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.
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.
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'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.