Travel Notes: Auckland

Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand, home to 1.5 million people or roughly 1/3 of the population. I spent five days in Auckland to kick off the world adventure.

As detailed in previous blog post, while in Auckland I stayed with Khalid Shafar at his flat in the CBD. This was a great location which gave me access to just about everything I could want to visit or see, not to mention sweet digs.

Some of the places I had a chance to see or visit included The Viaduct, Britomart, Nelson Park, the Sky Tower and Queen Street, among a few others. 

As for food, I haven’t really had anything in New Zealand that has jumped out at me (figuratively or literally). There is a great deal of Asian food available, presumably due to the high volume of Asian residents and tourists. While just about everything in New Zealand is much more expensive than the US, sushi is actually cheaper, and you can get it to-go (or takeaway) just about anywhere.

I did take up Paul Wilson on his recommendation to visit Velvet Burger, which was worth the effort. Mmmm…that is a tasty burger.

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Auckland Maritime Museum

This was very cool. The highlight was the vessel that won the America’s Cup in 1995.

Also met a Kiwi fellow who was there with his wife and kids, who told me a good bit of history about the Cup and New Zealand racing history. The old-timer museum employee didn’t mind us staying a half-hour past closing, and was thrilled to chat for as long as we wanted to stick around.

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Auckland Museum  

More impressive than I was expecting. The biggest highlight for me was the exhibit for Sir Edmund Hillary, displaying the ice axe and other equipment that he used on the historic first ascent of Mt. Everest.

This was also where I first learned about the moa, a giant flightless bird akin to an ostrich, that was native to New Zealand before becoming extinct years ago.

Finally, the volcano exhibit was fascinating, which included a thrilling volcano eruption simulation.

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Pub Crawl 

I did get to go out on pub crawl on one of my last nights in Auckland, although there were only nine people on a pretty quiet Tuesday night. There were four German guys, two Swedish gals, a rather unruly Canadian fellow, a couple of guides and a few others. Had fun teaching the German guys some choice English slang words, but nothing to write home about…just a brief note in this post.

Overall Auckland was great; there were a few more things I would have liked to do, but I was anxious to get out of Auckland to explore the south island..

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