Leaving from Queenstown on Jetstar I had the scariest flight of my life, I’m sure it was safe but for someone afraid of flying this was terrifying. On the way down to a landing in Auckland from the sky to the ground was covered completely in the fog. The pilot got to the ground and then pulled back up into the fog, giving me the fear that a.) it couldn’t land b.) we were going to crash with another plane on the way up. Yes, I know this was highly unlikely but was also in panic mode so your brain comes up with the worse scenario. The pilot then tried to land three times and eventually gave up and flew us to Hamilton airport without saying anything until we landed.
When we landed in Auckland I looked it up and the airport has a lot of crosswinds, which was most likely the problem. Either way nothing like a heart attack on my birthday haha. This was my first time in a major city, except for Chicago.
At the time of writing this post NZD 1 = USD 0.72
Day 1 – Arrival & Birthday Dinner 06.29.2016
Day 1 is pretty boring and probably not worth your time reading this paragraph haha. Since we had issues with the flight there wasn’t much we could see this evening in Auckland. We took the Auckland Sky Bus which has free wifi and is a good way to travel from the Airport to the City. I have done this several times after moving there and I consider it the best option as long as you’re not in a hurry. The cost is NZD 17 one way and if you buy them online you can save a few dollars. We stayed at the Grand Millennium Auckland. We went out to dinner at Tony’s Original Steak & Seafood Restaurant.
Day 2 – Canyoning Piha 06.30.2016
Before leaving for New Zealand we were looking for new adventure/experiences to take on. I saw on Trip Advisor this thing called, canyoning, which I had no idea what it was. Since it was winter in NZ the canyoning in Queenstown was not operating. We decided not to book anything before we left and figure it out when we arrived. This morning we went to the address listed for AWOL Canyoning Adventures and it was just a random location in Auckland, this has now changed and it is listed as Piha.
We called Cam and he explained to us that wasn’t the location and we needed to book in advance and he was booked up for the rest of our time in Auckland. He then called us back and three people canceled that morning and we were able to go. We did the full day adventure at Piha and it was a blast! This is about a 45-minute drive from the city center, and then you hike a good 30-45 minutes up the foothills to the top of Kitekite Falls. Then you work your way down Piha stream, abseiling, hiking, jumping, and swimming through the canyon. I highly recommend this, regardless of where you do it, it has become my favorite thing to do on holiday.
At the end of the day, we drove down to Piha beach to take in the sunset and then headed back to Auckland.
You can view the highlights of my first time canyoning on my YouTube Channel.
Day 3 – Explore the City & Golf 07.01.2016
One thing we wanted to do was go golfing in New Zealand. Especially when you look at New Zealand’s tourist website and see all the marquee courses, they’re gorgeous. Instead, we went to Akarana Golf Club which is a reasonably priced place just outside of Auckland. We were able to golf 18 holes, hire clubs and a cart, and enjoy a pint after at the pub. This is a nice place for casual golfers and I would go back.
Heading back to the city we went to the top of the Auckland Sky Tower, this was my first time in a sky tower. I have avoided these during previous travels because of my fear of heights. Entry to go up the tower cost NZD 32 and you can go to multiple levels. On the main floor at the top, there are a few places where you can stand on glass and look straight down, I passed this time haha. If you’re crazy enough you can even walk a loop outside the building at the top or even jump off of it!
After this we spent the rest of the time walk around the city and going to the Quays to see the harbor.
Day 4 – Sailing the Harbor 07.02.2016
Last day in Auckland deciding what to do we narrowed our options down to sailing in the harbor or visiting Waiheke Island. We figured we had an opportunity when visiting Cairns that we could go to an island so we decided that we would do the sailing. The options were sailing and relaxing or taking an America’s Cup Sail Boat out and engage in sailing it through the harbor.
What a neat experience this was. I did take some GoPro videos but it does not make it looks as fun as it was. Once the boat is out in the harbor they have hand pedals you use with other tourists to move the sale and then if they have to change directions you can volunteer to jump down below the deck and add a second sail. Overall I wouldn’t do this again but I am very happy we did. The place was with Explore Group the cost was NZD 190 per person.
Off to Cairns Australia in the morning, thanks for reading and liking my post. Remember to follow, please, and thanks!