Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Auckland, oh Auckland. By the time I reached Auckland, I was pretty tired, a little lonely and definitely ready to go back to my friends in Sydney. So I was surprised to find, upon arriving on a dark and rainy night, that Auckland is so, so lovely.

The train ride up to Auckland from Wellington, on KiwiRail's Overlander service, was not nearly as pleasant as I thought it would be -- it was outdated and uncomfortably tight, space-wise ... but travelers would be happy to know that the very ride I took was the last of its kind. We were treated to certificates and free chicken pies commemorating the Overlander's last journey. I sat beside a painfully fidgety almost Mark Wahlberg look-alike the entire 12 hours up ... which was worse than it sounds.

Auckland was considerably more cosmopolitan than I’d expected, and definitely more cosmopolitan than all the other cities I passed through in New Zealand, and even some in Australia. The girls here are especially fashionable, and the shopping’s pretty good.

So many things did I find charming about Auckland … its harbor, similar to Sydney’s, but quieter, more nautical. The integration of art into its landscape, how I walked by an art party from the Britomart Transport Centre on a Sunday night. How easy it was to walk, in spite of its size.

Britomart Transport Centre

The ferry terminal

Towards Viaduct Basin

Towards Te Wero Bridge

I ran out of things to do, so I decided to suck it up and pay the $28NZD (about $22 USD) to go up to the tip top of the Sky Tower. The views were stunning ...

Aotea Square

Auckland War Memorial Museum

A bungee jumping site in the middle of the city!

A jumper off of the Sky Tower

I lived in a hotel across the street from the city campus of the University of Auckland, and I couldn’t help but take a quick walk through Albert Park, across the street from the campus, every morning. It was so beautiful, looking like fall in early winter time, lined with yellow gingko trees, filled with colorful blooms (even in winter).

Albert Park

The Clock Tower at the University of Auckland

The Auckland Sky Tower from Albert Park

Victoria Park

I had my own kitchenette in my hotel room, so I did my own "cooking" ... inexpensive!

The view outside my hotel room

I could see myself living in Auckland, definitely. I found Auckland to be more American than Australia, with many American chains, including Denny’s!!!

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