but compared to the rest of the Country, it didn’t have much to offer us. Fortunately, there were much better things to come!
Apologies for the terrible quality/lack of photos in this post (clearly I wasn’t feeling inspired)! If you have any suggestions for things to do in Auckland, I would love to hear them!