26 Hours in Auckland

That was all we had.

New Zealand’s largest city and home to over 1.5 million people – total population of New Zealand is around 4.5 million people and to debunk a popular myth that there are 20 sheep for every person in New Zealand, there are only around 32 million sheep – and we had 26 hours in the one place over 80% of the countries residents call home.

We pretty much only slept there.

Auckland is a nice city.  Its like many larger cities.  Its nice, has everything you could need, wonderful diversity in the people and cuisine.  What makes cities special is the energy you get in a New York, Chicago, Paris, or Tokyo.  Something really stand out in those locations.  Other places are nice and perhaps good to call home but they lack something to keep you there strolling the streets or seeking unique spots, which is what we felt in Auckland.  And, not being in the mood to explore the lovely parks or museums we saw on the map – or to be gently dropped off the sky tower – we chose to take some advice from most of the “whats happening” tourist mags we saw and got out of town.

These publications noted most of the cool stuff to do happened north, south, east or west of the city – not much in it.

Auckland had some competition too.  As it happened, my sister and I had a 12 hour layover in LA and we rocked it.  Rented and car and crushed our LA layover doing the following –

  • Lunched at a hip spot off Venice beach.  (More of the skinniest skinny jeans in one place than I could have imagined.)
  • Crusied Santa Monica Blvd
  • Venice Beach
  • Hollywood & West Hollywood
  • Saw the Hollywood sign
  • Sunset Blvd
  • Rodeo Drive
  • Beverly Hills
  • Followed a hollywood star tour bus for a few minutes and played guess who’s gate we were parked near…(Seems like a very worthless tour. All of these vans driving around parking in front of gates near homes you cannot see…Very popular though, lots of vans doing it.)
  • Bel Air
  • Chilled on Manhattan beach – toes in the pacific before flying across it
  • Little flight snack shopping at Trader Joe’s
  • Dinner at In & Out Burger – Amber was a first timer
  • Saw a reality film crew at a restaurant

So we did a lot.  Not that Auckland can be compared to LA but the first day of your Journey you want to make memorable – and you want to stay awake to beat jet lag – and thankfully we did that.  We just had to get out of town to do it.

After getting a bit of breakfast we bought tickets to ferry to Waiheke island which is about 40 minutes from the city.  Perfect decision.

A beautiful island and a wonderful escape from the city which allowed us to stay outside, stay awake and start the trip right with a little wine tasting and baby sheep viewing.

Aside from getting a test run in on driving on the left, we simply enjoyed driving, begin outside and enjoying new scenery.  Most importantly, it kept us awake and focused.  I helped with that too as I gently swerved our nissan slightly to the left on the narrow roads while glancing at the map – I might have hit a few road side bumpers successfully waking us both up, jarring the cars alignment slightly to the left and leaving me concerned that I had probably popped both tires on that side of the car.  (When I say bumper I mean the cement things that tell you when to stop in a parking lot – part of the street was lined with those – and I nailed them.)  I did not pop the tires and confidently announced to Bruce when I returned the car that it was perfect and the condition was more than likely improved  with an American behind the wheel.

Waiheke Travel Tips – 

There are tours for 125 dollars a person that include the ferry ride, bus transport to a couple of vineyards and around the island for the day.  We spent 50 dollars less by booking return tickets for 35 dollars each and renting a car for 50 dollars plus 20 for gas used and explored on our own.  And we were able to take some roads less traveled on the island for better views and found a much more unique place for lunch.

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6 Responses to “26 Hours in Auckland”

  1. Jeanie Groves-Short
    September 9, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    I found Australia beautiful and laid back. Wished I could have stayed forever!
    We had been there for so long driving with the wheel on passenger’s side driving on the correct side of the road, that when we got out onto the road in Albuquerque, NM we started driving on the (wrong) correct side of the freeway! Losers!

  2. debbie cansler
    September 9, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    Wow sounds amazing! I can’t believe how much you did! I miss you guys and keep having fun! Love you

  3. Rebecca Lessard
    September 10, 2012 at 12:49 am #

    Hi Grant and Amber,
    Beautiful pictures! Keep them coming. Hope you two are having a wonderful time. Becky

  4. Linda Hendershot
    September 10, 2012 at 2:16 am #

    Whew! Had to catch my breath and take a seated rest after reading all you and Amber have done in a short period of time. Love each one of the photos! We miss you already, but have the time of your life! Hi Amber!!!

    • September 13, 2012 at 3:23 am #

      Thank you Linda!

  5. Jeanie Short
    September 10, 2012 at 6:10 am #

    If I could write down all the places I’ve been, I’d be singing, “I’ve been everywhere man, I’ve been everywhere, ( then I’d be inserting all the places I’ve been)”. I have had a lot of fun…. Now, time to chill, take a back seat and let Grant (Amber) take us on a tour from our chairs. No jet lag for us! God bless them both on their journeys. Love you too!

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