The Big Trip: Auckland

Following on from our relaxing break in Fiji, we flew into New Zealand to start our tour with Kiwi Experience.  We will be doing a review of our time on the big green buses as a separate post so be sure to keep your eyes open for that if you’re interested.

We flew into Auckland with Air New Zealand.  The flight was great, really comfortable, a stark contrast to our experience flying from America to Fiji.

We actually ended up visiting Auckland on three separate occasions, mainly because that’s how our route with Kiwi Experience worked out.  Our initial stay was for a weekend before we headed up north, the second time was an overnight stop as we made our way south and the final time was before our onward flight to Australia.

We didn’t have the best time on the first two visits to the city.  When we landed we checked into the Nomads Fat Camel Hostel.  We had booked it because it was the only affordable double room accommodation we could find that was relatively close to where our first Kiwi bus was picking us up from.  The only good thing going for this hostel is that it was located amongst a bunch of cheap hostel bars.  The building itself was very run down and our room didn’t have a window or any ventilation of any kind.  They had been nice enough to provide us with a fan but all this did was blew the hot, stale air around the room.  It was so hot in the room that within 15 seconds of entering it, you would be sweating.  Even the walls were sweating.  There was one toilet, shower and basin to share with the other twelve guests and a very small and under-equipped kitchen.  This was our first hostel experience and we were dreading what was to come as we would have to stay in hostels throughout both New Zealand and Australia in order to stay on budget.

After an uncomfortably sweaty and sleepless night, we asked the hostel if there was anything they could do.  Their suggestion was to sleep naked with the door open and the fan blowing.  After much consideration, we decided to check out and see if we could find somewhere else to stay.  Fortunately we had booked the room through Hotels.com and their exemplary customer service helped us find alternative accommodation as well as arranged a refund.  We ended up at the Jucy Snooze in a lovely double room with an ensuite bathroom and even a window that opened.  It felt like heaven!

We felt like new after a refreshing shower and spent the following day on the Taste of Waiheke TourWaiheke is an island 11-miles from Auckland and is accessible by ferry.  The tour we did covered tastings at three vineyards, Stonyridge, Wild on Waiheke and Mudbrick, as well as a visit to Rangihoua Estate for olive oil and honey tasting.  We were also treated to the craft beers created at the brewery at Wild on Waiheke.  The tour was wonderful and we really enjoyed exploring the island.  At the end of the tour we requested to be dropped off at Oneroa so we could have a splash in the sea on the beach and grab some dinner before we headed back to the mainland.  We stopped in a fish and chip shop called The Local and had delicious vegetarian burgers and chips, the perfect way to round off the day.

The next time we were in Auckland we stayed at Base.  Whilst we had a private room and air con, the music from the club on the top floor carried down the lift shaft and vibrated through the walls so we had another awful night’s rest.

Our final stay was at the YHA Auckland City.  We had a nice double room with windows we could open and the kitchen was spacious and well equipped but it was right at the top of the city so took us quite some time to walk places.

We didn’t really get the opportunity to do any other tourist activities in the city.  We did eat at Sunflower Thai Vegetarian Restaurant more times than we’d like to admit to and we did stumble across a really cool bar called The Occidental with our friend Tara but we didn’t even make it up the Sky Tower or walk up Mount Eden.  Guess we should hand over our traveller passes and hang our heads in shame, right?

With that in mind, if you haven’t seen our video yet you can view it here.  As always, here are a few of our favourite photos.

Auckland_Harbour_2

Auckland_Harbour_1

Stonyridge_Vineyard

Waiheke

Mudbrick_Vineyard

Oneroa_Beach

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