Published: August 26th 2006August 23rd 2006
We were warned...
Auckland in Winter is wet & cold.
Thankfully, we would only stay there for 3 days!
All of the above is true, but the short stay did give us enough of a taster of the place to convince us both that we should come back another (warmer) time.
Though we were staying in a nice, quiet hostel outside the centre (Brown Kiwi), we spent the first night crashing at an old work colleague's house on the other side of town, having been invited over for dinner (and quite a few bottles of wine).
The next day, we cleared ourselves of the hangover by walking for nearly two hours back into town, getting a lovely feel for the various suburbs on the road back, as well as the temperamental weather the place is famous for. Once in town, we went for a well deserved meal atop the Sky Tower, replete with rotating restaurant and wonderful views of the surrounding volcanic coastline through the clouds. A bit expensive, but you need a treat every now & again during this backpacking lark.
The next day, we had intended on joining a whale & dolphin boat for 5 hours of wildlife watching, but this was cancelled at the last minute due to bad weather (or possibly a lack of other crazy tourists visiting Auckland in the middle of Winter, who knows?). Instead, we took a local ferry across to the island of Waikeke and set about hiking along the 'well marked' trails along the coast.
Despite the atrocious weather (similar to Donegal in Ireland) we had a pleasant 3 hour wander along gorgeous clifftops as far as W-Bay, then back across the middle of the island to the ferry terminal again.
The next morning, our final day, was spent killing time before our flight in the Domain Museum, the huge building which dominates the hillside on the edge of town. Aside from the usual WWI & II sections, the museum has an extensive section on Maori / Polynesian culture and history, as well as some very interesting rooms devoted to the New Zealand Wars (between Maori and Europeans) which I previously knew nothing about. Also, compared to the general Aussie approach to history (which virtually obliterates all pre-European history from mention), the Kiwi take on things was refreshingly balanced.
We'll be back...