An October 2001 trip
to Auckland by superpurd
Quote: The first five days of our five week New Zealand trip were spent here. We visited various sites of interest, dined at various types of restaurants and got to know some of the people in this friendly land. Auckland is a city of approximately 1.2 million people of many nationalities.
Hotel | "New President Hotel"
There is a Star Mart (7-11 type store) right next to the hotel and dozens of restaurants, food courts, etc. within a couple of blocks. Queen Street, one of the main shopping street of downtown Auckland, is a half block away. By walking down Queen street you will arrive at the waterfront.
If you are looking for good basic, clean accommodation in a good location at a reasonable price, we recommend this hotel. If you are looking for luxury, suggest you go down the street to the Sky Tower.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 16, 2001
Best Western New President Hotel
27-35 Victoria Street W.
Auckland City, New Zealand 1010
+64 9 303 1333
Restaurant | "Harbourside Seafood Bar and Grill"
The decor is quite formal, the waiters/waitresses are dressed in black and white, the tables have white cloth tablecloths.
The service was excellent as was the food. We shared an excellent seafood platter with salads and a glass of wine. The cost of most entrees is in the range of $20-30NZ ($8-12US).
The food and presentation compared to many fine dining experiences we have had that were much pricier. With the current exchange rates, Americans can enjoy fine dining for not much more than the cost of MacDonald's at home!
In summary, great food, great view, great service and reasonable pricing. Highly recommended.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 16, 2001
Harbourside Seafood Bar & Grill
1st Floor, Ferry Building
Auckland, New Zealand 1001
+64 (0)9 307 0486
There are lots of restaurants in the area looking over the water and we would recommend stopping at one of them for a snack and a drink after your tour. If you are interested in Americas Cup souveniers their is an Americas cup store on the docks. We thought it was expensive, but the prices of their products there were cheaper than anywhere else we found them in Auckland or elsewhere on the island.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 15, 2001
New Zealand National Maritime Museum
Auckland, New Zealand 1001
+64 (0)9 373 0800
Sites at which the bus stops are as follows: Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Adventure, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland Museum, Parnell Rose Gardens, Parnell Village (trendy shopping area), Sky Tower Hotel and Casino, Victoria Park Market, and the American Express Viaduct which is the home of America's Cup Yachting. The auxiliary high season tour includes Mt. Eden, Auckland Zoo, Museum of Transport and Technology, Imax Entertainment Centre and the Auckland Art Gallery. Separate journals on some of these are attached.
This is a good starting place for your time in Auckland. In addition to the sites you stop at it will make you aware of other points of interest.
If you are staying in the downtown core, several of these places will be within walking distance. We bought the two day pass, but could have got by with one. The problem in planning is you don't know how much time you will spend in some places such as Auckland Museum.
The main benefit of the Explorer bus is that it quickly gives you a feel for the layout of the city and the narrative is quite good. It also eliminates the need to study city maps and try to plan ways to get where you want to go. For those on a tight budget you would probably find the city bus lines will get you everywhere much cheaper if you are willing to put in a little time to figure out the routes.
Auckland, New Zealand 1001
0800 439 756 (Freeph
Attraction | "KellyTarlton'sAntarctic Encounter&Underwater World"
At the Underwater World you travel on a moving walkway through a clear acrylic tunnel under the ocean. Swimming all around and above you are various types of sharks, eels, stingrays and hundreds of varieties of fish. There are also several other displays of a more scientific nature showing different species. There was also a fascinating fairly small tank which housed about 20 tiny seahorses which we watched perform for about 10 minutes.
There are also several displays about Antarctica including a replica of the cabin from the Antarctic.
Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter & Underwater World
23 Tamaki Drive
Auckland, New Zealand 1005
+64 (0)9 528 0603
Attraction | "Auckland War Memorial Museum"
The section of most interest and fun to us was the section on the Maoris, the natives who were the first to live in New Zealand. New Zealand is overrun with Maori tourist exhibits and once you have seen a few, you may lose interest but this is an excellent exhibit to familiarize yourself with the native history.
We also strongly recommend spending the extra $5NZ to see the 1/2 hour Maori performance of singing and dancing after which you get a chance to talk to the performers and ask questions. For rugby fans they perform the "Haka" which is the chant the New Zealand Allblacks perform at the start of each game. When I asked one of the performers if this was what they had done he answered, "Yes, only we do it better!" They will be happy to explain all of the displays to you which greatly increases your ability to understand the displays. The exhibits include an 82 foot war canoe, a large meeting house, historical weapons etc.
The third area is a natural history museum relating to New Zealand. This is actually quite interesting as New Zealand had no animal life other than birds and insects until the English colonists arrived. The English brought cattle, sheep, rabbits, possums, dogs, cats, etc. Accordingly New Zealand has no predatory animals and thus the rabbits and possums grew wildly to the extent that the possums have been subject to eradication projects. New Zealand is home to large numbers and varieties of birds.
Auckland Museum (Tamaki Paenga Hira)
Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand
Attraction | "Sky Tower Casino, Hotel & Revolving Restaurant"
As is common in other towers in the world there is a revolving restaurant. If you eat there, you reserve at the bottom and then you get a free ride up the elevator. Prices in the restaurant are high compared to elsewhere so one could say you still actually are paying something for the ride. However, on the positive side, we found our meal to be excellent, the service was good, but just slow enough to allow us to spend a full hour (a full rotation) to see all the sites while we ate.
The casino was quite large for those not spoiled by frequent trips to Las Vegas or Atlantic city. Games played are basically the same as those played in Vegas. There are many slots, but not as much variety as in Vegas as about 80% are the newer multiline up to 45 coin varieties that don't really give you time to wish for that last symbol to fall into place. For those who wish to gamble just for fun and pass a little time they have machines betting units of as low as $.02NZ Apparently there is a second floor to the casino for high rollers with dress requirements. In addition to the revolving restaurant at the top there was a cafeteria style restaurant and a couple of other full service restaurants in the building.
Although we didn't stay there, the hotel offered rooms at about $200NZ ($80US) and as the building generally seemed pretty classy, I have no reason to believe the rooms would not be excellent.
The Sky Tower deck is highly recommended to give you an overview of the city and just the experience of being up there. A casino is a casino, if you are looking for one it is there as well.
Sky Tower Vertical Challenge
Federal St and Wellesley St
Auckland, New Zealand 1001
+64 (0)9 570 2222
We left Auckland in our rental car about 8:00 AM and drove north for about an hour to Warkworth, a nice little town where we stopped for a light breakfast and wandered the streets for about a half hour. A river runs through the town and there is a public walkway along the river. Seemed like a very friendly little town.
We carried on the main highway until you turn off on Highway 12 to the Matakohe museum. The museum deals with Kauri trees and products and several other items of interest. We have a separate journal on the museum. This is well worth an hour or two of your time, possibly including lunch.
From the museum we carried on to Dargaville, which is about another hour's drive. We had lunch in Dargaville at a place called The Steak House. Both had fish and chips and salad bar. The restaurant had a dining area and a takeout area. We had no complaints about food or service but didn't think it was worthy of writing a journal about it.
From Dargaville you drive north for another hour through narrow and windy roads to the Kauri forest. Kauri trees are native to New Zealand and make great furniture and other wood products. Unfortunately they were almost wiped out and are now protected. There are two stops you can make in the forest. We stopped to see Tane Mahuta, the grandfather of all Kauri trees, about 12 feet wide. You park at the side of the road and walk along a path for about 5 minutes. When you turn a corner it is in front of you in all its majesty. There are two viewing areas. When you get to the second area, two Maori girls are playing guitars and singing, looking for donations of which we made a small one. There is a second stop involving about a twenty minute walk into the forest where you can view several other Kauri trees.
From here we drove directly to Pahia, about another hour and 1/2 away.
Once you have turned off the main highway to go to Matahoke, you can only expect to travel about 70 kilometres per hour as the roads are narrow and windy. Traffic however, was fairly light for our trip.
We arrived in Pahia about 5:00 PM and checked into the Pahia Pacific Resort for the next three nights.
If it is your first day of driving on the left side of the road combined with the narrow and shoulderless roads, you may find this a very full day. If you have lots of time you may wish to make this a two day trip. We found that if you book ahead there are private eco tours available at Matakohe and there were several B & B's in the area.
Williams Lake, British Columbia