Trip Report: Two Weeks Down Under
Flight Review: Qantas B747-400 San Francisco – Sydney
Lounge Review: Qantas Business Class Lounge, Sydney
Flight Review: Qantas A330-300 Sydney – Auckland
Lodging Review: Holiday Inn Auckland Airport
Lodging Review: The Pavilions Hotel, Christchurch
Our Time in Christchurch
Lodging Review: Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
Our Time in Queenstown including Doubtful Sound Tour
Lodging Review: Avani Metropolis, Auckland
Our Time in Auckland
Lodging Review: Oceans Mooloolaba
Our Time on the Sunshine Coast
Lodging Review: Brisbane Marriott
Flight Review: Qantas B787-9 Brisbane – Los Angeles
I feel like we didn’t get to fully enjoy Auckland due to poor planning on our part. When we began planning this trip, we hadn’t fully decided how to spend our time in New Zealand when the Qantas award space opened up. As detailed earlier we ultimately decided to start with Christchurch and Queenstown before ending up in Auckland and heading to Australia. We (I) also got confused as to which airport we’d be flying into for the Australia portion of our trip and all of that led to us having less time to explore Auckland than it deserves.
If I had to do it over again we’d have flown Qantas through Sydney and directly to Christchurch before moving on to Queenstown and Auckland. That would have given us another day in the most populous city. We had only a day and a half in Auckland. The day we arrived it was extremely windy and rained off and on so we stuck close to the hotel. Before leaving home we’d booked a day tour that took us outside the city for biking, hiking and beach viewing. While we’d received confirmation from Viator we never got confirmation from the tour operator. Only the persistence of the concierge at the Hilton Queenstown enabled us to learn that the tour operator had gone out of business. To their credit, Viator did refund our booking promptly but we were dismayed to learn the tour was still being offered on their site!
So, we had a day on our own in overcast Auckland. We decided just to walk around the CBD to see what we could see. We stepped out for breakfast near the Sky Tower. Built in the mid-1990s, this is the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere at 1076 feet tall. Though it has a bungee-type jump (with cables to prevent you from smashing into the tower itself) we decided not to take advantage of that.
As we headed toward the waterfront we passed the Parnell Baths, home of the largest salt water pool in New Zealand. As the building suggests, it’s been around for over 100 years.
The harbour area was quite nice with lots of shops and wide open spaces. The country was gearing up for a holiday weekend and stages were being set up along with several other pop-up displays.
We walked through the Maritime Museum which gave us good insight on how the original inhabitants navigated the waters as well as a couple of interactive displays simulating ships that arrived from Europe. I can’t imagine having to spend months on end in such tight quarters!
We stopped into the shipmaking shop where a gentleman was carving small figurines. He told us that a replica of Captain Cook’s ship would be arriving soon so we hung around until it arrived. I wish we could have gotten closer but the public was not allowed any closer. Thanks to one of my traveling companions for the good photos!
It was so very windy and cool that we did not get out and about much for the rest of the day and spent the evening watching a movie in our condo. I hate that we didn’t give Auckland a fair shake but hopefully we’ll be back some day in better weather.
In the end
We had a very short visit, not-so-great weather and an underwhelming time. That’s due to no fault of Auckland and more of our delayed planning. I hope to be able to return to see what I feel sure is a very lovely city.