Groovy guide to Auckland, by my husband
Posted by Ana Lucia at 12:59 pm in Ana's Musings...


We don’t know how much money you can spend, but we figure you’re not rich, and the exchange rates are good, so what the hang 🙂

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Day Tour One:

When you arrive, just familiarise yourself with Queen St and the surrounds. If you just take your time, you’ll be fine. You have all day and you’ll always find somewhere to sit and rest for a while.

Walk from the Hotel onto Customs St East and head towards Queen Street. When you hit Queen Street.

When you hit Queen st walk up the left side and all the way until you hit Aotea Square and Borders. Cross the street and walk back down the other side. If you had of kept walking from here up to the top of Queen street, you would have passed lots of Asian restaurants. For now,  cross over to Borders and go back down Queen St to the Downtown Shopping Centre. Have a look in there, if you want to see shops, then go towards the waterfront and onto Quay street. Go into the ferry building and check out prices and times for a ferry ride to Devonport and Waiheke.

I would suggest a trip to Waiheke only if you have transport. Personally, Ana & I recommend going instead across to Devonport. It’s about 15 mins to the other side. There are great cafes and you can walk to the top of Devonport Navel Reserve (Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park). It’s a hike, but a MUST see, because on the other side you’ll see Rangitoto Volcano and the gulf Islands and views of all of Auckland. In Devonport, we like the Stone Oven Bakery. It’s not hard to find. There is also an alleyway opposite the library, close to a secondhand bookstore, where you’ll find a really nice cafe. You’ll know it when you see it as it’s like an old collapsed building in a passageway. We love the smoothies there and the food is good too.

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Catch the ferry back and when you come out of the Ferry building, take a right towards the Viaduct basin. Just follow the waterfront onto Princess Wharf and to the end where the Hilton Hotel is. Next to that is the Maritime Museum. There are lots of expensive restaurants at the Viaduct. Go past there and make your way across Victoria Park and Victoria Park Market. As you’re crossing Victoria park, you’ll see a New World (or Countdown) supermarket. That’s the best place to buy food for picnics and for your room.

After seeing Vic Park Market, head uphill, past the supermarket along College Hill Road. It’s a steep climb, but it won’t kill you. When you hit Ponsonby Road, walk along that all the way until you hit K Road. Karangahape ( Ka Rang Ga Happy). As you’re going along Ponsonby Road, keep an eye out for the Little Fairy Shop (left hand side) and the Food court (right hand side). The food court is between Macklevie and Pollen Street. Go upstairs and check it out. Cheap eats, a great variety of choices and clean. Bear this place in mind. One meal and a side of wontons or some such, will do the two of you and you might consider grabbing something form the supermarket for Emily, if she can’t share.

Leave the food court and cross the road and go to Western Park. Check out the sculptures. Maybe walk down there if you have time.

Continue on to K’Road and follow that to Upper Queen St. K’Road is great for eating. Ana & I love The Little Turkish Cafe (left hand side opposite Starbucks). Look for an arcade on the same side as the turkish cafe. At the end of the Arcade is a large set of stairs that takes you down into Myers Park. Walk all the way down under the Mayoral Drive overbridge and on to Aotea Square.

From there cross over and walk up Wellesley St. You can either turn left onto Lorne St, which has shops and things, or continue up to Albert Park.
If you do Lorne st, high st, chancery lane and then towards your hotel.

Day Tour Two:

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MOTAT and the Zoo. MOTAT is the Museum of Tranport and Technology. This place is a gem. I’m not sure how you’ll get there, but there must be a bus from the Britomart to Western Springs. It’s not expensive and you’ll spend all day here and at the Zoo. Often they have interactive things for children. Lots of things for boys too 🙂

Have lunch in the park. You’ll need a picnic. Western Springs is well worth a walk. Lot’s of friendly duckies. You’re not allowed to feed the ducks. You can either go through the park and direct to the Zoo, or catch the MOTAT tram. We’d suggest the tram. The Zoo is great.

If you aren’t too pooped, continue onto the Airplane Museum. (You’ll have to Google that), but it’s part of one of the ticket options for MOTAT.

Day Tour Three :

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Kelly Tarltons – Underwater Aquarium This is on Mission Bay, which winds along the waterfront. You can catch a bus to there and then walk from there along to Saint Helliers. Or better yet, if the weather is good, just walk from your hotel all along Tamaki Drive, which takes you to Kelly Tarltons, then keep walking after that. There is a domain right above Kelly Tarltons. Ask there if there is a walking path and cross that to the other side and down into Mission Bay. Walk until Saint Helliers and have lunch. Catch a bus back into town.

Sky Tower – You’ve got two options for the top. You can pay to see from the viewing platform, or dine. As it’s a one off, I would suggest having lunch or dinner there. You’ll have to book to eat though, so decide quickly. You’ll pay around $70-$80 for the three of you, but that then you won’t have to pay for the view. You can go up to the viewing platform after I believe. It might be worth trying to get a booking just before sunset. When you’re up there, you’ll note that every hill that you see if an extinct (or dormant) volcano.

Day Tour Four:

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Leave you Hotel and go down to Beach Road. Turn right and follow that to Parnel Road and up the hill. Parnel is the Posh Street of Auckland. Walk up the hill on the left hand side (it always seems easier) and then cross the road at the ped crossing. Stick to the right hand side after that. Look for the brick pathways where the white colonial style shops are, and go down all the little alley ways you can find. Just keep heading up to the top of the hill.

When you’re past the shops, look for Domain Road on the right hand side (just past a nice bread shop). Go down there into the Auckland domain and head for the lake and the ducks. Walk around Garden Road area and then go up to the Museum. It’s free, but they ask for donations. Emily is NOT a donation.

Auckland Domain & the Museum. It’s a beautiful park and the Museum is one of the best we’ve ever seen for children. Loads of activities and the cafe wasn’t too bad at the entrance. Go to the small lake and the flower garden beside it. Be prepared to spend plenty of time in the Museum. You HAVE to see this. Try and see it all. It shouldn’t be a problem.

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When you leave, go along Maunsell Road extension (back of the Museum) and onto Broadway. On the Corner where George street is, you’ll see a Brown Brick Building. Have a quick walk around there and then back along broadway. Broadway will take you onto Kyber Pass Road and Newmarket. Newmarket is Ana’s favourite shopping street. Just for looking. We never buy 🙁

The area to look around is between Kypher Pass, Crowhurst, Mortimer, Gillies and Broadway. The side street in that square and the main road.

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When you come into Newmarket, you’ll see the traffic lights at Kyber Pass and Broadway. Cross over to the Rialto Centre where the cinemas are and go upstairs to the foodcourt, if you’re hungry.

Walk around the area.

After that, you’ll need to find out how to catch a bus going south towards the Auckland Domain along Manukau Road. I hope the weather is good.
Instead of getting off at Cambell Crescent and Puriri Drive, ask the bus driver to let you off at the Entrance to the Domain which takes you to the Stardome (Observatory – it’s suposed to be really good). That entrance is along Manukau road and just after Lewin Road.

Walk through the park and up to the top of One Tree Hill. Go back down the way you came up and then walk around the park following the tracks. I suggest sticking to the East side (sunny side of the hill, Bollard ave, twin Oaks drive side) onto Cornwall Park area. Emily will love this area because it’s a farm. Lot’s of Sheep.

I’d head back into the city after that. You can catch buses from Manukau Road or The Great South Road back into Broadway (maybe even direct into the Britomart (Downtown Auckland) or Queen St.

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