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Day 4@Auckland, New Zealand

10 Apr

Today’s plan is to take the ferry to Devonport. It was really sunny, and my legs were burning under the sun while waiting for the ferry to leave the pier. Finally, the ferry left at 12pm, it was only a 12-minute ride and the view was spectacular.

Ferry ticket to Devonport

Ferry ticket to Devonport

View during the ferry trip

View during the ferry trip

View during the ferry trip

View during the ferry ride

I was planning to visit Mount Victoria, as I heard the view from above was great, so I walked along Victoria Road and climbed up Mount Victoria. It’s easy to find your way up, but be aware, it is a pretty steep slope, yet definitely worth it. On top of the mountain, you will have a very nice view of Auckland downtown and nearby islands. It would also make a nice place for a picnic or just lying on the grass for a rest.

Slope up to Mount Victoria

Slope up to Mount Victoria

On top of Mount Victoria

Cute mushroom decoration on Mount Victoria

Cute mushroom decoration on top of Mount Victoria

Mobile cafe on top of the Mount Victoria

Mobile cafe on top of Mount Victoria

View from Mount Victoria

View from Mount Victoria

View from the top of Mount Victoria

After spending some time on Mount Victoria, I went back to Devonport downtown and had a walk there. There were a number of cafes, restaurants and little shops. I got snappers and chips at Catch 22, which was just okay. There were lots of chips, but I would like it with more salt, instead of just a small pack that they provided. There were two pieces of snappers, one large and one small. The smaller one was good, but the larger one wasn’t that good, as the batter wasn’t crispy. Overall, the fish was good.

After lunch, I had a walk along the coast, and then I took the ferry back to downtown Auckland, and that was basically the end of day 4.

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Day 3@Auckland, New Zealand

21 Feb

Got on the Auckland Explorer Bus at 9:30am, and paid NDZ$40 for a day pass. I got off at the 1st stop, the Bastion Point Lookout, which I think is a must. From there, you get to see a very beautiful view of the coast. If I have time, I would definitely spend more time there.

Meadow at Bastion Point Lookout

Meadow at Bastion Point Lookout

The view of the coast from Bastion Point Lookout

View of the coast from Bastion Point Lookout

Overlooking Auckland CBD from Bastion Point Lookout

Overlooking Auckland CBD from Bastion Point Lookout

Then I got off at stop 5 (Auckland Museum), and then changed to the satellite bus, which took me to Mount Eden, the most famous landmark in Auckland. After I got off, I had to walk all the way to the top. It’s a pretty steep slope, but definitely worth it. The view from above is amazing, and it provides good views in all directions over the city. On our guide, it said that the tour buses are banned up on the mountain, but when I left, I heard that it is still available and replaced by smaller vehicles, so better double check that if you want to visit there but don’t want to walk up the slope yourself.

Bowl-like crater at Mount Eden

Bowl-like crater at Mount Eden

View from Mount Eden

View from Mount Eden

View from Mount Eden

View from Mount Eden

After visiting Mount Eden, I took the satellite bus back to the museum. I got a discount with my Explorer ticket and paid NZD$5 to enter the museum. This is a good place to spend a few hours so as to understand the history and culture of New Zealand. You can also pay a bit more to watch a performance, which I believe is performed by the natives.

Auckland Museum

Auckland Museum

Later I got an American hot dog at one of the mobile vendors, and sat down at a nearby area, where they were having a live music performance for free. The hot dog was just average, though I like the sweet chilly sauce.

Mobile vendor selling hot dogs

Eye-catching mobile vendor

American hot dot

American hot dog

Then I headed to the Wintergarden, which is near the museum and it’s free of charge. Not a lot of flowers blooming, but I did get some good shots of some lovely flowers.

Wintergarden

Wintergarden

Flower at Wintergarden

Flower at Wintergarden

Fern at Wintergarden

If you don’t want to spend time figuring out the public transport system, the Explorer bus is perfect. However, if you want to spend some time on each attraction/stop, I don’t think you will be able to. It’s better to find out where you want to go and plan ahead, so everything fits into your schedule. It is also recommended that you visit the places on the satellite bus route first, before heading to other attractions on the main route, as the satellite bus has limited service hours. You could, of course, pay a bit more and get a 2-day pass, but for me, I don’t think it’s really necessary. If you need to visit some of those attractions, I’m sure you can go to the transport center and ask for directions.

Cute ducks at the park

Cute ducks at the park

Weird tree at the park

Weird tree at the park

Headed back to the city and watched one of the street performances, as Auckland was holding the International Buskers Festival at that time. The performers come from different parts of the world, and their performances are entertaining and fun.

Street Performance

Then on the way back to my hotel, I got a burger from Burger Fuel. The C N Cheese burger is huge, it has a beef patty, lettuce, tomatoes, aioli, cheese, tomato sauce, onion, sesame bun. The burger is good, and I particularly like the sesame bun, as it’s slightly toasted.

Burger Fuel

C N Cheese Burger

C N Cheese (NZD$9.6)

Day 2@Auckland, New Zealand

9 Feb

Early in the morning, I went to the City Farmer’s Market in the centre of Auckland’s Britomart precinct. There weren’t a lot of stalls there and it was a bit quiet. They were mainly food stalls, selling street food, bread, fruits and vegetables. Nothing much special when compared to Sydney’s weekend markets, so I just hang around for a while and left without buying anything.

City's Farmers' Market

City Farmers’ Market

Then I went down to Quay Street and walked towards Auckland’s Fish Market. I ended up at a few different locations, the Princes Wharf and the Viaduct Events Centre where they were holding the Auckland Seafood Festival. There were a lot of people lining outside to join the Festival, but I wasn’t too interested in paying NZD$20 to enter, so I just walked along the Waterfront. Found this interesting place at Wynyard Quarter where they have a kids’ playspace, some interesting buildings and a small market with a few stalls selling food, clothing and accessories. Definitely should visit this place and walk around!

Interesting advertisement

An interesting ad at Princes Wharf

Wynyard Quarter

Wynyard Quarter

Silo Park

Interesting buildings and art works at Silo Park

Wind Tree

Public Art: Wind Tree

Dockline Tram

Dockline Tram

Originally I planned to grab lunch at the Fish Market, however nothing really attracted me. I really miss the crowded Sydney Fish Market. One place worth visiting at the Fish Market though, it’s the little grocery place where they were free tasting. At last, I ended up buying a pork sausage roll at one of the food stalls at Silo Park, which was pretty good. It came with a pork sausage, aioli, carmelized onion and ketchup.

Auckland's Fish Market

Auckland Fish Market

Pork Sausage Roll

Pork sausage roll (NZD$7.80)

Then I sat down under the sun, lying on the grass, eating my pork sausage roll and wrote some postcards.

After that, I started wandering around, I ended up at Victoria Park first and then Victoria Park Market, which I believe hasn’t really completely re-opened yet.

Later I headed towards Auckland Art Gallery, a nice place to spend some time there, especially to enjoy some artworks by local kiwi.

Auckland Art Gallery

Auckland Art Gallery

After that I went to Albert Park for a walk and walked around the campus of University of Auckland nearby; at last I reached Beach Road then back to Queen Street.

Albert Park

Albert Park

University of Auckland

University of Auckland’s campus

On the way back to my hotel, I got some more postcards, bought a box of sushi for NZD$5, which was okay, and a peanut brownie cookie from Mrs Higgins. It was good, just wasn’t that special, it’s basically a brownie in the shape of a cookie.

Sushi

Sushi (NZD$5)

Mrs Higgins' Peanut Brownie Cookie

Mrs Higgins’ peanut brownie cookie (NZD$1.80)

Day 1@Auckland, New Zealand

6 Feb

I made a search and found that Air New Zealand had the lowest one-trip flight fare from Sydney to Hong Kong, apart from China Airlines. I went to Air New Zealand’s official website, and found that if I stop over at Auckland, it would only cost me an extra AUD$30, so I decided to stop over for 5 days, which was the option with the lowest fare.

I’m sure it’s not my first time in New Zealand, but I don’t remember where I have been and which airline I was on when I was young. As far as I remember, I haven’t been on Air New Zealand for the last 12 years. I have been flying a lot with different airlines these few years, so I thought it would be interesting to see how other airlines do and make a comparison.

The boarding time printed on the boarding pass was one hour before the flight departs, but we only started boarding 25 minutes before. I think they had some problems with passengers who booked their tickets with another airline, because the flight was a shared code one, so they firstly had to find these passengers and change their boarding pass. Later when most passengers were on board, there was a missing passenger. After that passenger was found, another passenger lost his/her passport and I don’t think that passenger eventually found it.

After some delays, I was finally off to Auckland. I was on the Works, so I was served lunch. I chose the beef casserole with mash and peas, it also came with sushi and an apricot cake. Not the best flight meal I have ever had, but it’s good, especially the mash and the dessert. The beef casserole was a bit salty and the beef was slighty dry. The sushi isn’t like real Japanese nor Korean ones, but I was a bit surprised to see them serving sushi as a side.

Air New Zealand flight meal

Air New Zealand flight meal

One thing I really like about NZ is their seat, it’s very comfortable. In the past, Cathay Pacific used to be one of my favourite airlines, as their flight meals and service are usually pretty good, and they have very good entertainment system with a wide range of movie and music selection. However, recently I don’t really want to fly with CX, especially for a long haul flight. This is mainly because their seat is very hard and really uncomfortable.

After 3 hours, I finally landed Auckland; getting through customs and immigration was pretty smooth. I heard many bloggers saying that it usually takes a long time to get through; however the staff only asked me a few questions on what kind of medicine and food I had and then I was set to go.

I took the Airbus Express, it took me less than an hour and I arrived at my hotel. After I settled down, I went out and immediately headed to the post office to get some stamps so that I can send some postcards to my friends. I later realize that most of the souvenir shops do sell stamps, so you don’t really need to go to the post office to get them. Then I was hanging around, going in and out souvenir shops, just in search for some pretty postcards but not other stuffs, because my luggage is overweight, so I can’t buy anything! I also went to Countdown, the New Zealand version of Woolworth, to get some breakfast, water and snacks.

The highlight of the day was heading to The White Lady for a burger. It was voted as the Number 1 thing to do in Auckland, so I went there at around 6:45pm, and I saw around 8 people making an order while I was waiting. I ordered an egg burger, and it took some time for it to be done.

The White Lady

The White Lady

Ordering Counter at the White Lady

Ordering Counter

History of the White Lady

History of the White Lady

The White Lady's Egg Burger

Egg Burger (NZD$8.90)

There were fresh lettuce and tomato, browned onion, ketchup, grilled meat patty, and a fried egg. The beef patty was good, though it was a bit salty. The lettuce and tomato were super fresh! I can’t say it’s the best burger, but I’m a fan of food stalls on the street; so the White Lady is definitely different from many burger shops out there, and their burgers are delicious.

The White Lady (Corner of Fort Street & Commerce Street, Auckland, New Zealand)
Environment: N/A
Service: 8.5/10
Food: 8.5/10