I’ve been so busy traveling around that I’ve not had time to get a blog post together over the last week and a half. I’m currently in Melbourne, but I flew in early last week to Auckland, which has quickly become one of my favorite places in the world.
Originally I was scheduled to have two days in Auckland, before heading down to Matamata for a “Hobbit” filming location tour, and then on to Wellington. But those plans were foiled by bad weather and missed connections… so instead of the first day in Auckland, I spent six hours on the runway of Melbourne after being diverted due to very bad fog in Sydney, and then four more hours after missing my connection to Auckland.
But after much drama, I did arrive in Auckland, and got to spend one very lovely day in the city. There were two things on my “must see” list: Mt. Eden, and the Auckland Domain. Both are extinct volcanos, and the former is one of the highest points in the Auckland region.
Not only is Mt. Eden (also known as Maungawhau) a beautiful place, it also offers a stunning view of downtown Auckland.
It was a decent hike up to the top of the mountain, but nothing too difficult. A lot of people drive up to the top, but walking gives you a stunning 360-degree view of Auckland as you circle up the mountainside.
After visiting Mt. Eden, I headed back into the city for lunch, and then out to the Auckland Domain. It was luckily a very nice autumn day, and the sun was shining, so I spent the time walking around and people-watching. I didn’t really feel the need to pull my camera out here, although I did snap a couple of pictures of the changing leaves.
The park is not as elaborate as the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, but there’s a museum on one end, the Auckland Hospital on another, and lots of flowers, rolling hills, and ponds in between.
The sun was starting to set, so I headed back into the city for some wandering and dinner. The Auckland CBD (central business district) has a bit of a European feel to it architecturally, but the city is so diverse that you can find just about any type of food. And the people are incredibly nice; go into a shop and strike up a conversation with one of the employees, or find a bench to eat on and chat with the people next to you.
The Auckland Sky Tower is the tallest structure in Auckland, although I didn’t bother to go up in it.
I also found the Auckland Town Hall, which is right next to Aotea Square… a good spot to sit on the steps with a warm drink and check out some art, and watch teenagers try not to fall off their skateboards.
With an early morning ahead of me (I had an 8am bus to Matamata scheduled), I headed back to my hostel and crashed for the night. I wish I’d had more time in Auckland to explore the waterfront and get out of the CBD more, but that will have to wait for my next trip!Next post: Matamata, NZ, aka Hobbiton!