Finally Got to Aukland!!
As the aircraft touched down in New Zealand at dawn, I could not contain my excitement. This was a dream coming true. To top it all up, I was going to meet one of my best friends, who I had not seen in forever.
transport from the airport.
If you have not arranged with the hotel for pick up then it’s very easy to get a taxi or better yet just grab an uber. The city is a distance from the airport so I had the hotel pick me up. As I said, I arrived quite early and 16 hrs is a long time to be on the aircraft. Despite my excitement, I fell asleep on the drive to the hotel and only woke up to a beautiful sight of the Aukland Sky Tower lit up. It stood in all its magnificence against the early morning sky backdrop. Really, the best welcoming sight. I had seen it in photos, and yet here it was, right there, in front of me. The sky tower might be to New Zealand what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.
After arriving at the hotel, I had to get some shut-eye before going out to explore.
Lucky Lunch at burger burger nz
As it is with many girls, once we met, my friend and I could not stop talking and catching up and before we knew it, it was already lunch hour. In our defense, it had been years since we saw each other so I guess it’s allowed. So we went out looking for food. We ended up at Burger Burger a great nice joint best known for their pasta….. haha not!!! Am not just saying this but this place had the best burgers ever. Its tucked behind several shops but easy to find on google maps. I really loved the chilled atmosphere of the place. We ordered for our burgers and onion rings mmhmmm! My mouth waters just thinking about the food. Anyway, I digress. Service was quite fast and not too long we had our food. My friend suggested I try a local drink. I guess its local because I haven’t seen it anywhere else. I was not head over heels for it though but it was okay. And healthy too.
Anyway, the lucky part for us was at the end of the meal. I say for us because I imagine the owner of the restaurant was not too happy about giving away free lunches. As it turns out, the restaurant was updating their payment system that day and by the time we were through with lunch, they had not completed the update. We offered to pay cash but since they could not bill us, lunch was free. And who doesn’t like a freebee once in a while?
It’s all real!! Mokoroa falls
After lunch, it was time to hit the road in search of the Mokoroa Falls. There are a lot of activities that you can do in New Zealand. However, for this visit, I decided to go in search of free places I could visit and things I could do, and see how that goes.
Every photo I ever saw of New Zealand was nothing compared to this piece of heaven that was before me. The drive to Mokoroa falls took approximately 45 min from the city. Once we got to the entrance, we had to leave the car and take the trail that led to to the falls. I visited on a weekday so the trail was not too busy. From the gate, there are signs that direct you to the waterfalls so it’s quite easy. I honestly think that walking through nature is therapeutic to the body, mind, and soul. All you hear are the sounds of nature. Birds chirping, the sound of the wind against the trees, and the sound of the waterfalls in the distance. It is great! absolutely great!
After walking for about 30min we arrived at the waterfalls and the sight was worth the walk. You can view the waterfalls from a high platform, or go down some steps to get closer. We spent a couple of minutes just relaxing and taking photos by the falls but depending on the wind you might get wet if you stay too long so we left ready and excited to get back on the trek.
Bethells Caves and Beach.
After chasing waterfalls, we were ready for a new adventure the next day.
pancakes for breakfast
I had read of ‘No.1 pancakes restaurant’ on the internet. Apparently, they have the best pancakes in Aukland. I, however, cannot testify to this because as it was, the second and last day of my stay in Aukland, was a national holiday, and so most places were closed. Not one to give up easily, and more so driven by my morning munches, I took a walk around the city trying to get me some breakfast. I finally decided on a cute coffee shop called ‘The Beans’. Breakfast at this place was quite good and the staff very friendly. I had the Pancakes with caramelized banana which was yum and some chai tea.
te henga or bethells beach
Once I got something in my tummy, my friend and I were on our way to Bethells caves and beach. The drive took us about 45min. Being a public holiday, the place was not as quiet as it was the previous day. If you plan to go on a weekend or holiday, then its advisable to go early as there are not that many parking spots, so if you arrive late you might have to walk further.
At Bethells, you have several options for walks depending on your schedule. You can choose to walk to the lake, through the sand dunes, where you can go crazy rolling down the dunes. Doesn’t matter how old you are, rolling down a dune is always fun. So don’t hold back. If you want, you can bring some clothes to change but don’t miss out. The other option is to walk to the beach and caves. Whether alone or with a group, nothing beats being at the beach. It felt so relaxing just listening to the waves and take in the beautiful scenery. We got there when the tide was low so the caves were dry but if you go in the afternoon and you feel adventurous then you can go into the caves. It is also possible to visit both places because they are in the same area. You can always bring some lunch and have a picnic at the beach.
One tree hill
Last but definitely not the least. One tree hill was a great way to end my short trip to Aukland. After Bethells, we decided to go to One tree hill. It is one of the highest points in the city and it is located within a park. To get to the top, you can drive up, or if you feel fit enough you can walk or run up the hill. We already had done enough walking for the day so we decided to drive up. Once at the top we were rewarded with an amazing view of Aukland from all sides. We got there at sunset which added to the unbelievable beauty of the city. If you plan to visit, the place closes at 7:30 pm.
So there you have it. If you are looking for free things to do in Aukland, I hope that this article is helpful. Because yes, there are a lot of free things you can do in Aukland. You just have to look.