9.4.2017 Auckland suburbia

We awoke late, very late, thanks to a wonderfully comfy bed.  Fruit for breakfast in the garden admiring the avocado, manderin, lemon and lime trees growing all around us. Amazing.  I want to live on an extinct volcano, everything grows so well here.

Arvo already on a tree, won’t be ripe until November

We make a cup of green tea. Richard’s kettle is amazing. 

Just look at those tea settings

His toaster is just as impressive.

How many settings on this toaster

We walk to Kingsland which is another suburb of Auckland nearby.  It was nice, and had a bar serving Mac beer, which although it looked like a small brewer was actually owned by the massive Lion Beers whose owner had died the previous day. We toasted him with a small ale and a comfy seat.

Sunday’s were made for drinking

It was imperative that we moved on, a Sunday afternoon could quite easily have slipped by in that position. 

We walked into Ponsonby, where last time we enjoyed a Ponsonby Pie, the bakery was not to be found though, so we had 2 pies in the Ponsonby area anyway. 

Ponsonby steak and mushroom pie

We managed not to buy t-shirts from this area, at $85 each it wasn’t a difficult decision to make. In fact Guy even said that if there was a t-shirt with Stevie Bull on the front and Led Zepplin and Stone Roses in a big group selfie on the back he still wouldn’t pay that amount of money, thankfully this challenge wasn’t tested.

More up and down hill walking later and we were at the waterfront, drinking wine at The Conservatory, a Wither Hills Rarangi Sauvignon Blanc 2016 to be precise, and relaxing in comfy leather chairs with the wind and drizzle starting up outside the bar.

Kiwi sauvignon blanc

A quick dash along the waterfront and we were in Wynyard area, at an Irish pub. No, we didn’t have Guinness, not wanting to mix our drinks we had a Russian Jack Pinot Noir 2014 Martinborough. This means we have been in an Irish pub in each country we have stayed in. Result! Dedication and tenacity get results like that.

Kiwi Pinot Noir

We got the bus home, Guy threw together some nachos together in our kitchen, without looking too pissed, and we returned to our room, with its 42″ TV and watched Rogue One, I asked lots of questions throughout 🤣. 

8.4.2017 Auckland

We are staying in Mt Eden, which as the name suggests has a slight incline to the area. Our host, Richard is full of NZ and Auckland facts and has told us that Auckland is built on 46 volcanos, not all of them​ still active and not many of them still looking like volcanos. Mt Eden is dead as far as volcanic activity is concerned, but still a small hike uphill. 

Crater at top of Mt Eden

We had a short 15 minute, slightly breathless, walk up the Mount and were welcomed at the top by many Chinese tourists and stunning views over the city and bays of Auckland.

View of downtown Auckland

Having got our bearings at the summit, spotted about 10 volcanos still left around the area and viewed Eden Park, we had a walk down the other side of Mt Eden and onto Downtown Auckland. 

Eden park, home of Kiwi rugby

Fortunately we were passing through some dumpling restaurants, one was called Love Dumpling, and you can guess what happened next??? Pork and fennel dumplings, not the best we have had, but we still have to find a dumpling we don’t like.

Off centre dumplings on a plate

A wander down Queen Street and a few memories were coming back to us from 17 years ago, Real Groovy records was one of them.

Massive tower, and no, we didn’t go up it….vertigo!!!

Much more walking later, and a couple of magnums were devoured, red velvet and the ubiquitous hokey pokey flavour.

Soon we were in Newmarket and visiting a Countdown supermarket and getting a bus home laden with salad and dips. Dips are particularly good here, current ones we are sampling are Aubergine and cashew nut, also Kumara and coconut.  

Lisa knows her dips

Dinner was a healthy bacon and arvo salad, and an early night watching Force Awakens (Guy) & Kingpin (Al).

7.4.2017 Australia to New Zealand

So, second flight of the trip and we had a breakfast to line the stomachs. 

B.L.A.T. (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Tomato) for me, and I did actually say BLAT when ordering it, in a slightly English, ‘I feel a numpty saying this’ kinda way.

Guy’s usual of eggs, toast, arvo and bacon

A film crew were also filming in the tiny cafe, we kept out of the way.

Using up the last of our Aussie dollars we showed our age by buying boiled sweets to help with the ear pressure on planes, and to put in our car when we get home and have a Sunday drive out.

On checking into the flight we were told we needed to book flights out of New Zealand otherwise we can’t go there. We attempt to book flights home using my credit card, the only one we have left, which is declined before being approved. If nothing else, we need to get home to get our driving licences and new credit cards, Guy’s card having been cloned whilst in Australia and a new one sent to my Mum who is having a ball with it. 

Our panic bought flight is booked to leave on Star Wars Day (yes, Guy did tell me that) and arrive on 5th May which involves the longest flight you can take in the world…  17 hours. See Guardian article. Bring it on! 

We hope to see all our readers welcoming us back at Heathrow on the 5th May…..😂 (Blog will have intermittent service after this date as our lives will be dull and boring, again).

We are now able to check in and our flight to Auckland was short and noisy with families containing small kids all vying to see who could scream the loudest.   

Touchdown in NZ felt like home with the green fields covering the landscape but the stringent quarantine laws quickly confirmed it wasn’t when they needed to check the shells we had picked up in Hawks Nest. They passed, and we were allowed in. Our last visit had involved indepth questioning from quarentine officials over a box of Bisto gravy powder and whether it had BSE in it. Like a box of Bisto had seen any cow….. let alone a mad one?

Our Air BnB place was 2 min walk from the SkyBus, and it was 17 degrees outside….. what??? It felt cold, very cold.

Anyway soon we were in the loveliest home ever, chatting with Richard, our host, and eating excellent fish n chips from the local chippy he had recommended.

Kumara chips, delicious

UPDATE: For those of you wondering what we are doing on our return to Blighty, we are planning on renting a small flat in Birmingham, getting jobs and saving for our next adventure. We will of course be in touch with friends to sort out catch ups, but flat and jobs will be our focus to get us back into society again. We are also going to try and do without a car!!! Using public transport and bikes…… we will see how that dream goes though.