Out last day in Chalet Romantica (which was very good – review on Trip Advisor) and after breakfast we started the day with a quick visit to Haruru falls before we set off for the three hour drive back to Auckland where we only have one night.
We had thought about driving down the east coast of Northland but neither the guide books nor the people we had spoken to suggested that it was a good idea (the main attraction are the forests and we have already seen a fair few trees on our trip so far and besides the drive is around 6-7 hours). So we opted for an (uninteresting) drive down the main highway.
We arrived in Auckland early afternoon and made our way to Mount Eden (Maungawhau, the ‘Mountain of the Whau tree’ in Māori) is the name of an old volcano and surrounding suburb. You can either hike up to the top or take the car. We took the car ;-). There are panoramic views from the top of the whole city (especially as we had decent weather on the day) and surrounding suburbs. Another great free attraction!
We checked into our hotel the Grand Sky City (a bit soulless but very clean) and then set off on a quick whizz around the harbor. The harbor is quite impressive with great views across the bay to the bridge and lots of trendy places to eat (where we came back to eat in the evening). Reminds me a lot of Sydney but less crowded and cheaper!
In the evening we took a walk down to the wharf area which is a must do with some really spectacular views of the city and the tower. We had dinner at Pescados which was totally unremarkable and we would rather have eaten somewhere else but unfortunately all were full! My advice is to book a table somewhere in advance.
Staying in a mainstream hotel for the first time on this trip has reminded us why we chose to stay in B&B’s as, frankly while the hotel is nice, you could be anywhere else in the world and a B&B enables you to connect much better with the areas visited.
We actually don’t have much time in Auckland and are leaving early afternoon tomorrow and tomorrow morning is expecting heavy rain so a more exploratory review of the city may have to follow on a future trip.