13.4.2017 Auckland and Cyclone Cook

Everyone was being warned about an incoming Cyclone, named Cook. Businesses were shutting early, although as it coincided with the Easter break this could have been an excuse to get off early??

As the rain had been pretty appocolyptic the last couple of days we were dreading more rain and more wind. Still, the weather was ok in the morning for the ritual of caffeine and volcano walking. 

Caffeine was courtesy of a new cafe over the road, run by a friendly Italian. The coffee was strong and got us up and down Mt Eden at a fast pace.

We got back home, did some chores and sat around, waiting. The sun came out. Guy decided that his jeans didn’t fit, so we had to take them back. This attracted howls of derision from myself, along with taunts of ‘maybe you should have tried more jeans on!’.

Train ride later and we were in Newmarket and Guy was buying Birkonstocks, can you tell we are on our way home??? Jeans changed and we got a bus to Mt Eden and had a Japanese meal at Coen, with a free miso soup as they were closing for the Easter weekend. 

We were out of wine, and if a cyclone was forcasted we needed wine to see us through. Sensibly we bought just one bottle, yep, One, 1. 

Walk home in fine drizzle and we sat around the house, blogging, writing diary and chatting to Michelle, our house mate, who was also catching up on her diary.

Frustrated with technology, I suggested a glass of wine at 5pm.

Our host Richard came home from work at 5.30. Cyclone Cook never appeared.

We ran out of wine at 6pm, why did we only buy one bottle? Guy and Michelle got more wine and we chatted through the evening and had sausage butties for tea. 

We got a great Air BnB review from Richard!!!

12.4.2017 Rainy Auckland

With the time difference between here and home we are getting used to catching up with family and (usually alcohol happy) friends early in the morning. It is an entertaining start to the day whilst lazing around. We are now used to our phones not pinging, bleeping, ringing throughout the day which will no doubt change when we get home. I do like it this way though 😁

Rain, and lots of it, was forecast for today, so we decide that as we have experience of inclement weather in the UK and that sheltering in a pub is the best way to deal with this, we plan to stick to what we know.

Kiwi adverts….. LOL

Before that can happen we need to do the caffeined run up and down the extinct volcano, less views than before, same amount of Chinese tourists. 

Atmospheric views

Washing, food shopping and book buying later and we were looking out on our normally sunny patio wondering what on earth had happened to the weather. I know they said rain, but this was Asian appocolyptic rain. 

Rain on the patio. Serious rain

When it slacked off we walked to Brothers Brewery​, drank beer, wrote blogs and diaries and ate some flipping amazing food. 

Demonstrating use of umbrella outside the brewery

The brisket of beef and the pastrami were amazing. The sides of beans and cabbage will no doubt make a reappearance later in the form of noxious gases. 

Note​ to self: must remember to leave a window open tonight.

A short walk to Galbraith’s and we sampled award winning beer and carried on with blogging and diary writing. Tough day eh?

An English (kiwi) award winning bar

11.4.2017 Auckland Domain and Dumplings

So the healthy caffeinated run up and down an extinct volcano exercise routine is in full swing. We did it again and see yet more Chinese tourists checking out the views.

Rangitoto volcanic island

We walk over to the Domain, a huge expanse of green grass in the centre of Auckland, it also has a hothouse and fernery. Ace. 

Check out these roots….

Over the otherside of the Domain is Newmarket, which we head to as we are starving and spot a few Taiwanese, Japanese, Chinese and dumpling restaurants. Dumplings win, along with a glass of kiwi white wine each. 

Seafood, beef and carrot, pork and shrimp, shrimp types of dumplings

A spot of jeans shopping later and we were sorted. Guy tried on 3 pairs, I tried on slightly more.

Piles of disgarded jeans

I threw together a tuna nicoise salad back at home.

Check out those soft poached eggs

 and we did a double header on the movies and wine. Mad Max Fury Road, followed by The secret life of Walter Mitty. 

Wines tasted:

Coopers Creek Chardonnay

Lawson Dry Hills Gerwurtztraminer Marlborough

Wycroft Pinot Noir 2014 Wairarapa

Kahurangi Estate Pinot Noir 2015 Nelson

10.4.2017 Auckland

We are determined to get home being able to fit into our clothes in storage so are embarking on an exercise regime which involves getting caffeined up to the eyeballs then running up and down an extinct volcano every day, we will write a self help book about it when we get home and make a fortune.

The massive volcano that is Mt Eden

Day One and we did an 11 min walk to Rad for Guy to have their famous flat white. I stuck with a reliable long black (as opposed to a short black which is an espresso). Guy liked the flat white as it was less milky and more coffee than the usual frothy, milky coffee concoctions.

Wow, what a cool flat white

We had a light jog up aforementioned volcano and were greeted with even more Chinese tourists than yesterday. 

Guy looking relaxed after jogging up Mount

Back down the volcano and Guy cooked up a hearty breakfast of huevos rancheros which we demolished in seconds.

We had a wander down Dominion Road nearby and checked out the Chinese quarter, it was too early for dumplings so we carried onto Mt Eden shops which are varied and include an allotment, the likes of which I have never seen before. 

How beautiful is this???

We then carried on past a small kids playground with a bucket contraption in it. Like Aquarama in Bennicassim, if anyone has been there.

Memories of Spain

Back in Mt Eden and we chance upon an independent wine shop. What are the chances of that?  We chatted to the chap in the shop for sometime, purchased 2 bottles of wine and went home to plan and book much of the remaining time we have left accompanied by a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

Dinner was leftovers salad.

We watched Hateful Eight on our 42″ TV in our room and drank Pinot Noir.

Wines tasted:

Waiheke Island Sauvignon Blanc Man O’ War 2015

Marlborough Pinot Nior Giesen 2015

9.4.2017 Auckland suburbia

We awoke late, very late, thanks to a wonderfully comfy bed.  Fruit for breakfast in the garden admiring the avocado, manderin, lemon and lime trees growing all around us. Amazing.  I want to live on an extinct volcano, everything grows so well here.

Arvo already on a tree, won’t be ripe until November

We make a cup of green tea. Richard’s kettle is amazing. 

Just look at those tea settings

His toaster is just as impressive.

How many settings on this toaster

We walk to Kingsland which is another suburb of Auckland nearby.  It was nice, and had a bar serving Mac beer, which although it looked like a small brewer was actually owned by the massive Lion Beers whose owner had died the previous day. We toasted him with a small ale and a comfy seat.

Sunday’s were made for drinking

It was imperative that we moved on, a Sunday afternoon could quite easily have slipped by in that position. 

We walked into Ponsonby, where last time we enjoyed a Ponsonby Pie, the bakery was not to be found though, so we had 2 pies in the Ponsonby area anyway. 

Ponsonby steak and mushroom pie

We managed not to buy t-shirts from this area, at $85 each it wasn’t a difficult decision to make. In fact Guy even said that if there was a t-shirt with Stevie Bull on the front and Led Zepplin and Stone Roses in a big group selfie on the back he still wouldn’t pay that amount of money, thankfully this challenge wasn’t tested.

More up and down hill walking later and we were at the waterfront, drinking wine at The Conservatory, a Wither Hills Rarangi Sauvignon Blanc 2016 to be precise, and relaxing in comfy leather chairs with the wind and drizzle starting up outside the bar.

Kiwi sauvignon blanc

A quick dash along the waterfront and we were in Wynyard area, at an Irish pub. No, we didn’t have Guinness, not wanting to mix our drinks we had a Russian Jack Pinot Noir 2014 Martinborough. This means we have been in an Irish pub in each country we have stayed in. Result! Dedication and tenacity get results like that.

Kiwi Pinot Noir

We got the bus home, Guy threw together some nachos together in our kitchen, without looking too pissed, and we returned to our room, with its 42″ TV and watched Rogue One, I asked lots of questions throughout 🤣. 

8.4.2017 Auckland

We are staying in Mt Eden, which as the name suggests has a slight incline to the area. Our host, Richard is full of NZ and Auckland facts and has told us that Auckland is built on 46 volcanos, not all of them​ still active and not many of them still looking like volcanos. Mt Eden is dead as far as volcanic activity is concerned, but still a small hike uphill. 

Crater at top of Mt Eden

We had a short 15 minute, slightly breathless, walk up the Mount and were welcomed at the top by many Chinese tourists and stunning views over the city and bays of Auckland.

View of downtown Auckland

Having got our bearings at the summit, spotted about 10 volcanos still left around the area and viewed Eden Park, we had a walk down the other side of Mt Eden and onto Downtown Auckland. 

Eden park, home of Kiwi rugby

Fortunately we were passing through some dumpling restaurants, one was called Love Dumpling, and you can guess what happened next??? Pork and fennel dumplings, not the best we have had, but we still have to find a dumpling we don’t like.

Off centre dumplings on a plate

A wander down Queen Street and a few memories were coming back to us from 17 years ago, Real Groovy records was one of them.

Massive tower, and no, we didn’t go up it….vertigo!!!

Much more walking later, and a couple of magnums were devoured, red velvet and the ubiquitous hokey pokey flavour.

Soon we were in Newmarket and visiting a Countdown supermarket and getting a bus home laden with salad and dips. Dips are particularly good here, current ones we are sampling are Aubergine and cashew nut, also Kumara and coconut.  

Lisa knows her dips

Dinner was a healthy bacon and arvo salad, and an early night watching Force Awakens (Guy) & Kingpin (Al).