Taking photographs of sunrises and sunsets catches up with you eventually. We all looked tired this morning. Granted, a few of us also had a bit of a late one last night.
The forecast was for clouds this morning, so no sunrise shoot for us. We spotted a bit of pink in the sky when we got up, but relished the extra sleep.
At 8am, we drove to the airport. The first of our group was leaving and we all went to say our goodbyes.
We had breakfast at the now very familiar Boat Shed. Earl grey, flat whites, berry smoothie and avocado bruschetta. The food seemed rushed and not quite up to the usual high standard. Nice, but my least favourite of our three meals there.
Andy went to pick up the bags we’d left in storage nine days ago, and we drove to the airport.
We had just under two hours to kill so we browsed the shops and had a soft drink… and a hot cross bun. Finally! We’ve seen hot cross buns for sale ever since we got to New Zealand, close to seven weeks ago.
I collected a couple of New Zealand Passenger Departure Cards. We’re leaving the country tomorrow and I thought we could fill these in in advance. Maybe it’s because I’m tired but the forms don’t seem to make any sense. Question 7: How long will you be away from New Zealand? Choices: ‘XX years’, ‘XX months’, ‘XX days’ or ‘permanently’. Question 8: Which country will you spend the most time in while overseas? Andy and I wondered whether these were for New Zealanders, so I went to ask at the check-in desk. Nope. They’re the right ones for us. Very confusing.
We boarded our flight for Auckland. Originally, we were supposed to leave at 4.50pm but we brought this forward so we could have more time in Auckland. We both feel that we’ve neglected that town a little.
The couple sitting behind us started talking to the couple across the aisle. Funnily enough, they live roughly in the same area of Auckland. The woman across the aisle is a police officer, and she explained that right now burglaries and substance abuse/trafficking were keeping her busy. They also talked at length about who was dating who at the moment. I enjoyed eavesdropping on their conversation. Lessons in small talk.
After collecting our bags, we remembered the breakfast we had at Wayfarer the day we left Auckland for Napier; those bagels were good… so we decided to have a late lunch. Matched with a green smoothie. Good food. Fortified, we walked 16 mins to an Icebreaker outlet shop. We were looking for bargains. Most items were discounted by a third. A few things caught my eye, but this time we left empty handed.
We picked up a taxi to our hotel, and once more got caught up in the now famous Auckland traffic. Close to 1.5 million people live here, making up 32% of the NZ population.
Keen to do some walking, we went off to explore Viaduct Harbour. We had blue sky and the temperature was in the mid-twenties, a sharp contrast to Queenstown this morning where the sky was grey and we were cold. I was window-shopping for a yacht. The area is residential, and full of trendy bars and restaurants. We were pondering what to do next when we came across Coley & Punch. We took a seat at the bar; we pretty much had the place to ourselves. The cocktail list was impressive. Andy had an Old Fashioned and was impressed when the barman burnt the orange peel. I had a creative twist in the Margarita and it was delicious. They know what they’re doing! Sophisticated and unpretentious. Andy was hoping we would stay – they have ‘about’ 328 whiskies on their menu – but I dragged him out in search of food.
We wanted to try Elliot Stables, an indoor food market. We’d heard great reviews. There was still an hour to go before the place was due to close but already half the stalls were shut, and there was no atmosphere. So we left. And then stumbled across The Tandoor, a fast food Indian place, which describes itself as serving ‘The Street Food of India’. The portions were small which is exactly what we were after and tasty. The Balclutha Indian still wins… this was cheap and tasty.
Tucked up in bed before 10pm. Big day tomorrow. We have 3.5 days of sightseeing to fit into one day. Wish us luck!