February 6, 2015 In life

Exploring Auckland

New Zealand Tales: Part Two

After a good night’s sleep (horizontally, in a bed, what a wonderful thing) at our motel, we were ready for our second day in Auckland. We started our morning by walking to Little Bird bakery. We weren’t sure what the breakfast menu would look like but it got great reviews online! I absolutely loved it. Everything in the store was gluten and dairy free – and although there was no meat or eggs (so it was a no-go for “real” breakfast food) I got a cacao smoothie to go and it was worth every penny of the $9.

We had toast and eggs and coffee and tea at The Page Corner, the same coffee-spot we discovered the afternoon previous. We were full and excited to start the day! Our destination was Piha Beach, a highly-recommended spot to see only 45 minutes from downtown. The road to the coast was crazy windy and narrow and people really enjoy tailgating – even if you’re already going 35 kilometres over the speed limit. (Seriously, I was holding onto the side of the car through the turns and every second turn saying out loud, “Randy please slow down. Let them pass.”)

The road was worth it when we caught our first glimpse of Piha Beach. A stunning coastline. We loved walking on the black sand and watching the waves crash. The weather started to rain when we arrived but never did more than spit – so it was perfectly fine to walk around and take photos. We were planning to go in the water (expecting much hotter weather!) but walking it was. For coffee, we stopped at the Piha Beach Cafe, an awesome place with full sliding doors around the shop. I love that about Auckland homes so far. A ton of windows to let in the breeze and light!

After Piha, we made our way back to the city and up to Mount Victoria – a similar look-out point to Mount Eden from day one, but on the opposite side of the city. It was another great view, but if you only had time to see one, we’d definitely recommend Mount Eden. Bonus: we spotted a seniors segwey tour, so that made the drive worth it.

We had lunch at Burger Burger at The Lane in Ponsonby. We loved it! You choose your meat, choose your bun (bun or lettuce) and order your side. Randy had the lamb burger on a bun, I had beef + pineapple on a lettuce bun and we shared an order of shoestring fries. Highly recommend it!

We made a quick stop back at our motel to change and get ready for the evening. I was scheduled to have a family session in downtown Auckland at 6pm and when we arrived at 4pm to scout Albert Park, the rain started to come. It was sprinkling at first and we were hopeful it would change. It did not. It poured until 9pm. We had to cancel our shoot which was super sad! Also – what do you do in a city when it rains? We’re more “outdoors” walking around people over shopping, so we were lost for ideas. We found a movie theatre and grabbed a bite at Wagamama for dinner. (i love this place. I first discovered it in Sydney! And also found one in the London Heathrow airport a few years ago!)

Our only reason for seeing a movie was the crappy weather… but we were so glad we went! The theatres in Auckland (maybe all of the country?) are so  different than Canada or the U.S. Living next to America, we aren’t quite as “go big or go home” and “land of the excess” as the United States, but Canada has so many American influences. Our theatres are big. Tons of people. Nobody dresses up. People throw popcorn on the floor.

In Auckland, you can order wine or beer or ice cream or other classy food items the same time you buy your ticket. Then, you choose which seat you want (Row E, seats 12 and 13) and then go pick up your food. We got ice cream and sorbet. In Canada, if you’re 30 minutes early, you go sit in the theatre! Not here. We tried to enter ten minutes before and they said the theatre wasn’t ready yet! All around us, couples were dressed up – women in heels, men in blazers. We were soggy and my hair was frizzy and I was wearing a touristy New Zealand sweatshirt. We fit in well.

When the show starts, you can bring in your wine and food and there’s little side tables in between the chairs! And the chairs feel like a couch! I seriously felt like I was in my living room. I highly recommend that all Canadian theatres become like Auckland theatres. And then I’ll promise to wear something nicer next time I see a movie.

P.S. We watched Still Alice… and it was phenomenal. We were talking about it all the way home. You should go see it.

 

  • My husband and I have always wanted to go to NZ and are planning a trip
    this coming Feb. or the next. What hotels did you stay in while you
    visited? Thanks Jamie :)

  • Hey Ashley! In Auckland we stayed at the Eden Park Motel. I’ve tried to reference almost every hotel in my blog posts! If you wanted to email me, I could send you the full list :)