When You Only Have 24 hours in Auckland, NZ...Here's What I Did!
As a result of one of the longest delays ever (about 6 hours), stuck in a really small airport that one had 2 small restaurant (one of which was actually just a coffee shop)...my time in Auckland was cut from 2 days, down to one. Not cool, Fiji Airways...not cool.
This is another example of the dark side of traveling. You will be delayed. Either b/c of a late flight, a late driver, traffic...whatever. Just be prepared.
We got to Auckland at night so the drive from the airport was uneventful. We checked in, got a recommendation for dinner...ate the biggest burger I've ever seen at a place called The Shakespeare Hotel and Brewery about a block away from the hotel (with pics of Sir William himself all over the walls). This place is known for it's selection of in house and uniquely brewed beer. I'm not a beer drinker but Alan tried it and approved. We did our best to clean our plates but when I tell you that burger was the size of my head, I'm not lying, so finishing it was an impossible feat. We dragged our full selves back to our hotel, Rydges Auckland, and called it a night.
A bit about Rydges Auckland - We selected this hotel because it was in the middle of the city, within walking distance of everything (Sky Tower was directly to the right of the hotel), there was breakfast included in the room price, the rooms were nice, the price was right...I really don't think we had anything negative to say about it at all. Plus, the staff was really nice and informed...that's always a huge plus for me. While I am a self sufficient traveler and good with a map, it's always good (and easier) to ask the hotel staff for recommendations. Remember, they live in the area and/or have given recs, heard good/bad things about the places surrounding the hotel so they're the perfect ones to ask.
Sidenote: I rarely book a hotel that doesn't have breakfast included. Here's why: This is a really good way to save money and fuel up for a full day of exploration. Also, at the rate I go, I never know when I'll stop for my next meal. So, I have a really big breakfast. Also, lots of times, hotels have the foods you're more familiar with. The worst thing I could ever do is go hours without eating and then try to figure out what to eat when I'm unfamiliar with the cuisine, the menu is in Turkish with no pictures and my attitude is worsening by the millisecond. I'm all for trying new things...but not at times like that. Also, I like to grab packaged things from the breakfast buffet and stuff them into my bag. That way I have free snacks during the day (I'm turning into my mom). When I get back home I'm always finding biscuits or candy...sometimes bags of dry cereal when I'm emptying my shoulder bag lol.
I forgot to mention that we met some really cute older black ladies at our hotel that were thrilled when they saw us. They explained that they had been traveling all over the area and had not seen one black person the entire time. I wasn't expecting to see many black people in Auckland....I was actually surprised that the Fijian people were darker skinned. It's always interesting to me to see what people look like in different parts of the world. It was the same in Sydney, though. Whenever we saw African Americans, they dern near hugged us - they were just so excited to see other people like them. Don't get me wrong, I love to see African Americans and other people of color traveling, but most times a good ol' head nod acknowledgment will suffice.
The next day, we had a huge breakfast (Rydges breakfast was excellent) and tried to decide how best to use the day. With the help of the hotel staff, we decided to take the hop on/hop off bus tour around the city. Note: we bought our tickets for the tour on Viator and had the hotel print the receipts. The Viator ticket was cheaper and I'm here for cheaper.
We hopped on the bus at the Ferry Building (stop 9 on the red circle). The red circle takes you to the Bastion Point Lookout (which is gorge), Kelly Tarltons, Parnell Rose Garden (it was their winter so the rose garden was meh), Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland Museum, Parnell Village (which is the cutest little town ever), Civic Theater Corner, SkyCity and Sky Tower, and then you drive through Viaduct Harbor.
The blue circle takes you to Winter Gardens, Eden Gardens, Mt. Eden, St. Lukes Westfield mall, Auckland Zoo, and the MOTAT.
Our first hop off was at Mount Eden. It was nearing winter time in Auckland so the gardens and what not weren't worth stopping at and we didn't have much time.
Mount. Eden. Is. GORGEOUS. One of Auckland's famous landmarks, it is the highest (inactive) volcano on the Auckland isthmus and the views over the city and Waitemata Harbour are incredible. The bus can't take you all the way to the summit so you either take the little shuttle or walk, which requires "a fair degree of fitness" according to the brochures. We opted to take the shuttle rather than fool ourselves by thinking we were fit enough for the climb. No need to test those limits.
Mt. Eden is beautiful, I can't stress this enough. The super green grass and that intensely blue sky really added something nice...made the pics look dope too.
That was my fav part of the tour. We hopped off at a few other places but the bus was a really good way for us to see everything I had put on my list.
This is us outside the Auckland Museum....smiling even though the cold air was touching our bones.
Later that evening, we decided to walk to around Auckland to Wynyard Quarter. Auckland is such an people friendly city. There's so many things to see. I'll just post a few pics here...from the first couple of pics, you can tell why its called the City of Sails. The first two were taken from the top level, front row of the bus. It became a game between the four of us to capture photos as the bus was swangin' and bangin'. We sustained a few injuries (lol) but lived to tell the tale.
This guy was in the Auckland airport lol
This was an outdoor book exchange. They recycled train storage containers...pretty cool.
Anyway, I hope this helps anyone who needs ideas on what to do with 24 hours in Auckland. Obviously you wont be able to see everything but you can see/do alot. Here's a screenshot of the itinerary I put together for the time in Auckland....we saw most of the things on the list....except for the places that required some transportation outside the city. If you notice, we were supposed to arrive at 11:45am....didn't happen. We went to or passed by all of the follow and actually did much more: Sky Tower, Cornwall Park the Viaduct Harbor, Parnell, Auckland Harbour Bridge and Queen Street.
I'm also willing to provide this itinerary for anyone who interested.
Auckland is a beautiful city. Next time I'm in New Zealand, I'll have to do more in depth exploring...Happy traveling folks!
~There's no where to go but everywhere!