Auckland, New Zealand is a really pleasant city. There’s nothing spectacular about Auckland. It’s not the worlds most beautiful city. It’s not the most exciting city on Earth. There’s nothing that screams out at you that you can’t miss. But Auckland, New Zealand is a really pleasant city to be in because it’s just that…pleasant.
I first went to Auckland back in 2003 as my first stop on a long journey around New Zealand. My friend Jake and I spent about a week or so in Auckland staying at a hostel called Auckland Central Backpackers or the ACB. It was there that we formulated our plan of attack for New Zealand. It’s funny each time I go back to Auckland I always make sure to pop into the ACB just to bring back some fun memories.
Since 2003, I’ve popped in and out of Auckland for a night or two several times. When you explore the South Pacific, you often find yourself overnighting in Nadi, Fiji or Auckland, New Zealand, as they’re basically the 2 airport hubs of the Pacific. Each time I think it’s a great place for a night or two but other than walking around there’s nothing that really grabbed me.
After spending my last night of the cruise doing a fantastic caviar tasting, I sailed into Auckland from Tauranga this past trip with Azamara Club Cruises on the Azamara Quest cruise ship, I saw Auckland in a different way than I ever did before. At sunrise with the water in front of it, Auckland never looked so beautiful.
I filled my day up the same way I always do in Auckland, I walk around checking out the Viaduct, Queen Street and go up the Sky Tower. I’ve actually done the Sky Jump before and I wish I had digital photos of that experience from nearly 13 years ago. It’s a very similar to the Skyjump Las Vegas at the Stratosphere.
This time I was able to have dinner with an old friend from New York who now lives in Auckland and she took me to a real local area that I never would’ve visited on my own. We ate at a place called Blue Breeze in the Ponsonby neighborhood of Auckland.
It’s a bit out of town but has great views of the city proper. It’s a trendy area much like Paddington in Sydney or Collingwood in Melbourne with nice restaurants and shops. While it was great to catch up with an old friend it also illustrated the value of knowing locals in a city.
Everyone always says, “I like to meet locals and really explore a place” but few people actually ever do it. So when you get that chance, don’t pass it up, as that would be like coming to New York City and only visiting the touristy places like Times Square and the Empire State Building.
So while Auckland will never blow you away, it reminded me of a very important lesson that we often forget. It’s always better with locals showing you around. That aside, Auckland, New Zealand is a really pleasant city.