Auckland is a wonderful city. It has a very ‘West Coast’ feel to it – everyone is recycling, people are friendly, great beers, wine and food are plentiful; it has a beautiful waterfront, and the downtown is a wonderful mix of historic and new buildings. We thought we would only stay two nights. We had been told that Auckland was just another big city with nothing really to see. Ah, but instantly we fell under it’s spell and decided to extend our stay at the downtown HI Youth Hostel for a total of four nights.


Notes from each Harper:
Alan says….
I loved being downtown. It felt like being right on Broadway in downtown Portland. It was like home with a few twists and an accent – the beer was great, the coffee was great, the food was great and it was an easy walking city with warm to cloudy weather. We had a wonderful day trip to Waiheke island (Fuller Ferry from Pier 2, Family Day Pass $72), which was full of hip shops, organic cafes and wonderful hiking. And of course we loved the zip lining with amazing views. It felt like Vancouver BC in some ways because there is such a wonderful mix of asian cultures here on the streets and in the shops. I think that because the Sky Tower, which is a bit like the Space Needle, folks call it the Seattle of New Zealand but you can drive across Auckland in 20 minutes so that can’t be a fair comparison. We did get to see a cricket match and learn most of the basic rules on a cloudy afternoon, with the help of a nice Indian guy who is local umpire. I could see Judi and I coming back here for sure.

Judi says…
I loved Aukland because it felt like the Portland of my youth. I loved the wonderful food, the beautiful buildings, and the bustle of downtown. I loved that there was no humidity (after leaving humid Fiji). Everyone (especially John) wanted me to commit to zip-lining at Waiheke Island. I could NOT commit (you are right Roy Skinner). I just needed to see it before I could commit. I wasn’t sure zip-lining was for me. Alan bought some sort of family pass so I felt even more pressure…but the zip line folks were so meticulous with the safety precautions and equipment that I felt totally safe. It was such a wonderful adventure flying over the trees and absorbing the beautiful landscape of the island. I’m so glad I did it. I am so glad we visited Aukland. I will be back!


John says…

I was about to go zip lining but I weighed six pounds less than I was suppose to weigh but they let me go anyway.  I’m really glad she (Honey our guide) let me.  We found a McDonalds and dad and I went in.  It was really cool to order on a screen when we walked in.  Sadly they didn’t let me use my gift card from Oregon – only good in the US, drat!  Dad paid anyway.  The Youth Hostel beds were surprisingly comfy.  Columbus Coffee had good iced peach tea but I did not like the banana smoothie I had. I give the place we stayed in an A, the shopping a B, the water at the beach (for lack of warmth, after enjoying Fiji) gets a B-, zip lining gets an A++++.


Kate says….

New Zealand is not cheap, I’ll tell you that!! I have no idea how people survive, I was looking for a bathing suit in a dpt. store ( like Macy’s ) and there was one that was 220$ NZ, holy cow!!! But, I like Auckland cause it is like Portland for me, the environment and how it looks, I would defiantly go back, not to Rotoroua. Fiji was just okay, too many bugs, really humid, and nothing really to do. So no,  I don’t want to go back, not unless I can surf, paddle board, or snorkel, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Haha, I thought I was okay to shoot a couple hoops…nope, reinjured my Achilles. Watching the sunsets and talking to people at the Beachhouse was fun too. I’m looking forward to going to an Aussie BBQ with someone we met at the Beachouse, Mel.

I can’t believe that three of my best friends are meeting me on our BigTrip. It’s been hard to be without them, especially Lindsey and her mom, Anne. With the time difference its hard to FaceTime. Tomorrow night we are going to a Maori village, and I don’t think it will be like a Fijian village. I never knew what Fiji was going to be like, I guess I thought it was going to be more luxurious. Nope, it was pretty dirty, nothing to do. But, the people were very nice, helpful, caring, I wouldn’t have thought that, actually that was my favorite part.

International YHA Auckland

5 Turner Street (just of Queen’s Road, near the K’Road end)

$94 a night for a mixed co-ed room all four beds.


8 thoughts

    1. Assuming your kids don’t have make up school days until July 4th, we will see you in Greece before we all know it. It is so true that everything is better shared – we wish you were here enjoying this adventure with us. But it is great to have so many friends following along with our posts from the road, it makes it feel a little bit like you are right along with us; except you would get to try the beers too!


    1. Judi didn’t let on if she was scared. It was amazing for both the view and experience. I just wish it would happen in slow motion; it is over so dang quickly. Miss you guys and we are so glad you are following along.


  1. Hey guys!!! We just found your blog! We are up in the Northland (Mangonui) after our month in NZ and return to Auckland tomorrow (Sunday)to fly onward to Indonesia on Monday morning. I feel like you are also perhaps back in Auckland around this time to head to Aussie? If you want, we could meet up and have drinks or dinner Sunday night? you can find us on our wordpress blog too: and also can text on Matt’s cell phone: 541.944.7239. We are glad you guys have launched and starting your great adventure! Love, Davis, Matt, Tate & Cyrus (now Luke)


    1. Hey fellow adventurers! We had horrible internet access (or lack of) this past week. We are following your blog too now. It sounds like you have had good adventure and I love your notes of overcoming a couple of bumps to start – but where are the the pictures of the frantic drive or the identical mystery bag? We just landed in Sydney late last night and are here for two weeks so it sounds like we just missed you in New Zealand. I will search around your blog and try and find your schedule to see if we are close again over the next six months. Alan, Judi, Kate and still John


      1. Hey guys! Sorry we just missed you. You’re going to have a great time in Aussie and please tell us if you go to Melbourne because we will hook you up with our close friends we made while living there. We will be in Indonesia Jan 30-Feb 14, Singapore Feb 14-17, Burma Feb 17-March3, Sri Lanka March 3-12 then to London….You?!
        No photos of that frantic time…think we were just gunning to get places..I was were tired..we’re not afraid to post those kind of photos though; stay tuned!!! Glad we are at least connected this way. We are sending you all lots of love and good travel luck and hilarity. DMTC-L


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