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In the spring of 2016, Henderson Productions took an extended do-it-yourself driving tour of New Zealand.   We’re excerpting portions of our trip in this blog including Auckland beginning on the South Island with https://focusbyhenderson.com/tips-from-a-kiwi-local-in-christchurch/.    

Downtown Auckland at dusk

We opted to follow the advice of Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson whose book Slipping Into Paradise (Why I Live in New Zealand) in his rough itinerary of how to see “the real” Auckland.   He had us take the bay road east to some small suburbs and multiple bays of lovely sailboats.   It included a route directly to his little slice of beach and we got as far as his mailbox before opting not to take the long hike down and, more importantly, back up, to the beach.  

View of Auckland from the Mt Eden crater edge

We carried on through some of the burbs back to Mt. Eden for a bird’s eye view of the city and coast-to-coast from Tasman Sea to Pacific Ocean.  Then down the mountain to the trendy burb of Ponsonby for lunch and coffee and a little window shopping.    A-MAZE-ING cakes and breads and fresh veggie salads in all sorts of windows but we wanted sandwiches to eat on our afternoon hike and weren’t ready for lunch so close to breakfast time.    We ended up with a ham/cheese on ciabatta for Rick and a turkey/brie for me. 

Then onto the motorway for the northwest country – within 30 minutes of downtown – to visit the amazing Waitakare mountain/rainforest range.    We wound through rainforest on one side and the mountains on the other thru the cute little town of Turangi and up to the Visitors Center perched high on the top for spectacular views in all directions.   We happily ate our lunches and a couple beers looking out over the Tasman Sea while listening to a bunch of rowdy high schoolers goof around and try to answer their assigned natural history lesson questions. 

Diagonal/4 way pedestrian crossing

We headed back down, filled up the tank at 1.79 per liter.   We’ve paid as much as 1.99 per l in less populated areas and have to bring the car back full.    Good deal before smoothly getting back to the hotel before rush hour.    Rick headed in to snooze while I hit the streets for a couple hours of delightful window shopping.   

I walked through the University of Auckland campus, passed Albert Park with its gigantic trees, wandered into the art store and picked up a NZ green watercolor to try to capture some of yesterday’s hues.    Went into Top Shop and Body Shop and other favorites of years gone by; passed a Chinese district with imported candies with special stickers to translate into English; tons of college-oriented fashions at cheap prices; bus stations with all the women wearing tennies with their skirts carrying their heels in shoulder bags.    Love, love, LOVE the pedestrian crossing system – all four directions are stopped for ped crossings in any direction including diagonally.   How freakin’ cool is THAT? 

What’s your experience in New Zealand?   We’d love to hear your thoughts about Auckland and suggestions on Facebook at “suehendersonphotography