Kia Ora Auckland
The flight from Tonga to Auckland with Air New Zealand was great. Not just because of the cool design of the aircraft. But also because of the safety videos. While they often make passengers yawn at many other airlines, Air New Zealand is so creative that I watched almost the whole two hours of safety videos. Have a look at YouTube.
If I could have written much more about Tonga, this is different with Auckland. But that is certainly not due to the city or New Zealand. On the one hand, Auckland only served as a transfer point for me to reach my next destination – New Caledonia – from Tonga. And as a result, I’ve only been there for 3 days. But even more, the weather prevented me from doing anything at all.
Auckland in May
It was the end of May, something like the end of November in Europe. Accordingly, it was cool with 11 degrees. That alone would not have been a problem. Because I didn’t have any warm clothes with me because of my other travel destinations, I simply put on two sweatshirts on top of each other. But additionally it rained almost continuously for the entire three days. And in such a way that even an umbrella was of no use. Also because of the wind. As a result, I had to limit my stay to the city.
Under the canopies of the shops in Queen Street, the main shopping mile, which are actually intended to protect you from the sun, you at least stayed dry. And when the rain paused, I could use the time for some photos. So I was lucky with my hotel because it was located right in the city center. So I could reach the highlights of the area on foot or by bus.
But I had to cancel a visit to the surrounding area, the beaches, waterfalls, islands and all outdoor activities, that are so nicely advertised by the tourism industry.
While the Central Business District is is very densely built up, more than in Brisbane, the waterfront and its quays for ferries to other parts of the city forms a nice panorama. Here, you can surely sit outside in the summer, have a coffee break and watch the hustle and bustle.
But I had to struggle to get one sunny minute for a photo at all. I took one of the boats from there to Devonport in the evening, because you can take a nice panorama photo of the city from the other side. Unfortunately it didn’t work out because it was raining again without an end. So there was my only destination a fish&chips shop in Devonport…
Sky Tower Auckland
In addition to the Waterfront, the Sky Tower is the second highlight in the city center. It was opened in 1997 and, at 328m, is slightly higher than the Eiffel Tower.
And to this day it is still the highest tower in the southern hemisphere. Unfortunately, the highest platform, which is outdoors, was closed due to the weather. But also through the glass windows in the lower visitor floor you have a great view over the city. Only the photos are not so great, because these windows are coloured blue. Nevertheless, I posted two snapshots in the video at the end of this post (1m 21s).
And because the outer platform was closed, there were of course no skyjumps from the tower that are otherwise offered here. Too bad, I would have liked to have a look. The two pictures I post here anyway are courtesy of Joachim Federmann. Thanks Achim!
Well, environment might be a little exaggerated. After all, Auckland is New Zealand’s only big city with over a million inhabitants. This sometimes leads to some rivalry between the city and the rest of the country. Who actually represents New Zealand, though? The “hillbilly” outside of Auckland? Or the “Jafa” (Just Another Fucking Aucklander / Just Another Friendly Aucklander – depending on where the person who says that comes from)… 😉
In any case, the metropolitan area of Auckland is likely to be somewhat larger than the 6km radius I was moving. Because it is also said “New Zealand begins beyond the Bombay Hills”. And this small chain of hills is 50km south of the center of Auckland.
To get at least a little bit out of the city, I took the bus to the Bastion Point west of the city. Originally the government wanted to use parts of this land for a residential area. But then it was returned to the Maori in the 1980s, who had been expropriated 100 years earlier. On beautiful days, you also have a great view of parts of the city, the neighboring islands and Devonport from here.
And no matter where you are in Auckland’s surroundings, the Sky Tower is visible from everywhere.
With a detour through the suburb Mission Bay, which is located directly at the sea, I walked the 9km back to the city center. Wet shoes and a wet sweatshirt included. But never mind, I couldn’t always stay inside.
On the other excursion I walked to Mt. Eden, five kilometre south of the city centre. In the middle of a suburb of Auckland. With 196 meters Mt. Eden is the highest elevation in the city and from there you have a great panoramic view.
Mount Eden is part of the „Auckland Volcanic Field“ with more than 50 volcanoes. But the last eruption was more than 25,000 years ago. But left a 50m deep crater, which is now densely covered with grass.
Actually an ideal place to let the drone fly. But unfortunately this is forbidden there, because the land has a spiritual meaning for the Maori. One of the few places where I actually saw a prohibition sign for drones.
It was not quite difficult for me to say goodbye to Auckland
In 2018 and 2019, Auckland took 3rd place in the city ranking of the world’s most livable cities – together with Munich. But after what felt like 72 hours of rain, I was actually quite happy that I could leave the city the next day.
And I was looking forward to see the sun again. The next Pacific island, New Caledonia (French Nouvelle-Calédonie) was already waiting for me.
Cheers, Rüdiger 😎