Seda: The first day we arrived in Auckland, I was in a foul mood because of a few mistakes I‘d made back to back. First was a massive miscalculation with exchange rates as we left Melbourne ending in a big loss. Then, not picking up a traveller SIM card at the tax free airport kiosk only to pay $10 more for the same plan later in the city. But, the biggest blunder was booking our Auckland hotel room for the wrong dates. We had an overnight flight, and I booked the hotel from the date we left instead of when we arrived.
Andy: Thinking our hotel check in wasn’t till later that day, we stupidly tried to kill time at Auckland airport, getting even more tired instead of sleeping in a comfy bed of the room we were paying for. It took a lot of self control to not add to the Auckland murder rate!
Miserably we went to our high cost room and caught a few hours of sleep. Suitably rested, we went out for some sightseeing. All we could master the energy for was a ferry trip across the bay to Devonport.
It was a lovely little town across a small bay from downtown Auckland with quaint coffee shops and restaurants. We had a short walk along the waterfront before heading back to the city.
Seda: We were in a slightly better mood the next day and having booked an Airbnb for the remainder of our time, we knew we could focus of seeing a bit of Auckland finally.
Andy: On our first full day in Auckland we sought out one of the bigger city parks – Domain Park.
Seda: By scooters!!! We kept noticing these electric scooters lying around on the pavements everywhere. They were even shown on Uber map as available to book. We decided to be brave and give it a try. Once we figured out how the hiring process worked, we jumped on our electric beasts. The problem was the park we were heading for was up a hill, like most of Auckland is. Because we had to push the damn thing with one foot as if it wasn’t powered, we arrived at the top more tired than we probably would if we walked
Andy: I think Aucklanders (is that what they are called?!) have a love/hate relationship with scooters. People seem to love using them, but pedestrians get fed up of them whizzing past and drivers don’t want them on the road. We found a lovely shady bench and just sat there and chilled for ages! Well, all the benches were taken, so we found one with a tiny Asian man sat there alone and we muscled in. He soon got fed up and left us alone, so our plan worked. Result!
We found a cool craft beer pub near the Airbnb we stayed at for a couple of nights. It had the option of sampling a few small glasses of different beers so we went for that. It was quite expensive but very nice. They even had a couple of nice ciders! That said, wine is the same price as beer here in NZ, so I may join Seda on the grape rather than the grain!
Seda: Another great find was in the centre of Auckland just inside one of the busy stations selling healthy salad bowls. Lots of locals seemed to be heading there, so we thought we’d join the trend. We had no idea where to eat but we kept seeing locals eating them, so just followed the crowd. Its sometimes the best way.
Andy: On a lovely small lawned area in the city by Britomart station there were loads of bean bags, and locals would sit and have their lunch which seemed a really cool idea until we realised we’re not 20 anymore and couldn’t get up gracefully!
We’d decided by this point that we would hire a camper van/car for the duration of our stay in NZ. Whilst trying to make the final payment we encountered yet more card problems. We hate banks!!
The plan was seeing a comedy night on the famous Queens Street in Auckland that evening. The newbies trying to make it were testing out new material one day a week and its pretty cheap for what you’re getting. 15 different comedians and most were very good!
We left the show smiling but had to call the bank in the UK which would take more than 15 comedians to recover afterwards. The problem with a 13 hour time difference is that we had to wait until normal UK working hours for a supervisor to start work who could help us. I’m sure all these banks, finance companies and network operators were ganging up on us! It’s amazing that tourist SIM cards are give loads of free international minutes, but we sure were thankful.
Seda: Did we mention that we hate banks?!
Before our comedy night, we were keen to go to the Asian Food Alley of the town and have something to eat there. They had enough choice to cater for couples with entirely different taste buds! Andy had his Indian and I had my Vietnamese. Two happy customers!
We were rudely awoken the next morning by the screaming grandchildren of the Airbnb hosts. If this wasn’t a sign that we needed our own place and freedom, then I don’t know what is. It was time we got our Spaceship, and took off…