I first visited Auckland, New Zealand in 2003 as the first stop on a long journey around New Zealand. It’s not the most beautiful or most spectacular place in New Zealand, but it’s a perfectly pleasant place to spend a few days.
Since that initial visit, I’ve popped in and out of Auckland for a night or two several times. Most recently, my Azamara Quest voyage disembarked there. During the last night of my cruise, I did a fantastic caviar tasting onboard the Quest.
As I sailed into Auckland onboard the Quest, I saw the city in a different way than I ever had before. At sunrise, with the water sparkling, Auckland looked downright stunning.
I filled my day the same way I always do in Auckland. I went for a walk and checked ou the Viaduct, Queen Street and the Sky Tower. I’ve actually done the Sky Jump before, and wish I had some digital photos to share! But it was nearly thirteen years ago.
During this trip, I had dinner with an old friend from New York who now lives in Auckland. She took me to a local area off the beaten path, which I never would have visited on my own. We ate at a restaurant called Blue Breeze in Auckland’s Ponsonby neighborhood.
Ponsonby is a bit out of town but offers great views of the city proper. It’s a trendy area, similar to Sydney’s Paddington neighborhood or Collingwood in Melbourne. It was great to catch up with an old friend, and the experience also illustrated the importance of finding out where the locals in a city like to hang out.
Everyone always says “I like to meet locals and really explore a place,” but few people ever actually do it. When you get that chance, don’t pass it up! It would be like visiting New York City and only seeing Times Square or he Empire State Building.
So while Auckland is not a city that blows me away, it did remind me of an important lesson that is too easy to forget: it’s always better to immerse yourself in a destination the way a local would.
Azamara Club Cruises has four upcoming voyages calling on Auckland, New Zealand: