We’ve arrived here in Auckland and are in the process of buying a van for our trip around the North Island. Auckland is a sprawling city set around the harbour with numerous headlands and islands in the gulf and small remnant volcanoes poking up through suburbia. We visited two of these peaks, travelling by bus to the first and boat to the second. Both gave excellent views back to the city and improved our fitness as we climbed them ( along with being on the second floor of the hostel at the top of a hill!)
We have also discovered the marina at the waterfront that was completely revamped for the America’s Cup back in the 90’s. It is now a very attractive area with great views back to the city and is very well patronized, especially in the evening.
Queen Street, the main drag, has become very well known to us as we walk up and down up to three times a day. We sidestep the beggars and people sleeping on the street (an eye opener!) and stop at our favourite hole in the wall shop selling $5 kebabs. (I was actually glad to have Subway for lunch as a change!!!) We watch amazed as people willingly get slung into the air on a giant bungy ball that they are strapped into and finally visit the homemade ice cream shop after lots of sidelong glances.
While our van was being readied for sale to us we were loaned another van and took the opportunity to get out of Auckland visiting the east and very dramatic west coast.