Visiting Auckland has a funny way of confronting the prejudice that exists within this ex-country girl currently residing in Dunedin. I grew up on a farm 70 kms inland from Blenheim where a long straight road followed the Wairau River across the plain surrounded by rolling hills and rugged mountains. And life, well life felt simple then, as it does to children.
An idyllic rural childhood and lucky enough to have all manner of pet animals including a bomb proof wee welsh mountain pony called Rose followed by a white Arab gelding ‘Poko’. True to his arabian spirit Poko was the exact opposite of Rose - more like the bomb that could go off anytime. Poko had been mistreated in his past and despite a new home, kindness & care - he never really left that behind him.
Favourite childhood memories involved riding away from the farmhouse, up into the hills to the middle of nowhere, surrounded by quiet in its purest form. 20 years on and you can take the girl off the farm but I’d have to say i’m still seeking that balm only found in nature, these days looking like a few minutes by the rugged surf or the satisfaction of working in the earth.
And Auckland, well it was with a little bit of internal trepidation that i contemplated visiting our nations largest city.
E a s t e r S a t u r d a y - d e s t i n a t i o n A u c k l a n d
Context established, lets talk about Auckland - (big, bold, unpredictable, traffic-y, people-y Auckland) - I have to say with every visit I am pleasantly surprised. The nestling of the land formation into its coastal aspect, the warmth of locals met on our travels and traffic that actually allowed merging was a bit of a revelation.
We were lucky enough to stay with some great friends in Devonport, literally a 5 min walk from the summit of Mt Victoria and the downtown area. Devonport with it’s streets dotted with renovated villas and heritage properties, beaches, walkways and quaint shopping is an incredibly charming part of Auckland.
A u c k l a n d Z o o
Day one in Auckland following our early flight from Queenstown was dedicated to family entertainment with our first trip to Auckland Zoo. What a great facility and easy way to spend a few hours enjoying a little bit of North Island sunshine while we looked around.
Saw a little more than anticipated at midday in the Tortoise arena….
P h o t o g r a p h s f r o m M t V i c t o r i a
It was pretty handy having Mt Victoria 10 minutes walk behind the house we were staying at, Nick enjoyed the elevated aspect for taking a few shots although he was at the mercy of the weather with only 3 days to get out and about.
O f f t o t h e b i g s m o k e
Despite a rather gloomy weather forecast on our last day in Auckland we thought we should catch the ferry across the harbour from Devonport and show Grace the city centre. We had a wander around, visited the camera shop, sought food and then the torrential rain arrived.
Needless to say a bit of moisture falling from the sky was enough to send us South Islanders scurrying back to the ferry terminal and across to Devonport where the sun was shining….(ok maybe it wasn’t) but we had a very nice late afternoon wine and cheese with some new friends who kindly invited Grace over for a playdate.
H o s p i t a l i t y @ h o m e i n D e v o n p o r t
A f r i e n d s t a b l e
We dined like kings in the home of our friends who are mad keen on fishing & hunting with Steve an incredible home cook. Fresh salmon, snapper, roast lamb and Steve’s infamous cooked breakfast all shared around their table, life doesn’t get much better than that.
D i n i n g i n D e v o n p o r t
VIC ROAD KITCHEN - we had an incredible dinner at Vic Road Kitchen (57 Victoria Road), which has a warm and intimate atmosphere and attentive service from the staff. The rustic Mediterranean style food was delicious and innovative, showcasing seasonal local produce on a daily changing menu.
C o f f e e f a v e
MANUKA - located on Victoria road this cafe was obviously popular with the locals, serving up great coffee and food.
A f o n d f a r e w e l l
All in all after a fantastic Easter weekend in Auckland we packed up our rental car early Tuesday morning to beat the traffic and headed off to Tauranga for the third part of our family holiday.