Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Finishing up NZ in Auckland

Sept 2nd - 5th, 2009
So our trusty car Esther got us into Auckland around 3pm on Wednesday (9/2) and it was time to explore a large city. We checked into the Lantana Lodge up in Parnell, up in the hills looking on downtown Auckland (away from the noise but only a 15 minute walk into downtown also.) We were inspired to cook some seafood (and use up to cous cous we had left) so we went into town (Foodtown, actually…think Walmart meets Safeway) to see what was available. Shrimp was plentiful, so we made shrimp with steamed broccoli and carrots, accompanied by chicken flavored cous cous. The meal turned out quite well, but the kitchen was so small at this place, it would be the end of our cooking in New Zealand.

The next morning we were ready to explore Auckland. A quick walk down along the wharfs (in search of an HSBC to figure out how Swiss is going to get cash to buy that car in Australia) and then a stroll down Queen St. We made it up the hill to K’road and browsed a while down there. We were debating when we wanted to head up the Sky Tower (tallest tower on this side of the equator!) but the skies cleared and we grabbed the chance to head up. Even better, they had a special just for backpackers of NZD 10 off admission! The views were great and Auckland is a beautiful city.

The park near University of Auckland with Sky Tower in the background

I had to get in there for a pic

Auckland from Sky Tower

Swiss at the top of Sky Tower

Jason at the top of Sky Tower

By this time it was already 3pm, time to do some laundry and get ready for the night. We headed back to K’road in search of dinner (no more cooking in that tiny kitchen) and found Nava’s restaurant, a little husband and wife run Malaysian restaurant. It was empty (the owner actually came out and invited us in) but we had a great meal, with Lamb in a vegetable curry, Chicken with veggies in a spicy sauce and some roti and rice. Ironically the husband is a Swiss trained chef which obviously was a great conversation piece between him and Swiss.

We stopped at Navas Malaysian Restaurant for dinner

From their it was out for a few drinks up the road then in search of more food (it was 12.30am) The local pizza place was closed but McDonald’s was open (and we’re planning to try it in each country…I’m pretty sure I’ll eat more McD’s this year than I have in a long time, but the goal is to try the unique items in each country) Of course New Zealand, though, does not have anything on its menu that we don’t have back in the States, oh well. The lobby was closed, so we resorted to the drive through. The guy at the window was somewhat perplexed by our actions, and even somewhat concerned with Swiss taking pictures of the encounter. But the documentation speaks for itsself:

Some late night McDonald's after a few beverages

Obviously it was a slow start this morning but we were feeling adventurous (and looking for a long walk) so we headed to the fish market (in hopes of finding something unique and exotic like the market in Seoul, South Korea) but were disappointed to find that their “fish market” was more like a giant fish counter at the supermarket. Of course their was a great selection but just not what we expected. We split a basket of 2 pieces of fish, 2 squid rings (picture onion rings filled with squid instead) and chips.

A tasty lunch

Now that's a funny shot

We headed over to the central library so we could upload some pictures, walked around Auckland Domain and up the hill to actually see the main street through Parnell. Since neither of us felt like cooking (and we’re leaving early the next morning for Sydney) we got that pizza that we didn’t have the night before (chicken, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, caramelized onions and cornichons) We had to be ready for a 6am shuttle to the airport so off to bed, but not until Swiss put the smack down on some loud Germans outside of our room (a fellow backpacker had already complained to them in English, which shut them up for like 5 minutes, so Swiss busted out some German – it did the trick.) Farewell Auckland, it was fun!


Unknown said...

I was afraid you died en route! Enjoy Australia!

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