Our adventure began in Auckland.  This is the largest city in New Zealand with a population of about 1.5 million which is over 30% of the population of the entire country.  Several things struck me.  One is that old here means from the late 1800s.  The second is that it is attractive to the hostel crowd.  Certainly saw a number of hostels and restaurants who cater to that group.  As we went around the country we encountered a number of young people who were from different countries, many in temporary jobs to support their travels.

A beautiful view of the city if from the top of Mount Eden.  This is an inactive volcano and you can see a number of cones of other inactive volcanoes from the top.  With a car you have a bit of a walk to the top but tour busses seem to be able to drop people off at the top.

View of Auckland from Mt. Eden

View of Auckland from Mt. Eden

The harbor area has obviously undergone extensive renovation in recent years.  It is now quite posh – fancy hotels and restaurants.


We also did an Auckland Heritage Walk which was along Karangahape.  The library had a very nice brochure about the walk and information on the buildings which date from the 1880s.  I do not suggest doing the walk if you are not staying in the area, not all that fascinating.  I would also strongly recommend getting the brochure because otherwise you have no idea about the history of the buildings.

Easily the most visible structure in Auckland is the Skytower.  It is 328 meters tall (1082 feet).  You can even do a jump off the structure or do a walk at 192 meters (633 feet) up.  We did neither – I am glad because with my fear of heights it would not have been fun.

It seems that wherever one travels there is a US fast food chain and certainly that is true here also.  But they also had food courts that were populated by choices from different Asian countries – I remember Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian and a number of others.  I certainly enjoyed that.