As my NZed adventure was winding down, I ended up with a full day and a half in the city of Auckland. Much like Wellington, it reminded me of San Francisco with its Victorian and modern architecture along with lots of street-lining trees and green spaces. Auckland had a great public transportation system (for touristy destinations, anyway) and so I was able to ride around in circles and sightsee without walking everywhere. CityLink buses were only 50 cents/ride!
I stayed at the Verandahs Backpackers, which I would highly recommend! The rooms weren’t crowded, the bathrooms were nice and clean, there were great outdoor and indoor lounge areas with a nice, clean kitchen. All packed into a few very neatly kept old Victorian houses in the Ponsonby/Freemans Bay area, which is pretty hip.
I explored Ponsonby Street to do some window shopping, and I ended up falling in love with KILT—a New Zealand fashion boutique where everything is made in NZ. I retreated down one of the alleyways along the street because I had noticed that there was even more BMD street art. LOVE.
Then I took the 274 bus to Mt Eden, a scoria cone volcano (scoria being a type of lava) with a tremendous view of the city. The crater of the volcano is tapu, sacred, but there are safe trails around the summit to follow.
When I made it back down to the central business district, CBD, I had lunch at a spot near the wharves called Orleans. You know man, I was just craving some sweet American comfort food, Big Easy style. It was super cute, not that expensive and the po boys were awesome. Two thumbs up!
Then I walked under the Auckland Sky Tower—didn’t go up though. If I ever come back to Auckland I might. Mt Eden had a good enough view for me though, and besides the bus ride it was totally free.
And the one thing I had to do before leaving NZ was see a kiwi bird. But of course, they are going extinct and are also nocturnal, therefore it is extremely hard to see one in the wild unless you’re really tramping out there in the wilderness. I did it the easy way—I went to the Auckland Zoo! Here’s the best picture I could get in the dark exhibit:
Did you know their eggs take up 20% of the mother’s body?!
…And here’s one last beautiful look at the Auckland city lights as I walked back to my hostel. Just one more full day of being a tourist and then it’s time to travel on back to the states.