Exploring Auckland, New Zealand
Day 1: Auckland
It was a success! Well, getting to the airport on time and not succumbing to the magnet that is known as sleep. Whoever created early morning flights knew the good and the bad side of it, and knew that it is something worth experiencing. From Christchurch, New Zealand, with a 6:30 am flight, you can imagine just how much sleep needed to be abandoned. A lot. Hello, dak side of really early morning flights! But I persevered and got to the Christchurch International airport and there really is nothing like it. There’s something about starting your day so early and in an airport to fly to a place waiting to be discovered. It truly is pure bliss and something that every traveller at heart needs to experience. I mean, I watched the sun rise on the plane, it was beautiful.
In no time, it was touch down to Auckland International Airport after a 1 hour and 20 minute flight. Ahh, bless the gods looking after Auckland’s weather because goodness, that is some top notch weather. Summer. At. Its. Finest. For someone from the Philippines, I have missed and always crave for that warm air that just completely envelopes you. No, not the suffocating, humid, can’t-breathe, what’s-happening-to-my-hair kind of summer but just the right touch especially since it’s coupled with that trademark New Zealand air.
After breakfast and spending time to get settled in, we were quick to head out to… the malls. Somebody say anticlimactic. You’ve heard of bar hopping, island hopping, city hopping but we went mall hopping. You’d be surprised how many malls there is in Auckland. From malls like Westcity Westfield, that’s like your typical mall, to malls like Lynnmall which showcases more of the architectural and more creative designs of the buildings in Auckland, we explored it. So, if you’re in dire need of some retail therapy, Auckland definitely does not disappoint.
Being a big city as it is, there is one thing that you just cannot avoid when you’re in Auckland and that is the drive. The drive to anywhere. It’s a big city and to be able to see anything and everything, transport is a must! But, aside from being a big city, Auckland is a good travel companion. Everywhere you go, the view never strayed from the variety of city skylines, mountains, hills and trees, and the ocean. Sounds almost impossible right? Well, Auckland is a shining proof of how nature and modern cities can coexist and work. It is one of the many things that you can never get tired of looking at in New Zealand. It’s because of this that drives are more enjoyable and you get to see so much of the picturesque paradise that is New Zealand.
After our mall hopping, we drove to Titirangi Village for the more touristy/sightseeing activity. Titirangi is a suburb in Auckland and for a long time was dubbed with the reputation of “bohemianism”. A number of well known New Zealand musicians, artists, writers and potters currently live or have lived in the area, according to good ol’ Wiki this included singer/songwriter Tim Finn (who wrote the song “I Hope I Never” there), actress Alma Evans-Freake, author Maurice Shadbolt, painter Colin McCahon (whose house is preserved as a museum), photographer Brian Brake, poet John Caselberg and potter Len Castle. An active local theatre, community art gallery and radio station are based in historic Lopdell House, which I was told was one of the earliest (if not the first? theatre in Auckland).
Day 2: Auckland
With a renewed energy, we set out to tackle the central city of Auckland on day 2! After a quick stopover for a doctor’s appointment, we headed out to Sky City. If you’re as big of fan of big cities and city sights as I am, then you’d understand and appreciate this Auckland day! To say that I enjoyed this day out of the entire trip is an understatement.
We parked the car in the Sky City parking, which had a very fancy elevator area — marbles galore, and proceeded to go up and explore the Sky City tower. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time nor the want (to be honest) to do the Sky walk — which is what you do when you walk around the perimeter of the highest point of the tower with a harness and walking on glass surface, pretty cool! — nor the bungee jumping (not that I would, had I had the chance). So, instead I opted for lounging for about 10 minutes on the first level and just looking out at the busy city and taking a quick peak at the Sky City Casino. However, with the bustling streets just outside the tower, there was no way that I was not going to go out there so I did. Queen St. is not famous for nothing, I tell you! Queen St. is probably the most popular street in the central city of Auckland and it’s not hard to figure out why. The moment I get out of the Sky City tower, it didn’t even matter what street I turned to, the view of the beautiful ocean with the clear sky followed me. As I hunted down this famous street, I came across the most beautiful buildings, both historic and modern, that coexists and adds to the charisma of Auckland. There was no need to look at where you were once you penetrate Queen St. because you will know it’s Queen St. It’s a long street lined with every. possible. shop. a city could ever need. It was brought to life by the countless amount of people walking up and down the street, coupled with musicians and street performers that seemed to integrate perfectly with each other. A day is not enough to appreciate it.
Having to quickly leave Queen St. to further see more of Auckland, we went back to the Sky City towers where we enjoyed approximately an hour of the ongoing Summer Food Festival that we were lucky enough to have been there for. After that, we got back to the place we were staying to rest up for an even more eventful night.
That night, we saw the magic of Viaduct and the shining lights of Auckland. There’s something about having such a distinct line between the ocean and the city right underneath your feet. With Auckland, you really do get to enjoy the best of both worlds simultaneously.
Day 3: Auckland
For our last night in Auckland, I went to Devonport to attend a birthday party of a family friend. I feel like I’ve been gushing about every single sight but goodness, Devonport was beautiful in the morning with the coast of the Auckland city skyline in view accompanied by the boats and yachts that were sailing about, so imagine that at night with the twinking lights. It was magical. The entire time, the weather had been nothing but our friend and standing on the balcony of the restaurant with a view that a picture or a video could never justify, the warm night and the night air, I realize that Auckland, no matter how eloquently written about is an experience that words could not amount to. So, if you’re thinking about Auckland? Go for it. If I could share my sentiments in the most accurate way, I would. But for now, experience its magic for yourself.