My Dad was born in Levin, on the North Island of New Zealand. He left at 9 years old, and had never gone back. So, for his 60th birthday I bought him a plane ticket there! We would visit together and see not only his 2 homes, but the explore the entire North Island.
Our first stop was Auckland! We landed around 3pm and caught a taxi into the city. Over 1 hour and $100 later (holy shit balls traffic chaos) we got to our hotel, the Ibis Styles Budget hotel. We dropped off our gear and took to the street to search for food. My dad was on the search for food he remembered from his childhood. 2 things in particular: a whitebait fritter and a paua fritter. We hit gold down at Princes Wharf, at the Euro Cafe. A few $100 later we left a bit unsatisfied… the whitebait fritter was more a whitebait omelette and the food was completely overpriced. I got a scampi starter for $30, which was one scampi cut into 4 pieces with some microgreens.
Determined to improve our first impressions of Auckland, we took to the wharves, checking out the views, the art and the people. It really is a beautiful spot.
We decided to head to the Sky Tower to take in the sunset from up high. On the way we happened upon a cycle bar! We jumped on and helped them get it up a small hill… we were heading that way anyways. It was good for a laugh!
We finally made it to the Sky Tower. If we had more time, I would’ve totally done the sky walk. As it was, we watched the sunset with the dozens of other friendly tourists. It was beautiful watching the sun sink over the hills, changing the colours in the harbour.
Afterwards, at the bottom of the Sky Tower there were some night markets. My dad, who if you watched my Instagram stories you would know, is always up for a snack. He grabbed some skewers and dumplings.
The long day of travel finally made itself known, so we headed back to the hotel to grab some sleep. I had a city facing room, so I took in the city lights before heading to bed. A good nights sleep was essential: early the next day we needed to pick up our motor home!