I was looking forward to this moment for 20 years. My boyfriend at that time and I were searching for a way to move to New Zealand. He would start a diving business and I would start a dog training school. We were over 30 years old and applying for moving to New Zealand and starting your own business was not possible. Now I found myself traveling to Auckland: gateway to New Zealand.
The trip to New Zealand
Because I started my preparations almost a year before I left, I had the opportunity to buy a very cheap ticket. Only €499 one way from Amsterdam to Auckland. Okay, I had a 12 hour stop-over at London Heathrow but who cares. Two night flights (London-Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Lumpur-Auckland) made the whole trip bearable.
My friend Caroline who married a Kiwi (the human, not the bird) picked me up at the airport. Of course I picked the wrong side of the car to get inside. This drive on the left side of the road is really messing with your mind. Especially on roundabouts.
I could stay in their guesthouse as long as I wanted. They have a very nice place in Whenuapai which is located in the western area of Auckland. First thing I noticed is the way the neighbourhoods are built. So much space between houses!
Staying in Auckland
The next days we had lunch and they showed me Auckland’s most beautiful places. We walked their beautiful dog Monty, had wine and beer, good food and lovely talks. We visited the Muriwai gannet colony, Hobson Ville and Devonport. I also had a nice hike on the east coast from Tekapuna.
I heard so many people say that I should leave Auckland as soon as possible. But I disagree. It is a nice city if you want to look further than the CBD. The Auckland area is very wide with beautiful beaches both on the west and east coast.
Of course I could have seen and do much more but first it was time for me to go more north. I had to travel through Auckland again before going south. So after 6 days I said goodbye to my dear friends in Whenuapai and left for Bay of Islands by ferry and bus.
Public transport in Auckland
Ferries go regularly. Fullers is the name of the company. Just buy your ferry ticket and the local ticket stand if you want to pay cash. No need to buy online and pay a credit card fee. All the famous tours start from there. You will find the ticket stand at the CBD harbor. All ferries depart and arrive there.
If you need to take a local bus, check here.
Intercity bus will bring you al over New Zealand. The Intercity bus terminal in Auckland is next to the SkyTower. There’s also a ticket stand were you can buy your Intercity ticket. Please note that they all charge an extra administration fee. Plus an extra fee if you pay with credit card (online and offline). You can buy just a ticket to your location or you can buy hours.
Rangitoto Island is a volcanic island not far from Auckland. It is worth the trip and the hike. You don’t need to make a reservation. Just go to the ticket box at the CBD harbor and buy it. Just remember to take enough food and water with you because you can’t buy anything on the island. There aren’t even garbage bins. And you can’t camp there (although it might be very appealing).
There are three roads/paths to the top. From the harbor to the left, to the right and then the steep path up or to the far right. I took the left path, just because nobody else did. It was a very hot day and it was a pretty big challenge for me but I did it. The way down I took the short cut.
Because you can’t stay the night there, you need to be sure that you are in time for the last ferry back to Auckland. Depending on the season it’s in the afternoon or later in the evening. I took the ferry at 10 a.m. to the island and 16 p.m. back to the city.