We’ve made it to the final stretch of our adventure to New Zealand and the last part of our three-part series about our vacation. If you missed it, check out part 1 for our time in the Wakaito region, and part 2 for our exploration of the south island.
Our last couple days (~2.5 days) were spent in Auckland exploring the concrete jungle — though we did seek out and spend a lot of our time in the greener parts of the city.
I think if we were to go back in time and plan the trip again, we would have spent less time in the city and tacked another day onto our Wakaito stretch instead. Auckland is a nice little city, but ultimately we found the outdoorsy adventuring to be more exciting. That being said, the things we did and saw in Auckland were also lovely! But we probably could have easily done most of the activities we did with one less day.
The evening of our arrival, we mostly wandered Viaduct Harbor, which is crammed full of restaurants, boats, and fancy looking apartments.
Britomart is a public transit and shopping hub in the central business district of Auckland. The train station is absolutely worth checking out, even if you aren’t planning to take it anywhere. It’s one of the more beautiful (and clean!) train stations I’ve seen. I feel like pictures don’t really do it justice. It has these really cool skylights that let light down into the station. They stick out into the shopping area above, so you can also peek through them from above ground.
We loved the little shopping spot just outside the station for how picturesque it was, both during the day and at night.
Mt. Eden is the highest volcano in Auckland at 643 feet. Its bowl-shaped crater is about 160 feet deep. The hike to the top takes under an hour and boasts 360° views of the city. After the intensity of some of our other New Zealand hikes, this one was fairly easy, despite being uphill the whole way. DJ was super allergic to something growing in the park though, so we didn’t linger too long.
Parnell is known for its boutiques, galleries and restaurants. It’s a really cute district with some of the shops and restaurants tucked down little alleyways. We had an amazing meal at a place called Di Mare tucked away in a hidden courtyard. The food we ordered was so basic (chicken sandwich and fries) but somehow ridiculously delicious.
Our favorite location in the city was easily Auckland Domain, which is Auckland’s oldest park and, at 200 acres, one of the largest in the city. It’s very green, beautifully maintained, and varied in its features.
We spent quite a bit of time hanging around the duck pond, which was actually inhabited mostly by geese. The most adorable goose family lived there, and DJ patiently tolerated my incessantly stalking them for pictures and gawking at their cuteness.
The Wintergardens were another major highlight. Opened in 1913, it consists of two large greenhouses, one with temperate and the other with tropical plants. They are connected by an enclosed courtyard with access to a fern garden on one side. So beautiful.
We also took the Lovers Walk track through a hillside section of native forest, which is so lush and dense it really makes you feel as though you’ve completely left the city.
We finished out our time in Auckland eating some of the best nachos we’ve ever had at Vultures’ Lane Craft Bar. The bar was on Vulcan Lane, a side street known for its delicious food located just off Queen Street, the city’s main thoroughfare.
An hour bus ride, 13-hour plane ride, and 3 hours of driving later, we were happily smothering our cats in love and grateful to be sleeping in our own bed again. We loved our time in New Zealand and highly recommend it to anyone who loves being in the great outdoors and enjoys stunning vistas.
Thanks for joining us on these highlights of our trip. We hope you enjoyed it. For now, it’s back to our more usual content of house updates and cat pictures — at least until our next trip! Since this is also our last post of 2018, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas and we wish you a happy new year! See you in 2019.