CINCO DE MAYO
Awake to my brother being loud. I am still tired from the night before but it is time to eat. There is no time to waste as I need to figure out what I would like to do today. I look outside on the balcony which is overlooking the wharf with all the ships coming in. The sky is wonderfully cloudy and it is a breezy 70 degrees with no rain.
I came back to the room to look through all the tour and attractions flyers I had picked up at the concierge desk. Trying to see what my options were and if anything jumped out at me.
I decide that today would be a great day to get on a ferry and venture off to another one of the many islands. I recalled the KIWI's told me about Waiheke Island which was about a 40 minute ferry ride from Auckland where I was.
Tour of Waikeke Island
$57 NZ Dollars - Includes a ferry ride to and from Auckland, 1 1/2 hour scenic tour of the island with some stops, and an unlimited bus pass for the day.
Note: Bring windbreaker, hair tie, camera, charger for phone, sunglasses, cigarettes, Water, snacks, umbrella, Ipod, book, hat, wear sunscreen, towel, and swim suit.
11:00AM - Depart Auckland to Waikeke Island
The ferry is a very large. I chose to ride on a seat outside to enjoy the views of the ocean and other land masses in the distance. You could however sit inside if you wished to do so. They have plenty of seating inside with chairs and tables. The ferry also has massive windows so that you do not miss out on the views. It is like you are on a small cruise ship in a way.
11:45AM Arrive at Waiheke Island
I had to go to the restroom before boarding the bus to do my tour of the island and those lines were freaking long. I almost missed my tour bus.
12:00PM - Boarding the Adventure Tour
Our guide was an elderly local with a funny accent. He was being upbeat and funny to make the tour more enjoyable but the people that were on the bus just were dull and boring. I took up the whole back of the bus to myself away from the boring passengers. Also, this was a great way for me to be able to go left or right to take photographs of the sights from the windows easily. We saw lots of land, sheep, horses, passer bys that were walking the island, lots of country side, million & billion dollar homes, beaches, wine vineyards, places to shop, restaurants, and bars. The tour guide was basically setting us up for us to have our own adventure on the Island after the tour was over. Since we have that all day free bus pass to use on the island. The scenery just took my breathe away. The photos that I took here really do not do it justice. You really have to come here and see it with your own eyes. It did remind me a lot of Hawaii in so many ways because of how relaxed of a vibe it had. The locals were very open, talkative, and friendly. The were chill to the max just going with the flow and enjoying life. I did not see them in much of a hurry and they did not seem stressed at all. I mean how could you be when you lived on an island with amazing views everyday. That is just island life for you though.
I was hungry and thirsty for some real food by this time so the tour guide dropped me off at a place with shops, restaurants, and galleries. I got off the bus and walked down to see what all shops were around. Taking various photographs along the way most of which were scenery and flowers. I saw a cute guy who was busy landscaping a huge home in front. He was smoking a cigarette and so I stopped to talk to him. His name was Joey. I asked for his recommendation on where was a good place to eat was around the area. I said that my tour guide had mentioned that the Cove was good. Joey said that it was good but it was very expensive but that they had beer. haha. We chatted a bit and he asked where I was from. I said of course that I was from Texas. Joey asked how long I was in town for. And I told him that I was only on the island for today. He laughed and told me that it was not enough time. Joey asked me what I was doing on the island. I told him that I was just there to take in the sights and photographs. He said, "Photographs of what?" I said of the beach of course. He laughed so hard and said that I did not need to take the bus to do that. That the beach was right behind us. He said look let me show you. We then headed to the backyard of the house he was landscaping. This place was posh! Decked out to the max hands down. So he walked me over to an unfinished lookout point where you could see the ocean. Joey and I chatted there just staring at the ocean for a good while before I told him I should let him get back to work. We parted ways and I went back to search for food and drink.
I found this place called The Local. The place was small but had a great view of the ocean on the patio. The menu was not too pricey and the staff was friendly. This place had good vibes all around from the cook and waitress upon my arrival into the joint with AC/DC playing. I ordered some local New Zealand White Fish HOKI, fries (chips), and local beer Tiger. I took my beer out on the patio to look at the ocean and rest for a bit. That first taste of beer was glorious along with this amazing view in front of me. This is my life right now. And it was just fabulous. The waitress brought out my fish and chips which I was blown away by the size of my fish. It was freaking huge! But totally delicious with huge steak cut fries. I finished off my lunch and beer then headed out.
There was a pathway nearby which allowed you to walk down to the beach. I headed down to the beach taking in the fresh sea breeze and sounds of the waves crashing. I walked along the coast just enjoying the views and photographing here and there. I was out for a long while seeing lots of the sea shells and waving hello to the people walking along the beach as we passed each other. I then decided to head up back the pathway to go wash my feet off and head up the rest of the way to catch the bus back to the ferry to go back to Auckland as it was getting late.
5:00PM - Ferry back to Auckland, New Zealand
I decided this time to sit inside for my ride back which was a good choice on my part as it had begun to rain and get a bit chilly outside. The ferry had a concession stand for drinks and snacks if you wished to purchase them. There were also TV's to watch to pass the time of the ride back. I sat on a seat with a table next to a huge window to look outside while reading my book.
*** Note: Take a flash with your fav liquor and just buy a coke from the concession stand to save money.
6:00PM - Returned back to The hotel
Relaxed for a bit before dinner that evening. I had a long day with a lot of walking and sight seeing. On the go for hours without stopping. Just needed some chill time.
9:00PM - Dinner at Botswana Butchery in Auckland
Starter: Seared King Prawn & Goat Cheese Tortellini $26.95 NZ
carrot puree, pine nuts, raisins, burnt butter, and crispy sage
(This was so freaking good!!!!)
Main: HAPUKA white fish w/ Bernaise sauce $33.95 NZ
Side: Broccali with cheese
Dessert: Dark Chocolate Mousse with Vanilla ice cream $16.95 NZ
Almond sponge, white chocolate lemon whip ganache, confit orange
(finger licking good)
This place had good vibes all around, low lighting, very cool looking furniture. The kitchen doors had windows that were made to look like a meat cleaver, and the door handles to the restaurant in the front were meat cleaver handles. The staff here was just totally amazing and friendly.
11:00PM - Home sweet home (hotel)
Went back to the hotel, this was a full day, I passed out!!!!!