Before I share the first part of this trip report, I thought I would share the basis of how this trip came to happen. Back in early April of this year, I woke up in the early morning, having a sort of insomnia kind of night. As I lay in bed, I knew I wouldn't be getting back to sleep right away, so I grabbed my phone and got onto Facebook for a bit. While scrolling through some updates, I saw a link to an article from The Points Guy since several of my friends followed his blog and liked it on Facebook. This particular article was about a mistake fare from Qantas Airlines on cheapoair.com for round trip tickets from Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) that was around $229 USD!
As soon as I saw this, I knew I had to check it out so I was out of bed and on my computer, going to cheapoair.com, enter a set of dates that would work for me to get there, put in my credit card info, and see what happens. Low and behold, it would turn out to be legitimate, and I was able to score an incredible deal! Since I now had a means of going across the Pacific Ocean, I decided to look into the possibility of going across the Tasman Sea, and over to Australia. Upon investigation, I found that it wasn't a whole lot more to fly over to Australia and back, thus I decided to add it to my plan. This would result in one of my biggest trips ever, and adding two new countries to my list of those that I have visited.
Since the deal was for Los Angeles, we start our journey at LAX, where I would be taking my first flight on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Since I have begun delivering the Boeing Tour for Tours Northwest, I learned that the 787 provides a different experience since many of the plane's components are made with carbon fiber. This allows the plane to have high pressure and humidity levels in the cabin, making the in-plane environment more similar to what you experience on the ground. This would make a fairly big difference in my flight experience as I tried to take a bit of a snooze during this flight, expecting that I might not be able to sleep much seeing as how I usually do not sleep very well on planes. As it would turn out, I slept for almost half of the 12-hour flight (my longest flight thus far), and I feel that the cabin pressure and humidity difference from other planes may have been a factor in it.
So after the 12-hour flight, we land in Auckland marking my first time setting foot in the Southern Hemisphere! With this, New Zealand becomes my ninth different country that I have set foot on.
From Auckland Airport, I took the SkyBus into the Auckland City area, and took a short walk to the apartment that Phillip and I would be staying at, which we reserved through airbnb.com, which was the most commonly used site for places to stay during this trip, and each place worked out well, so I am all for using airbnb!
Since Phillip and I didn't get the same flight coming in, I was about 5-6 hours or so ahead of him arriving to Auckland, so I took a shower, got my camera bag out of my carry-on bag, and made my way into town to explore
To start my exploration, I first wondered over to Aotea Square, which sits right next door to Auckland Town Hall. The square features statues of some of Auckland's prominent people, including Dove-Myer Robinson (one of Auckland's most popular mayors) and Lord Auckland. There was also a big car show to coincide with a major race that was being held near by. What I found fascinating was that all of the cars at this show were American Muscle Cars, and each one of them had the driver on the left side, whereas the typical car in New Zealand has the driver on the right side.
From Aotea Square, I continued down Queen St, which seemed to be the main street of Auckland, toward the waterfront. Along the way there were a lot of shops along with some interesting buildings.
Along the way, I made a stop at Britomart Station, which is that main transportation depot of Auckland. Phillip and I would use this station later on in our trip to get to Manukau City for our stop at Rainbow's End.
Walking to the East of Britomart, I came to a nice park to walk around that was right beside Vector Arena, which is one of the main sports and concert facilities in Auckland.
I also discovered the original Auckland Railway Station, which dates back to the 1930's. It has since been converted into an Apartment building, but still maintains much of it's original design around the entrance.
Heading back towards the waterfront, there were a ton of these light posts along the way with these sculptures on them, and it appeared that these went nearly the full length of the waterfront in the city.
Another neat building that I saw was the Ferry Building, which is located next to the main terminals for the ferries that operate in the Auckland area. The building is still in use as it houses some restaurants and cafes.
Two of the main warfs in this part of the waterfront include the Queen's Warf, which has the funky shaped tent-like structure on it, and the other is the Prince's Warf, which has a Hilton Hotel on it.
Both warfs offer some excellent views of the bay and surrounding areas, along with the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Looking back toward the city, you also get a pretty great view of the skyline.
When you walk on the other side of Prince's Warf, you come alongside the New Zealand Maritime Museum. While I didn't go into the museum, I did enjoy seeing the boats that they had on display.
Heading back toward the apartment, I found this building to be fascinating as it was an old bathhouse with salt water pools, fairly similar to what the natatorium at Luna Park in Seattle would have had when it was open.
During my walk, I also saw a few things that I thought was interesting, or amusing, such as a shark bus for the Sea Life Aquarium, and a large collection of bean bag chairs where everyone could chill out for a bit.
And one of the most prominent buildings that you can see in the city is the Auckland Tower. It will be seen quite a bit in future updates as it is one of the most recognizable buildings in the Auckland Skyline.
All in all, this was a great way to start off the exploration of Auckland.
Up next, Phillip arrives to Auckland, and the two of us take a long walk towards Mission Bay.
See more of 2016 New Zealand & Australia Trip:
1: Arriving in New Zealand / 2: Walk to Mission Bay / 3 : Mount Eden / 4: Rainbow's End / 5: Arrival in Sydney /
6: Mrs. Macquarie's Point / 7: Sydney's Luna Park / 8: Sydney Habour Bridge & Rocks Tour /
9: Bondi Beach & Darling Harbour / 10: Walking Through Cairns / 11: Green Island & The Great Barrier Reef /
12: Warner Bros. Movie World / 13: Australia Zoo / 14: Aussie World / 15: Sea World & Wet'n'Wild / 16: Alice Springs /
17: Kings Park & Indian Ocean / 18: Fremantle / 19: Perth CBD & Elizabeth Quay / 20: Adventure World /
21: Walking Through Melbourne / 22: Luna Park Melbourne & St. Kilda / 23: Victoria Parliament / 24: Back to Auckland