We left the rain in Russell and headed south for our last night in the van. 3 hours south we arrived in Orewa Beach - in the rain. We had a great pitch overlooking the beach - apparently!
The next morning we packed up our stuff, cleaned the van (DS smashed a glass on the last morning!!!) and headed for Auckland. As it was Amy's birthday while we were there we booked a nice hotel suite at Hotel DeBrett in the centre of town. Driving the van down little side streets to drop our bags off produced the bluest language of the trip so far - it was so tight!
|Not that hungry|
That evening the rain was still turning roads into rivers as we headed out for food. We passed a few dodgy looking places before discovering Monsoon Poon - a Malaysia restaurant that also had a branch in Wellington that Damian had recommended. A few cocktails and a lot of food later we walked home - luckily the rain had stopped as someone had stolen the hotel umbrella!
The next day was Amy's birthday and the sun was shining as we headed out to Viaduct Harbour. The Volvo Round the World Race (Americas Cup) had just left a few days before we arrived, but the harbour was still full of enormous, expensive yachts that had come in for the party.
After lunch we strolled around the harbour and the city centre, before finding Albert Park and settling in for a late afternoon rest.
|The funniest double act buskers in Auckland!|
As we hadn't eaten for literally hours, we headed down to The Kitchen, the hotel's award winning restaurant.
|Still the Birthday girl|
|Can't take her anywhere!|
The sun was still out the next morning as we boarded a ferry and headed across the Hauraki Gulf bound for Waiheke Island, 40 minutes from Auckalnd.
|Not a bad view|
It has 8000 residents, but 1000s of tourists flock here each day during the summer to escape the city. It has pretty little tea rooms, some great walks and miles of unspoiled and uncrowded beaches.
We walked a few tracks around Oneroa and Blackpool, before getting the scenic bus to Onetangi and back to Matiatia to get the ferry back to Auckland.
|Not sure if they are permanent residents|
|Little Oneroa Beach hut|
|Little Oneroa Beach|
As the sun was still out we headed up the Auckland tower - the tallest structure in the southern hemishere (although the viewing deck in Melbourne's Eureka Tower is higher than the viewing deck here).
|Like a little CN Tower|
|CBD & Viaduct Harbour|
|CBD to Mount Eden (right) and One Tree Hill (left)|
We came back after dark too!
The next day was our last in Auckland and in NZ and after packing we wandered around Britomart, the new cool part of town that has been gentrified and modernized and is home to trendy cafes and bars, boutique shops and street art.
We got to the airport just as the heavens opened and the rain was back. We boarded the A380 and were Sydney bound!
|Huge screens with over 2500 movie,TV and on-board camera options!|