Sunday, 23 March 2014

Auckland weekend wanderings

I've only been to Auckland once before.  Very briefly.

On route to Christchurch two years ago, an elderly lady suffered a heart attack and so our plane was diverted to Auckland mid-flight.

Apart from experiencing quite possibly the world's fastest taxi from the runway to the terminal to meet waiting medical staff, I didn't get to see to much more of the city.

Fast forward to this weekend and I've enjoyed discovering more of what the city has to offer.

Auckland's Skytower in the CBD 
Funky little cafe-filled streets

Australians often like to talk New Zealand and its residents down.

However, the more I travel to New Zealand, the more I'm convinced this is simply a manifestation of the green-eyed monster.

Auckland's CBD from the water

I wasn't sure what to expect from Auckland, but what I found was a vibrant and green city, whose rolling hills overlook a beautiful harbour and outlying beaches.

It reminded me of a better, more compact version of Sydney.

Auckland's harbour

The University of Auckland's CBD campus and hordes of young international backpackers give the city a vibrant and casual vibe, while the city's eastern beachside suburbs radiate an enviable seaside lifestyle.

While the city's stately old buildings serve as a reminder of Auckland's European history, it doesn't feel as though this is a place that's living in the past.   Instead, it's modern and funky, but without being pretentious.

One of Auckland's historic buildings
Auckland's old and new

Auckland's Waitemata Harbour is the real showpiece of the city, with numerous islands within easy reach of the CBD across the turquoise waters.

Auckland's harbour

From the central Ferry Building, I took the 12-minute ferry ride to Devonport, a suburb on the North Shore peninsula across the harbour.
Auckland's Ferry Building

This seaside village is a great little spot for a daytrip; not too far away, but far enough to feel like you're somewhere different.

Devonport on a sunny day

Devonport almost has a Victorian seaside town feel, thanks to the grand looking Esplanade Hotel.   But unlike its English counterparts, Devonport has sunshine and lots of shady waterfront parks.
The Esplanade Hotel

On this Sunday, it was a hive of activity as locals and visitors enjoyed lunch and soaked up the sunshine.
Devonport seaside

Devonport's King Edward Parade Reserve is a shady park that weaves its way along the waterfront, taking you to quieter stretches of Auckland's North Shore.

King Edward Parade Reserve

Back in the CBD, a giant cruise ship is sounding its horn as it slowly makes it way out to sea.

After just a brief time in Auckland, it's no surprise to me that this little Pacific city is on the cruise ship route.

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