Auckland again – with pictures!

After Paihia, we made our way back to Auckland for one night prior to leaving behind the comfort of anglophone nations and crossing the pacific to Latin America. We had to make a brief stop on our way south as Ishbel had inadvertently left her headphones at our last AirBnB stop in Whangaparaoa. Luckily, her sister and brother in law had stayed on there after we left so spotted them and left them with Wyn and Linton. We went by there to pick them up and, unable to ever refuse the offer of a cup of tea, lingered there a little before saying goodbye to them once again and heading to the city.


Since it was only one night, we stayed in a hotel with valet parking having got a good deal at the CityLife Hotel.  

There was still plenty of the day left and, unlike our earlier visit a couple of weeks previously, the weather was glorious. We decided to head out and take a walk along to the Auckland Domain, a sprawling park just the other side of the university campus. The route we chose took us first through a smaller park – Albert Park – which contains a touching memorial to the first minister of St. Paul’s in Auckland. I liked the fact that the memorial plaque emphasised that the memorial was funded by contributions from ALL classes. It must be a terrible responsibility for a stonemason, knowing that all these people are relying on you for that plaque. Would that be why, in this case, the maker appears to have had a bad day with the chisel? Take a look at the last line and his cunning solution. It creates so many questions in my mind.


We carried on towards our primary aim and started our walk through the Auckland Domain. We decided we would go and take a look at the museum that sits on a hill in the middle of the park. I say hill but, like every other hill in Auckland it’s actually a dormant volcano. It’s called the Auckland War Memorial Museum, since it forms part of the war memorial plaza.

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The exhibitions feature a great number of Maori artefacts and a lot of information on New Zealand’s natural history. There’s also a quite terrifying little room where you can experience an earthquake and its after effects. 

Having spent a while there, we decided it was time to head back towards the hotel and grab a meal somewhere. We had enjoyed Federal Deli so much on our first visit that we decided to patronise them once more. As before, the food was delicious. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and rationalised our luggage in preparation for our fourth inter-continental flight.

Our flight on Monday didn’t leave until 18:20 so we still had exploration time available to us. We checked out of the hotel and left our bags with the concierge, then headed back towards Albert Park. The previous day we had walked by the Auckland Art Gallery, which is tucked into a corner there, and thought it might be worth a visit. We whiled away a couple of hours there and decided to have lunch before heading to the airport. We hunted around town for somewhere we liked the look of. And decided we’d go back to the Federal Deli. If you’re ever in Auckland, eat there. It’s really good.

We went back to the hotel where they had helpfully packed all of the bags we had checked into our car so we were able to set off immediately. Ishbel wanted to take a look at a proper volcano caldera and had picked out Mount Eden as a fine example. By this time, I was quite concerned as the petrol light had been on in the car for a while and I felt we were pushing our luck. I dropped her at the hill and I shot off to fill up.


From the top, she managed to get a nice shot of NZ’s national stadium – Eden Park.


I got back as she was coming down and we had a leisurely drive out to the airport and dropped off the rental car before checking in for the flight. Santiago next.


Unillustrated Auckland

Saturday, 23rd February saw us take flight once again. We were flying Qantas to Auckland. This would be our 8th stop of the 15 permitted on our RTW ticket, so a halfway point in a sense.

There was a little excitement in the air as we arrived in New Zealand because, as luck would have it, our initial brief stay in Auckland coincided with a decent size poker tournament with a NZD 500 buy in, which is around GBP 250. This was a single day tournament so it fitted perfectly with our schedule. We were planning only two nights in Auckland before flying south to Christchurch as part of our extensive tour of New Zealand.

The SkyCity Casino was hosting the tournament so, for convenience, we stayed at the SkyCity Grand Hotel.  We arrived in the early evening so didn’t get much chance to explore the city. The one sight we did see, since it was slap bang between the hotel and casino, was the Sky Tower.


This is yet another tower built on exactly the same lines as the Stratosphere in Vegas and the Macau tower which we photographed back in January. We made it our mission to find out who was first.

The Macau Tower was completed in 2001 and is 338m high. Auckland’s Sky Tower was completed in 1997 and is 328m high. The Stratosphere Tower was completed first, in 1996 and is the tallest, at 350.2m. I’m sure that will settle lots of arguments around family dinner tables.

We called it a night at this point – there’s only so much excitement we can handle – and rested ourselves in preparation for Sunday’s tournament.

We had breakfast in a place just next door to our hotel – and across the road from the casino’s front door – called the Federal Deli, which was delicious. We registered promptly for the 12:30pm start and, like so many tournaments, it started a half hour late. Also in common with many tournaments, I busted out early and it was left to Ishbel to fly the flag for Scotland. There were 70 entries in the end and a five figure sum was on offer for the eventual winner. They were paying only 8 places in the tournament, so Ishbel was disappointed to eventually bust out of the tournament in 11th place.

After she finished, we had a late dinner and since we’d enjoyed breakfast there so much, we went back to the Federal Deli again.

So almost all of our Auckland activity took place in one small street in the centre of town. And that’s why this post is mostly unillustrated.

The following morning we re-packed our gear and stowed a suitcase and both instruments at a storage facility called The Luggage Hotel. We would be moving around a lot for the next week or so and decided to travel light.  Then it was off to the airport for a budget one-way flight to Christchurch. Ishbel’s camera should be back in action for the rest of the trip.