Title image: Auckland harbor, with Sky Tower in the middle
The M Social hotel on Quay Street is great – I highly recommend it. It is newly renovated and the location cannot be beat, seeing that it is across the street from the ferries and in the middle of the downtown action.
The view of the harbor from my room is lovely. The cruise ship on the right sailed out that night.
I arrived in time to walk around and get my bearings.
Readers of my blog know that over the past four or five years I have had a slight obsession with cranes. The skyline of every city I visit – including Durham, North Carolina – bristles with them. There is some kind of worldwide building boom going on, and I am determined to record it.
Standing on Quay Street with your back to the harbor, looking down Queen Street, the main shopping drag, this is what you see.
The downtown has tons of side streets filled with bars and restaurants.
Holiday decorations are everywhere, of course
Phillip arrived late that night. The next day Paul and Andrei (friends of Phillip) gave us a wonderful one-day tour of Auckland.
We started by going to Takapuna, a charming community near Auckland, much like Sausalito is to San Francisco. It has a beach filled with lava long ago spewed from the volcano, now dormant, in the background.
The clouds almost look like smoke rising from the volcano.
Paul is wearing the Yankees shirt, Phillip the black cap and Andrei the backpack.
Then it was off to Ponsonby Central for lunch which we had at the Blue Breeze restaurant.
It’s summer now in New Zealand, and the air is warm and breezy.
Next was a stroll down Karangahape Road, aka K Road, an up-and-coming commercial center.
Its once seedy side is still visible, but the sleaze is moving out and gentrification is moving in.
After that we drove out to Mission Bay for a view back at the city skyline.
Once at Mission Bay I got distracted by these three statues, which were of … well, I never figured it out.
It turns out that under the boardwalk is a nude beach. I peered over the edge. Yup, some bathers in the buff. A breeze was up and the day wasn’t that warm, so nude sunbathing did not strike me as an ideal activity.
Dinner was at a so-called pop-up restaurant at Viaduct Harbor, a two minute walk from M Social
Then an evening stroll toward the more industrial part of the harbor. The illuminated inverted violet Vs are part of the draw bridge that began to open just as we were walking across it.
Paul was a magnificent tour guide!
For more see: Things to do on the North Island.
See also: All my New Zealand blogs
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen