“Kia Ora” guys,
If you are wondering what I just wrote, it is a Maori phrase that means ‘Welcome’ 🙂 . Sorry for being MIA peeps, my in-laws are visiting us these days and I am pretty busy being a hospitable host. Nonetheless, I am back with my tales of ‘Trip of Lifetime’ series today. It was our last day at Auckland before flying off to South New Zealand and we were muddled between Waiheke and Rotorua, had to pick one for our day’s excursion obviously. So the decision was taken in favour of Waiheke (the word ‘waiheke‘ comes from Maori language that refers to ‘cascading waters’), an island with beautiful sandy beaches. It is the second-largest island in the gulf, after Great Barrier island – as big as the size of Singapore! sounds intriguing, right?
We had to take a ferry in order to get there, that is so obvious since it is an island of course… lol (I am bad at jokes, bear with me). It is 40 minutes away from Auckland downtown to Matiatia wharf. There are several ways to traverse the island, some of which are:
- Take a guided tour, some of which include meals too – probably the most easiest and expensive one of all.
- Rent a car or scooter on island – Oh I so love the scooter ride <3, we explored Koh Samui on 2 wheels at our honeymoon trip but this time E was with us hence it was not an option.
- Buy an all day bus pass for the island and hop-on-hop-off wherever you like.
You can get all the necessary details about pricing and timings on each of the above listed options at this link (Apply filter for Waiheke island for more relevant results).
We opted for the third alternative since we love exploring on our own, you all must have an idea about that by now. We bought a combined return pass for ferry and bus that costed us around $55 per head. You can get additional info and buy tickets here.
The weather was warm and sunny, perfect to carry out beach activities but it was one of those days when we were feeling lazy and tired after doing all the traveling and exploring. So we preferred strolling by the shore and inhaled the crisp salty sea breeze while we sat at a bench at the Oneroa beach and enjoyed consuming the fresh fruits (Kiwis, cherries and berries) which HI had bought from a local shop.
We then hopped on the bus and visited Onetangi beach which was more or less the same as Oneroa beach. Sun was shining right above us plus we were feeling slothful and the island has nothing more to offer except for the same views and beaches so we decided to find our way back to the city and check out Sky tower in CBD which we had missed the other day. Actually, the island has a very unique micro-climate and that is the reason it is famous for it’s wineries, in which we were least interested.
It was the moment when the thought crossed my mind that we should have selected Rotorua as our destination of the day. It must have been a more thrilling and rare experience to visit a geothermal wonderland which offers various kinds of activities like natural spa with warm water, mineral-enriched bubbling mud pools which erupt many times a day, forest walks, lakes at length with glow worm caves and fresh water springs. This all sound so spell binding, no? Unfortunately we were unable to enjoy all this but I am definitely going to visit Rotorua one day. 😉
Waiheke was not that bad either (trying to soothe myself :p… haha). We caught the ferry back to Auckland waterfront and from there we walked up to Sky city to catch a glimpse of tallest structure of the city – The Sky Towerrrr 😀
There is a large casino Skycity’ at first floor of the building which is open 24 x 7, if you are interested in gambling just in case ;). ‘
Ray and Noman bhai along with the kids joined us there afterwards and we then headed towards our dinner destination, Mamak Malaysian Restaurant which you can easily find on Kitchener street in downtown. The place is obviously halal and small but we enjoyed the awesome food they served. This was our first and last experience of dining out in Auckland in this trip and it turned out to be super delicious, we loved the peanut butter coated BBQ chicken ‘Satay Ayam’. I have plans to replicate the awesomeness at home, will share the recipe soon 🙂
Verdict: The food was tastilicious without any doubt. Recommended!
We all then boarded Noman bhai’s car and he took us for night tour around the city. Later on, we visited Mission Bay which is a seaside suburb, we chit chatted there for hours while the kids had lovely time enjoying the rides at the park.
This was about our last evening at Auckland, we had an early morning flight scheduled to Dunedin the next day where more jaw-dropping spectacular sights were awaiting us. I can’t wait to share our journey of South New Zealand with you guys but first I’ll be composing a summary post with all the details about ‘must-see’ places in and around Auckland like I did for Melbourne (Check that worth reading post here). Watch out for that!
Finishing the post with Malay word…
Terima Kasih 😀