Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> New Zealand: Coromandel, Central Plateau, Waikato

Auckland: CBD and Mt Eden

Before dropping off the hire car, I decided to have a look around the city. So I left the freeway at Mt Wellington, drove to St Heliers, and then along the foreshore via Tamaki Drive into the city.

the crater of Mt Eden, with the CBD behind
I then went up to the top of Mt Eden. Smack bang in the middle of Auckland, this shows its volcanic origin quite clearly, with an obvious central crater. It's 200 metres high, which is enough to give splendid views in all directions, of the harbour and the CBD to the north and of the many other little volcanoes that dot the Auckland suburbs - apparently there are nearly 50 of them!

After some confusions with divided and one-way roads, I eventually managed to fill the car with petrol and return it to the car hire company. They dropped me off at Auckland Central Backpackers and after a wait in the queue I managed to check-in.

Queen St from the hostel window
ACB is huge -- it has ten floors -- and a bit soulless, but it's very conveniently located, right on Queen St. (And it wouldn't have been that expensive except that we'd booked a double room before Camilla had had to go home.) All the services one might want are provided, though their crappy Internet service is built on an old Internet Explorer that doesn't work with gmail (let alone having an ssh client installed).

I walked down Queen St to the port, looked around there, and then walked back up. There weren't a lot of interesting bookshops - a Borders as well as the usual Dymocks and Whitcoulls - but I eventually found Unity Books (shut) and a nice secondhand shop Jason Books. There I bought The Life of Pi as a novel for the flight home, following a recommendation from the staff.

I hadn't really had lunch and it was now 5pm, so I was ravenous. Most of the cafes were shut, or not yet open for dinner, so I ended up having a won ton noodle soup in a Hong Kong noodle bar, quite decent for $7. (I think the CBD might not be the best place to look for dinner in Auckland.)

the Sky Tower
I then went to the Sky Tower, planning to fork over whatever extortionate sum they wanted for a view over the city and somewhere to sit and relax till sunset. But to get to the ticket counter I had to work my way through 50 metres of souvenir shop, which made the whole thing seem so tacky I gave up in disgust.

NZ China Friendship Society stall

After photographing the Sky Tower from below as an alternative, I kept the camera out and did some street photography.

Wandering up to Albert Park, I found the Chinese Festival of Lanterns in full swing. I also stumbled over the University Book Shop and the Auckland Art Gallery; they were shut, but with the next day in mind I noted down the opening times.

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