I had insisted on spending a whole day in Auckland rather than arriving there the day before our departure to give us some rest. We stayed at Verandah, the hostel where I spent my first Christmas away from home in 2006, and I still cannot recommend this place enough. Campbell, the owner, had his place extended but it’s still a lovely place to hang out in one of the coolest areas of Auckland, Ponsonby.
We arrived in the afternoon, emptied the car (i.e. filled up our double room) and soon started walking towards the city centre, enjoying the warm salty air. I steered Mr A in a down K’Road, then Queen Street from there we followed another Lonely Planet walking tour, stopping for dinner at Revive on the way. By the time we had finished eating it was dark and we continued our way along the waterfront, across Viaduct Basin, to Victoria Park, up Franklin Road and back to Verandah by way of Ponsonby Road.
The next morning we had gorgeous breakfast at The unBakery, a raw vegan cafe in Ponsonby before taking a bus to Parnell and visiting Auckland Museum located in the Domain, Auckland’s biggest park. Mr A finally got to see a Maori cultural show and we eventually found a graph that gave us a clue on where the first people in New Zealand had come from and at approximately what time. There was also a very informative exhibition on Antarctica (complete with breathtaking photos) and a beautiful section on the people that make up New Zealand, immigrants from all over the world and what they brought with them as well as refugees who were able to start a new life in a safe country.
Along Parnell Road we ambled down to the harbour – took in the stunning vista one last time – and slowly back along Queen Street and K’Road to pack our bags and start saying goodbye to the country that had generously enabled us to enjoyed each and every day of our holiday.
Mauruuru koe Aotearoa. Thank you, New Zealand. We will most definitely be back.