Auckland, City of Sails, is the largest and most populous city in New Zealand.
Auckland is located on the North Island of New Zealand. I was there last September to visit my sister and her family living in Hamilton, another city about 1.5 hours drive south. This was my second visit to New Zealand. Previously, I had explored the country's South Island and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Auckland is a lot like a miniature version of Sydney. In fact, it feels very much like a replica of any other big cities in Australia, yet still unique in its own special way. There aren't many places in the world where you could find a busy seaport, a wet market, the central business district, a volcano and a farm all located virtually next to each other. But that's Auckland for ya.
Apart from bungy jumping off the Harbour Bridge, I was kinda disappointed there isn't anything else different to experience in Auckland City. Occasionally you see people doing stupid things, like jumping off a tower for fun.
But the city itself doesn't seem to have much to offer. Shopping isn't exactly cheap in New Zealand and the food generally is only so-so. Then again, Auckland isn't known for its food or shopping.
It's very easy to take good photos in Auckland.
Everything in Auckland is beautiful. The sceneries here are very beautiful. Even their sheep poo looks beautiful.
While in Auckland, I visited a few of its popular suburbs. One of my favourites is Devonport, an artistic tranquil laidback little suburb popular for its rows of nice cafes and restaurants.
Everything in Devonport is simple. The residents here live a very simple life. Even their cars look simple.
They're happy just to wake up every morning, take their pampered dogs out for a walk, then sit by one of the cafes reading a book while sipping latte.
When I retire, I want to live a life like that and drink coffee everyday.
The famous One Tree Hill is another interesting place I visited in Auckland. Only problem is, the one tree hill is removed and replaced by an obelisk.
The hill reserve is actually a family farm, unusually located in the middle of the busy city. This must be the only place in the world where farm animals like sheeps and cows can roam around munching on grasses while city dwellers jogs up and down the hill.
Stupid joggers must kena lots of sheep poo on their shoes.
When the night come, I met up with an old friend of mine Joanne Chin for dinner at this nice Belgian restaurant called The Occidental. I don't know what's wrong with me, but out of everything that I could have possibly ordered, I asked for their signature Belgian sausage that comes in a shape that looks amazingly like a piece of shit.
It tasted quite bland. I didn't finish it.
The best way for independant travellers like myself to move around in Auckland is by private car. Still, I'm a little bit not used to this sort of luxury. For a big city like Auckland, it is kinda strange that public transport here sucks big time. Buses and trains are infrequent and expensive so many tourists prefer not to utilise them.
A bus trip from Auckland Airport to the city costs NZD$23 per person. Hiring a small car to drive around yourself costs only NZD$29 for the whole day. I'm lucky enough to borrow a car from my sister. Having a sister who lives in New Zealand can also cut costs tremendously. :P
Thankfully, the roads are well signposted and it's extremely easy to tour around self-driven. But from time to time, I had to stop to ask for directions and that's where the fun starts.
New Zealanders speak in a weird accent. It's close to Australians, but weirder compared to them. At least with Australians, you could still understand them. With New Zealanders, the words could mean something else completely.
You see, Kiwis pronounce "fish and chips" as "fush and chups". They pronounce "left" as "lift".
I once asked for a directions to get to a tourist destination, and the guy told me to "drive down this road and take a lift, go all the way down and take another lift".
I looked at him one kind and asked if my car can fit into the lift.
Worse, Kiwis also pronounce "six" and "sex".
I once bought something from a shop, and the girl at the counter said I need to pay "sex dollars and ten cents".
She wasn't too amused when I unzipped my pants.