Sunday, February 12, 2012

Finally a real update for Feb 8-12, 2012

This is one big post as we recover from our Internet connectivity issues, and recover from our exhaustion after our coast-to-coast trek across Auckland - from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Truly a cross country trip!

Complete set of the choice pictures from our Wed-Sun adventures can be found here:

Wed at LAX
Spent considerable time at LAX with a long layover. The price for free tickets! A few photos from the Koru lounge at LAX

Thursday in-flight
Thursday in-flight on Air New Zealand Flight 5 from LAX to Auckland. Approximately 12 hours, non-stop. Mike slept and ate; Deb ate, slepts, and watched a few movies. Very enjoyable flight.

Friday in Auckland
Mike in Deb arrived in Auckland and first roamed around and discovered the area near the hotel.  We're staying near the Quay, a few blocks away from the ferry and cruise terminal.

 On our first day we decided to take the ferry to Devonport.  It was a quick ferry ride away.  We went to the tourist center and got the map with the historic walk of Devonport.  We first climbed Mt. Victoria for a picture perfect view of Auckland.  We then followed the map and saw all the interesting sites.

We stopped for a late lunch at  the Manuka restaurant.  Unknown to us, this restaurant was recommended in the Frommer's guide.  Mike had his first NZ fish and chips and Deb had New Zealand mussels in a Thai curry sauce.  The food was very good.

We took the ferry back and decided to walk around the shopping area.  We walked up and down High, O'Connell, and Vulcan Streets.  We were tired from all the walking and took a break at an open air cafe in one of the plazas off the shopping street called Mecca.  I had a flat white coffe (latte in NZ) and Mike had a glass of Sangria with fresh berries.  By dinner time we were quite tired so we had dinner in the restaurant at the entry of the hotel called Little India.  The food was very good.

Saturday in Auckland
The day started out with rain.  But luckily it did not last long.
We had made reservations for brunch at the revolving restaurant at the Sky Tower, Orbit, while still in the US.  We went early to visit the observation tower.  By then the skies had cleared.  We had a great view of a number of people sky diving / bungy jumping from the tower.  Not something that Deb and Mike wanted to do, but we enjoyed watching the brave people.  After the observation tower we proceeded to brunch at Orbit.  The food was very good.  We had smoked salmon eggs benedict.
After a full brunch Mike and Deb did something unbelievable.  We walked from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean - wow!  We took the train to Onehunga and then walked and walked.  We hiked up One Tree Hill and had a great view of the city.  We walked through multiple neighborhoods and parks.  Mike and Deb walked more than 10 miles.

By the end of our several hour walk, we were to tired to find a restaurant for dinner, so we picked up a roast chicken, salad, and wine for our dinner back at the room.

Sunday in Auckland
Mike and Deb caught the 45 minute ferry to Waiheke Island.  The island is known for all the vineyards and wineries.  Waiheke Island is hilly so we decided to purchase the island hopper bus tickets.  It was a great deal.  There were never more than 2 other couples on the small bus.  They had 3 different routes.  We first took all the routes to get a feel for the island.  Based on a suggestion by Lauren, our driver on the orange route, we went to Casita Miro for lunch.  The place was definitely popular.  It turned out there were no tables available for us to have lunch, but we were able to sit at the bar and have a flight of wine, a tapas paired with each wine, and fabulous focaccia bread and olives.  It was a super find.  We had a great conversation with the people tending the tasting bar.  One was from Milano and the other was born in Philiadelphia.  We ended up having a much better experience by sitting at the bar. Then it was back to the town via the hop off and on bus where roamed around the small town.  And back on the ferry to Auckland.

1 comment:

  1. I went there once just to visit Sky. I was excited to think I was going to see the tower and meet in a conference room overlooking the city. WRONG - turns out the broadcast engineering facility was far away in some dingy building. However we did meet with the sports guys as the fancy horse racing track - no race but it was fun to walk around the whole facility