It’s my second time back to NZ (first being back in 2016) and Dan’s first. When we were moving to Australia, we both agreed to visit New Zealand at one point because it’s right there. Since we decided to leave earlier than anticipated, we decided to squeeze NZ before exploring Australia and SE Asia.
We were there for about 10 days. My best friend, Victoria, lives out there and beside the geographic reason to visit, seeing my best friend again in three years and meeting her son for the first time was the main reason. Plus, Dan and I are going on three years and he finally gets to meet my best friend outside of video chats, lol.
Our trip to NZ started off with a red eye flight. Our roommates, Tolis, Tiffany and Charlii (the dog) dropped us off at the airport for us to catch out late night flight.
To save money, we caught the red eye flight and arrived in New Zealand about 6am. We took a bus to Albany station where we got an Uber to drop us off at Victoria’s place before she went to work. Our original plan was to visit the city after we settle into her place but by the time we got to Victoria’s place, we were pooped. Dan was falling asleep on the bus and I was just so tired, a nap turned into a sleep basically.
In hindsight, we did it to save money but Dan and I both agreed that we’re done with red eye flights.
On our second day, we ventured out into the city! We went to the Auckland War Museum and Auckland Domain. It’s amazing how strong a memory is! Being back in the Auckland CBD, I was able to recognize landmarks and guide us through parts of the city without the help of Google Map.
When we met back up with Victoria, we decided to head out to Mexico for dinner. Victoria and I looooove Mexico and were raving about it since we announced our NZ trip. Dan was obviously keen on trying out the restaurant we both were talking nonstop about.
Third Day, we took the ferry out to Rangitoto Island on the recommendation of the desk agent in the museum and let me just say – she did not disappoint!
Rangitoto is New Zealand’s youngest volcanic cones (??? If I recall correctly…). It was only formed a couple of millions years ago. Actually, when we were in Auckland, we never realized that NZ was formed out of volcanoes!
Note – any native NZ, please feel free to correct me if my facts are wrong. It’s been a while since I read up on this.
So, I’ll admit. I wasn’t the happiest camper that day and as Dan calls it, I had my grump pants on throughout the day. The reason being I walked 30km in jeans and a sweater. I recall Dan saying it’s just a little bit of walking and I figured that we’ll be by the ocean where it gets pretty windy and chilly. But I was wrong.
It also didn’t help that were very unprepared for our journey. There are no stores on Rangitoto and despite the warnings of the ticket agents and ferry staff, we didn’t buy any extra water bottles or snacks. We figured the walk won’t be too bad and there is water fountain for us to refill the one bottle we had.
But, we pushed through and my mood picked up a bit when we were hiking under the shade and not under the sun.
When we got off the island, we went into the closest sushi restaurant we can find for drinks and food (which is the worst sushi we ever had!) before calling it a day.
On our fourth day, we took a road trip to the ever so beautiful Coromandel. Dan loves nature and landscape so I was pretty excited for him to finally see Coromandel. Plus, it was also nice to see Victoria’s parents again!
We arrived in the afternoon and we visited this local seafood festival where we also met Victoria’s sister and her boyfriend for the first time.
We later went to this secret beach (literally, you have to climb over rocks and walk a trail to get there). It was beautiful, quiet and so relaxing.
On the fifth day, Dan and I went to the famous Coromandel Cove. I’ve actually never been here before so it was a first for me as well.
On our way back to Auckland, we stopped by this crystal store where I picked up a few crystals for the first time! I’ve been into witchcraft and the whole universe thing and it turned out that Victoria had the same interest as well! It was also the full moon as well so she taught me a lot about crystal cleansing and healing.
Sixth day, the four of us went to Shakespeare Park nearby.
Dan and Caelen bonded instantly when they met. After his mom, he usually goes to him to chat nonsense and hang out with him. Me? He throws toy cars in my face when I try to sleep in.
Seventh day, Victoria, Dan and I spent the day roaming around the CBD. We struggled to find something to do until we stumbled upon an escape room. All three of us has never done one so we dropped by Escape Masters Auckland and did this mafia room.
Can you believe it? We literally solved the entire room with like 30 seconds to spare! It was actually pretty fun and I wouldn’t mind doing it again. I’d like to try a scary haunted on next time.
We again went back to Mexico for lunch.
On our second to last day, Dan and I went to Mount Wellington after seeing my cousin’s IG picture. It was a short walk up a big hill to reach the top and have a spectacular view of the city and a crater.
We later walked to Cornwall Park and visited the observatory. I thought there would be a constellation show but it turned out they show it at 7PM.
I thought it’d be fun to put them side by side, haha. Man, I haven’t changed one bit…
On our last night, we took it fairly easy and packed. For dinner, we obviously had Mexico again and then Ben and Jerry’s before we made a drive out to Victoria’s extended family to crash for the night since they live much closer to the airport than Victoria did.
Did I mention that we pretty much met her family on this trip? Haha. It’s pretty neat.
Our flight back to Australia was 9am.
Auckland, you’ve been spectacular again and I’m so blessed to have seen this place for the 2nd time. When I think about it, New Zealand is the first country I’ve visited for the 2nd time! Honestly, it felt almost like home when I landed back in Auckland.
Our next stop? Gold Coast, Australia!