When I met Maggie in Australia, I was 25 and she had just turned 30. We toured the great Outback together as well as several parts of the Northern Territory and the entire island of Bali, Indonesia.
At some point in our travels together I remember noticing that Maggie didn’t seem as excited or amazed to see certain things as Matthew and I did. When I asked her why, she said the sad truth is, the more you travel the less you look at things in amazement. Not that she didn’t still absolutely love traveling (and still does to this day), but you just get to where you’ve seen a lot and therefore it takes more to impress your senses.
I remember thinking how dreadful that sounded, even though she didn’t mean for it too. She was still having a great time and loved the experience just as much as I – she’d just seen more than I had.
It’s now day five of Tyler and I’s trip to New Zealand. We have yet to leave Auckland city limits (something we’re dying to do) and yet through all of the registration, navigating and exploring, everything has totally felt… easy and normal.
During our first week we have purchased our New Zealand SIM cards for our phone, activated our traveler’s insurance, purchased a van, registered for our working ID number and selected vehicle insurance for our new home. We’ve really knocked out a lot of our checklist in a very short amount of time – much quicker than most people suggest or recommend. Still, we’ve allowed plenty of time for fun and adventure between productivity spurts.
One particular day we had the pleasure of walking all over the city and seeing all the sites (nature sights, of course, are our favorite.) It was comical to me because Tyler and I have visited many large, iconic cities together: New York City, San Francisco, Vancouver, Austin and Dallas just to name a few. It never fails that while we love the idea of a big city adventure, the actual visit of the big city quickly leaves us overwhelmed, annoyed and craving a forested refuge.
Auckland has been no different, although that’s not to say we haven’t enjoyed it and loved it in its own way. It’s also been interesting to compare it to cities we’ve already seen. My Lonely Planet travel guide describes Auckland as “Seattle without the rain.” Comical, because it’s rained 3 out of the 5 days we’ve been here, probably because this is, in fact, New Zealand’s winter season.
On the first sunny day after our arrival, Tyler and I set off on a beautiful trek through Auckland’s Mount Eden. This is a crater left from the volcanoes of long-ago that is considered highly sacred by the Māori people. Its historical name means “Food bowl of the god” and is told to be what feeds the god of the underworld in Maori tradition. For these reasons we weren’t allowed to go into the crater, however a few locals on the trail told us they used to bring cardboard and sleigh down to the center before regulations changed.
The view from the top of Mount Eden is the best in the city. We loved looking around and seeing the city from a bird’s eye view.
Of course, we had to make time for a quick yoga session before trekking back down the mountain.
Our next destination was a mile or so away, a large park called The Domain. As Tyler and I walked through the large grassy area, we were reminded of Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
We meandered around and saw the sculpture and winter garden, which were lovely but didn’t hold a candle to The Butchart Gardens we previously visited in Victoria, B.C.
Lover’s Lane was a breathtaking walk, perhaps our favorite part – and it totally reminded us of the path with the same title we biked through in Vancouver last fall.
The Sky Tower
Of course, no trip to Auckland would be complete without mentioning the city’s most loved icon, the Sky Tower. To heir on the side of familiarity however, Tyler and I jokingly referred to it as the Space Needle.
After a few days we decided “Big Brother” would make an even better nickname, as the tower seemed to be watching us from every single possible angle in the city. We simply couldn’t escape the eyes of this tower!
While many tourists pay to go to the top of the tower and see the views, we opted out as a way to save money. Neither of us were too heart broken.
Best Fish and Chips in Auckland
After our “tramp” as the kiwi’s call it, we were famished and in search for the best fish and chips in the city. A quick google brought up a brewery that my guidebook had recommended and I had been dying to go to since arrival. The Brewer’s Cooperative—shout out to keeping it in the cooperative family!
We walked in and were greeted by friendly service and cow tags for our table numbers. I loved it! We each ordered a pint of refreshing local craft brew and hot fish and chips. Low and behold, Lonely Planet and Google new what they were talking about it. The fish was fresh and succulent and the beer was ice cold and citrusy. Our reward at the end of a 7-mile adventure was delightfully received.