Occasionally Wanderlust: Auckland, New Zealand Edition

When someone asks you to fly to New Zealand for the weekend, and they’re not kidding, how do you say no? My life doesn't always feel like an episode of The Kardashians, but this weekend did. 

So, when Jeff asked me if I wanted to go to New Zealand, I said yes.  With less than 48 hours to prepare, I managed to get out of work, talk my way out of classes, and book shady parking in LA. And SHA BANG! I was suddenly on a 14-hour flight to the South Pacific by Wednesday night.

I left Los Angeles Wednesday night and arrived in Auckland, New Zealand 6am Friday morning. Freaky. New Zealand is 19 hours ahead of Pacific time which actually worked out awesome because it only felt like a 5-hour difference. Crazy Jet-setter stuff. I know. 

After dropping my phone and shattering it after 5 minutes in Auckland, I walked to our hotel, The Sebel. A nice, “trendy”, hotel right on the harbor. The view was decent. (below) 

Auckland New Zealand Harbor

My first impression of Auckland was that it felt like a greener, not so drought-like San Diego. Mild weather, oceanic views, sailboats, touristy restaurants, and a small, but present, downtown area describes both cities accurately. Minus the fact that San Diego doesn’t have a giant Sky Tower in the middle. Someone should look into that. One point for Auckland and their Sky Tower. Auckland also has a large park, called Auckland Domain, with lots of trees, flowers, fountains, and buildings, all very similar to things you would find in San Diego’s Balboa Park. 

We managed to shove many activities into our weekend, here are the highlights: 

  • Took more than 500 pictures.

Picture of Auckland Tower from Auckland Domain

 

  • While Jeff was working Friday, I walked around downtown Auckland, visited The University of Auckland, and checked out the enormous park, Auckland Domain. The picture above is of The Auckland Tower from the park. 

 

  • Jeff took me to a marketing networking event. That makes me an international marketer, right? Right! ✓
Hanging out in a Hobbit hole in Hobbiton in New Zealand.
  • On Saturday, we traveled south to Hobbiton, which is the movie set where both The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings series were shot. I am by no means a die hard Hobbit fan, but I fan girled for Hobbiton. The detail put into the set is incredible and feels like a real village. Except that the Hobbit holes are only three feet deep and there aren't hobbits running around.
Jeff selling his goodies at Hobbiton
  • Also, Jeff had a lot of fun pretending he was a little hobbit selling bread. Lol. 
Waterfall in New Zealdn
  • Jeff and I hiked to the base of Wairere Falls. New Zealand offers everything from endless flat plains to mountains and summits, to waterfalls, and volcanos. The volcanic rock that makes up a lot of the island makes it easy for plants and moss to grow and the rainy weather gave everything an emerald glow. Although the waterfall was the main attraction, multiple bridges, scenic rocks, and the flowing river filled the hike with endless picture-perfect moments. 
Ferry ride from Auckland to Wahieke
  • We took a ferry to Wahieke. New Zealand is a collection of Islands, and Wahieke is one of the major ones! It is home to many wineries and other tourist attractions. So of course we went to do our touristy things. 
  • While on Wahieke, we ate at a very chic winery, Cable Bay,  and took in some amazing views while eating half the menu. HOWEVER, I didn't get to try the wine because they would not accept my American ID.  
Zip Line across Wahieke Island
  • We zip-lined across the island at EcoZip Adventures and there were even more.... VIEWS! The zipline course is a combination of three separate zip lines, increasing in speed and length. The last one offers unobstructed views of the Auckland skyline and is higher than the Auckland Harbour Bridge where people often bungee jump from. 
View of Auckland from the Sky Tower
  • The final day we visited the Auckland Sky Tower. Stormy weather meant low visibility, but the aerial views were still prime and the glass floors were terrifying. 

After three days of intense tour-isting (new word), it was time to head back to California. Flight time: 11 hours… thank you, wind. Also, flying over the equator is terribly turbulent… nothing to settle the nerves like a bumpy flight without land in sight. 

Our flight left Auckland Monday afternoon and we arrived Monday morning, just in time for me to drive back to San Diego and make it to class. Woo... 

It was a ridiculous weekend filled with just enough adventure. New Zealand is definitely on my "must-go-back-to" list. 

And that’s the story of my weekend trip to Auckland. Stay tuned for the next adventure and here's one more cute picture of us hugging a Kauri Tree for good luck. :) 

Thanks for an incredible trip, Jeffrey. <3

Hugging a Kauri Tree for good luck