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A slice of Auckland

14/05/2017

Auckland cops a fair bit of flak as a city. There are various complaints made. People object to Auckland traffic, the perceived snobbish attitude of the people and more. In spite of those complaints, it is a city with undeniable charm. My assessment, limited though it is, comes from the excellent weekend I have just enjoyed there.

It started soon after I disembarked my plane at Auckland airport. Heading out of the terminal, I confirmed the address of my sister (she lives in the city and I would visit her for dinner) and went to catch a Skybus. I didn’t know precisely where I was going but gave a staff member her address. The super helpful fellow told me which bus to catch and even told the driver where I wanted to get off which he announced when the moment came. I had a short ten minute walk from the bus stop to my sister’s place. The Skybus only cost $18. That’s quite reasonable. It rained on Friday night but Saturday’s forecast was good and the weather didn’t disappoint. The sun was high in a clear bright blue sky. That was great because my friend William and I had decided to take the ferry to Rangitoto Island. It is a DOC reserve 25 minutes from the mainland. It offers stunning panoramic views of Auckland city.

Take a look at this one.

Rangitoto 1

The walk to the summit is an easy climb of just under an hour. The summit affords probably the best views on the island. Here’s one of my friend William and I at the top.

Rangitoto 2

Descending from the summit we circled round to wait for our return ferry. Back on the mainland we strolled around Wynyard Quarter. I like walking around cities. There’s something about being surrounded by the buzz of social activity that you get in cities. There wasn’t the flurry of action you would get on a weekday but there were plenty of people out and about enjoying themselves and libations hot and cold. Wynyard Quarter has a cool vibe. Mission Bay, where we headed next, is a nice spot to sit down and enjoy an ice cream which we did. The ice cream was tasty but expensive. A treat but sod it I thought “I’m on holidays!”.

That evening, I joined William, my sister and some other friends for dinner on Dominion Rd. Lucky for me, my wonderful cousin with whom I stayed, had lent me a car so getting around was easy.

Parking in the city on Saturday night, ultimately, wasn’t such a drama. That’s because I stayed cool under pressure. I had headed down a side street in hopes of nabbing a good spot only to see vehicles bumper to bumper. I turned around and came back. I stopped. A woman clutching takeaways pushed the button to unlock her car and moved in. She spent an age inside the stationary vehicle. Pressure was building. Cars were piling up behind me. I heard some frustrated horn honks. Others may have faltered at this point but I had my eyes on the prize. Finally she moved and I swooped. It was a top spot. We enjoyed good Chinese dumplings (I thought beef with cumin was the best of the three flavours) and, of course, splendid conversation.

This morning it was brunch followed by a walk up to the top of Mt Eden. That vantage point afforded good views of other parts of the city including Eden Park.

Great weekend.

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