Auckland is exactly as I remembered it from my first visit – vibrant, hilly with lot of sailboats and yachts anchored at its harbours! Auckland is often known as The City of Sails as it is surrounded by sea and its harbours dotted with yachts and sailboats. Not only was Auckland voted one of the most liveable cities in the world, New Zealand’s largest city also has a lot to offer to visitors with its vibrant cityscape, beautiful beaches, natural attractions and holiday islands.
I have picked different areas of Auckland to explore starting with Parnell, the oldest suburb of the city. I enjoyed strolling in this historic neighbourhood with its beautifully restored Victorian buildings and villas. Some of the notable buildings are the wooden Kemp’s Department Store, the 2-storey Kinder House, Windsor Castle Hotel and Ewelme cottage. Most of these elegant buildings have been turned into designer boutiques, antique shops, art galleries and stylish cafes.
We made a brief stop at the very modern Holy Trinity Cathedral which is such a contrast from the wooden structure of Saint Mary’s church adjacent to it.
From Parnell, we made our way to Auckland Fish Market in search of lunch. The market is smaller than I expected and we settled for seafood combo lunch at Oceanz.
After lunch we made our way towards Queens Wharf and Downtown Ferry Terminal passing through the Viaduct Harbour. The waterfront area used to be a commercial harbour but has since been transformed into a mixed used development with upscale apartments, stylish restaurants and bars. Luxury yachts and sailing boats moored in the harbour with the iconic 328 metres tall Sky Tower in the background.
For some souvenir shopping, we headed to Queen Street. From souvenir shops to lifestyle boutique stores to high end luxury labels, Queen Street is a must do for the shopaholics.
We ended our day by hiking up Mt Eden, one of the dozens volcanic cones dotting the city landscape. At 196 metres high, Mt Eden is Auckland’s highest volcano with a 360 panoramic view of the city and the harbour at the summit.
The next day, we stopped by Dress Smart Outlet Shopping in Onehunga on the way to airport for some last minute retail therapy. There are more than 100 stores offering a variety of goods ranging from sportswear, luxury to main street clothing brands, cosmetics and stationery. There were plenty of food and beverage outlets to cater to hungry shoppers too.
What a great way to end a wonderful and enjoyable two and a half weeks in New Zealand. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to rediscover this beautiful country with its stunning scenery and landscape.