Auckland (Rāhina, Maehe 26th 2012)

That day we explored the Auckland. But since our Bus to Rotorua departs at 4 pm, we only had 6 hours to tour.

To ease our walk, first we stored our luggage in Intercity Bus Terminal.This is the locker look alike.

Then we headed to Denny’s for breakfast ( http://www.dennys.co.nz/main_menu/ ). I have to say, that was the first best breakfast. The Vegetarian Big Breakfast really took my BIG effort to finish it, yet it’s very tasty and Denny’s warmth atmosphere brought the best energy to travel that day.

We used Auckland Explorer Bus as our first option since it offers drop ons and offs in Auckland’s Best sightseeing and attraction point. It costs 40 NZD for all-day pass, or if you really want to visit every places and enjoying it for a quite a while, you may want to pay 65 NZD for 2 day pass ( visit http://www.explorerbus.co.nz/timetable.html where you can download it’s route and timetable).

Since our time was limited, we only chose several places to visit for a considerably short time.

First Spot: Bastion Point Lookout (The point is the location of the Savage Memorial for the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand Michael Joseph Savageon 1930s).
It offers you amazing if not perfect green green grass ( i found my fondness to green green grass at new zealand) spread out in a hill with a look out point of Auckland city from a far. It was a great place to relax, stretch your body and lay down on the green grass and feel the earth, right just where you belong. You can see the skyline building and Waitemata Harbour from there.
Other than that, there’s also a beautiful park where a monument stands tall dedicated to Michael Joseph Savage, a minister in 1930s.

Second Stop: Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World ( http://kellytarltons.co.nz/ )
The main and the only reason we went there is the penguin. Kelly Tarlton underwater world pretty much reminded me of Sea World in Jakarta – Indonesia, except that Sea World does not have Penguin. With 31 NZD (online price) you can get a ticket too explore underwater wilderness. It has a underwater aquarium where they put in a circling manner and both conveyor and walking path for you too slowly observe the sea creature such shark, stingray, seahorses, and many other unique sea creature i couldn’t remember)
As for the penguin watch (namely antartic encounter) , there was like a small train (max 4 passgr) that was set run towards an antartic cave, and after passing the enterance area you could see a big pool where the penguins mingle and play (some cute penguin couple were starred at us). It was amazing, they are such an amazing creature!
Note: Kelly Tarlton was a man, not a woman.

Third Stop: Parnell Village
By the time we got there, it was already 12:30, so we hurried for a lunch. We passed this wonderful place – not so big, yet eye-catching. Especially with a board outside written a promotional spring lunch with only 15 NZD (coffee or tea included).
We got in without second thought. The restaurant named La Bocca (which is translated: The Mouth, visit http://www.labocca.co.nz/ ). Not sure if that’s the perfect translation. But indeed, the food was mouth-watering. It was tasty. I ordered vegetarian fetuccine and Amelia ordered Spaghetti al Ragú. Best Lunch so far !

Fourth Stop: Auckland Museum (http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/)
Looking from the outside, Auckland Museum was so majestic. Inside, you can find so many things about maori culture, it’s traditional house, traditional hunting gadget, and many thing. If i had a second chance to visit it, i would come to visit and observe closely.

Final Stop: Skyline (http://www.skyline.co.nz/)
From skyline we walked to Intercity Bus Terminal and hopped on the Bus.

We arrived at Rotorua around 7 pm and checked in Astray Backpackers and Motel (http://www.astray.co.nz/) . The owner was very friendly, the room is spacious, clean and neat. It was the best place to redeem our last night at Auckland.
Sadly though, almost restaurant and store had already closed. Thanks to Domino pizza for our dinner. Domino openned until late (around 10 pm)

The Most
Most impulsive line “Let’s get down here” – i didn’t plan to stop at Bastion Point, yet when the bus stop at it, i couldn’t help but stood and got off the bus
Best Breakfast so far Denny’s Vegetarian Big Breakfast
Best Lunch so far La Bocca’s Vegetarian Fetuccine
Most intimate moment Bastion Point
Most horrific Situation ‘Dead city Situation’ By the time we ready for dinner in Rotorua (+/- 8 pm) almost all stores closed – only several openned until late. It was kind of scary walk alone with nobody around.

Highlight and Tips
– Breakfast
For most indonesian people, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, we always have rice in the plate. Breakfast at Denny’s really explain what a different breakfast culture that i had. Whole-grain toasted bread, scramble eggs, mushroom, tomatoes, hasbrown. For many of you who ‘can’t live without rice’ should put that perspective away for a while and enjoy what you can get. I got the same fullness with what i have with rice and the combination of all that in a platter was absolutely delicious and nutritious.

For breakfast, allocate 10 – 20 NZD (including beverage)
– Photo Session at Attraction site
It came to my notice that in most tour or attraction point (Paihia dolphin cruise, Kelly Tarlton), they offer photo session with their photographer. Your pictures (edited, or not-edited) would then be displayed, wrapped in fine map complete with booklets, CD, keyring, and postcard-printed photos with price may vary from 30 – 50 NZD. Some arrangements may allow you to download your photo online and enable you to share it via facebook or twitter.

For a second thought that was a quite pricey. But the way they treat your photos and experience in 1 package makes you kinda attracted to it, and also because it sort of a ‘goods’ or ‘thing’ that can relate you with the experience. If you still think it doesn’t worth it, you can refuse to be taken a photograph politely, or if you think it’s worth the ‘historic value’, load your wallet carefully.

– Classic tale of Photographs and experience
During the trip i observed several tourist who’d simply just walk, observe and memorize everything without the help of camera or handycam. Well i’m the kind who enjoy it without the camera, and enjoy it more with the camera or sometime the other way around.

There’s always a pleasure in sucking it all without taking photographs; but there’s also desire to capture those beautiful scenery – like you don’t want something amiss. Given that, there’s always compromising moment between ‘stay calm and embrace’, ‘taking picture’, or ‘mingle to the local, learn and explore’.

I’m not saying that by having the camera on your hand you can’t enjoy it. But without it, all your sense kind of focused on what’s being presented around you and embrace it all, rather than busy taking the pictures and pose.

Time is also thing you need to consider if you want to have all experience, enlightment and great pictures all together. Especially in hop on hop off situation, either you stood there and watch, taking picture, or stay on the bus.

– Operational Hour
You may want to surf through the internet in advance, ask local people or i-site the normal operating hours of restaurant, convenient store, souvenire outlet, etc.

Some city like Rotorua or Paihia (and probably many other that we didn’t had a chance to visit) may have shorter operating hours; close at 5 pm. While cities like Auckland, Wellington or Auckland has longer operating hour – many still open until 10 or 11 pm.

So arrange your trip carefully so you don’t ended up went out for dinner, walking through like in the middle of “ nightmare on the elm street” movie setting.

Thanks Auckland for Hosting us!

Here’s our Day 4 Itinerary:

Day 4 Itinerary

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