Bubbles, boats and beaches in Auckland, NZ

I’m jumping about a bit with my Australia posts as there are so many other things going on at the moment – so just to remind you where we left off, we just spent a long weekend in Sydney and have now arrived in New Zealand. We only had 48 hours here on our whistle-stop trip down under – a bit bonkers but with a limited amount of time to play with and having both lived in NZ in the past, we figured 2 days was just about long enough to visit our friends and family in Auckland.

Our ex-expat buddies Matt and Tess moved back to home to Auckland after a year in Cayman to be closer to their families and start their own! It was so awesome to meet their little man and hang out with the three of them. They took us for breakfast in Ponsomby which you HAVE to do if you’re in the city – on a hill overlooking the high rises downtown and the harbor, it’s a funky suburb full of quirky boutiques and café’s with delicious food and cakes. We settled down at a table in Ponsomby Central which has a market vibe with lots of shops and deli’s sharing one space.  Having filled up on a hearty breakfast we set off to explore.

Choosing from the menu here is not an easy task! Best to get a second opinion.

Choosing from the menu here is not an easy task! Best to get a second opinion.

The city is an easy 20 minute walk from Ponsonby, and largly downhill! I’m a sucker for city marina’s so we made a beeline for the boats in the Viaduct Basin home to fancy yachts and even fancier apartments.

Strolling the Maori inspired boardwalks, drops of rain started to fall so we sought refuge at SnapDragon overlooking the Americas Cup race yachts, imaginging them in action on the high seas.

Just thinking about the conditions the crews have to endure was enough to make us hungry and searching for lunch. There are so many options in the marina but according to our hosts, they’re all rather touristy so we went deeper into the centre of town and found a lively gastro pub, The Northern Steamship Company, right next to Britomart Sq - a hit with all ages! 

All too soon it was time to bid farewell to our friends and set off into the countryside with our family. We spent our first night with them getting caught up on, well pretty much everything, enjoying the outdoors and planning our excursion for the next day when, after a bbq breakfast we set off for the black sands of Peha.

Pena beach Auckland

Yes you read that correctly – black sand!  To my horror people were swimming in the icy water! Realising how truly soft and spoiled by Caribbean temperatures I was, we watched the boys run in and splash around, wishing we had more time to do the hike up lions head which splits the beach in half. Apparently it’s a 1-2 hour hike and if I ever go back I’ll let you know what it’s like! Instead we grabbed a less time consuming and waistline friendly ice cream and after one final squeeze with this lot we made a beeline for the airport!

Peha Auckland

Next stop, Perth!