Recently, I was luckily enough to visit Auckland, one of the larger cities in New Zealand. This would actually be my third visit to this lovely city and this time I went with my two (older) sisters. They have both been to the South Island but not the North, so this was their first time to Auckland, whereas I haven’t been to the South but it is definitely on my list. I hear that that part of the country is just simply gorgeous. On the list to do at some point.
We took advantage of the Easter long weekend as here in Australia we get the Friday and Monday off. So we took off the Thursday and the Tuesday, flying in/out on these days which gave us a good 4 days in this fair city. We also hired a car as we wanted to visit a couple of places that were a couple of hours away from where we were staying. I have decided to do this post in two as it is quite picture heavy, hope you don’t mind.
We originally booked a place near the water but that fell through about 4 weeks out of us going. Luckily we were able to get a place with short notice. The house itself wasn’t the best, but the location was fantastic. It had good beds, a tv and kettle – we were set. We ended up staying in a suburb called Ponsonby which is the very hip part of town. Restaurants and shops! Seriously we ate sooo well.
After landing on Thursday, we picked up our car and then hit Auckland traffic. I don’t know what it is but the traffic in Auckland is horrendous and always there. We could see the traffic heading out of the city due to the long weekend and thanked god we weren’t going to be in it. So after struggling with our very slow GPS we got to our Airbnb and took ourselves off to investigate where we were staying.
We first had dinner at Mr Toms (and discovered the best cocktail ever – Summertime Spritz) then afterwards visited a couple of bars within the local vicinity. It was around midnight when we stumbled home, with stumbled being the operative word there! Needless to say we all had seedy heads the next morning.
These are some of the other places that we ate during our stay and that I can highly recommend.
But don’t worry there are so many other offerings it is ridiculous – you will never starve.. If anything there are too many choices!
As the first full day there was Good Friday and the majority of the shops were closed, we took ourselves off and walked into Auckland. As we were only about 1/2 hour away and the walk all downhill, it was an easy walk. We walked down to what they call the Viaduct Harbour and had a wander through there. There are a lot of restaurants again and where everyone who has a boat/ship moors, basically it’s the waterfront. The harbour is very much a working and a lived in harbour so there is plenty happening around it.
We also caught a ferry over to the North Shore and visit a place called Devonport, had a coffee, caught the ferry back then headed back home via a taxi; we were all feeling the night before and ended up eating toasted ham and cheese sandwiches and binged on RuPaul.
For the Saturday I had organised a wine tour. Just outside of Auckland is an island called Waiheke Island and it was recommended to me that I go and visit there, as it is full of wineries. So I did some research and picked the Waikheke Island Wine Tours as they had some good reviews. It turned out to be a good choice. We had a gorgeous day out.
We were picked up by Wayne who knew his stuff about the island itself (being a local) and of the wine industry. On the tour were us girls and 3 other couples, who were all from the USA and lovely to boot. We had a quick tour of the vicinity and then onto our first winery, Casita Miro.
This winery is run by its owners Cat Vosper and Barnett Bond. When we turned up, Barnett was working on a mosaic wall. When you wander through the garden you can see Gaudi all the way through it along with a smattering of Dali.
There are olive trees, a restaurant (which Cat works in) along with a tasting space above the restaurant.
It was here that we tasted 5 wines served along with 5 tapas from their restaurant. The sommelier was very nice (and cute) and helped us along with the tasting.
Also we had a good view of one of the harbours.
The next winery was Obsidian Wines. It is called Obsidian Wines because when they were digging in the first grapes, they found lumps of obsidian all through the dirt. It has been since worked out that this was brought over to the island as part of the indigenous trading. We tasted a few wines here which were very nice and I picked up a couple of bottles.
The next winery was Kennedy Point Vineyard, Waiheke’s only certified organic winery. Again more wine tasting with exceptional views.
After enjoying the wine and the views, we then headed off to our lunch venue, The Shed at Te Motu Wines. As part of the tour you get to choose where you can eat, and funnily we all chose the same place. The restaurant received a 1 hat award last year and god was the food goood..
I didn’t get a picture of the dishes as I am not really a fan of taking photos of food, but we ate around 2.30pm and had some accompanying wines. I have discovered that I like Rosè’s and that a good quality red is not bad either. I am not a red wine drinker, but could appreciate them.
And another horrible picture of a view.
From here, Wayne our guide picked us up and took us to the ferry back to Auckland. We got to our place, had a small rest and then later on went and had another amazing meal at SPQR (see above). Totally spoilt for food I tell you.
Well I will leave this post here and the next one will be around our day out to Rotorua!
E noho rā
Oh and here is a picture of Sky Tower – You can see it from everywhere in Auckland.