AUCKLAND DAYS FIVE & SIX: Staying Local

Sunday was a rainy day again (this is getting really old…locals are telling us this is so not normal, that the climate is changing—where have we heard that before….). Bob somehow hurt his back, so we decided to take it easy today. After a nice brunch at Hector’s Restaurant in the hotel, we went back to the studio to wish the rain away (didn’t work). Mid-afternoon, we went across the street to The Empire for lunch (a fish burger for me, fish & chips for Bob) and some internet time. The Empire turned out to be a great find—reasonably priced food and drinks, nice indoor/outdoor courtyard, excellent internet connection, and the welcome to stay as long as we liked—really made us feel at home…and connected with the rest of the world. (Kind of mind-boggling how dependent we’ve become on wi-fi access!)

On Monday, after having breakfast at The Rendezvous cafe (attached to The Empire, which is actually encompasses a hotel), we walked downtown to check on wine tours to Waiheke Island. Then we took the Interlink bus to NewMarket, another suburb of Auckland.

NewMarket calls itself the “fashion capital of New Zealand” so I was looking forward to checking it out. I have to say we were not particularly impressed with area. We walked along a retail street that seemed straight out the 60s architecturally, dotted with local shoppes of the kind that we saw on Queen’s Street downtown. I brightened upon seeing a Westfield Centre building—thinking about Westfield Center in San Francisco.

Not quite—it was nice enough, for a relatively old shopping center; it included a few nice stores, a food court, and a supermarket within its confines. I frankly think that downtown Auckland is much more fashionable.

We had lunch in the food court (quite nice sandwiches in a Pita Pit), bought a couple of items in the supermarket, and to took the bus back. (Not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but Auckland has excellent bus service. It’s easy to find and very dependable—definitely a big plus for that city.)

The weather forecast for the next day was predicting possibility of nice weather, so we decided that a “Wine on Waiheke” tour would be tomorrow’s destination.

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