Auckland: viewpoints (Mt Eden and Mt Victoria)

Many of the tourist guides tout Mt. Eden as a great view of Auckland, and an interesting way to see a volcano caldera. It’s a fairly easy drive up to a parking lot at the top, or you can park at the bottom and hike up. A nice enough view, but it didn’t have the photographic viewpoint we expected, and felt a bit overrated.

view of downtown from Mt Eden caldera

On our last morning we headed across the bay toward Devonport in search of a better city view, which we found in Stanley Bay Park and the top of Mount Victoria Reserve.

downtown view from Stanley Bay Park

downtown view from Mount Victoria Reserve

Obviously, it was sunnier on our second try but we both preferred the views looking south rather than north.

New Zealand: Hamilton Gardens

After stopping for a few waterfalls, we continued on to the famous Hamilton Gardens. We were pleasantly surprised at the free parking and free entry to the gardens. Once inside we found a garden map and started exploring. As with every day thus far … [Continue reading]

Auckland: Waitakere Ranges and Hunua Ranges

The weather around Auckland was quite unsettled when we visited in March, with rain and sun trading places intermittently and causing us to skip a few of our planned hikes. However, we did get to see a few nice waterfalls. Waitakere … [Continue reading]

Auckland: where we stayed

our bathroom w/ huge tub

For our four nights in the Auckland area we stayed at the Abaco on Jervois, and we quite enjoyed our stay. We had an executive studio room on the second floor with lots of space, including a kitchenette with fridge and sink and table area. … [Continue reading]

New Zealand – Christchurch


Christchurch was our entry and departure point for the South Island, so we spent one night on each end in the city. First night: Sudima Hotel Chirstchurch Airport We arrived near midnight and after two nights on planes were quite glad we had … [Continue reading]

New Zealand – Clay Cliffs and return to Christchurch

On our drive from Christchurch to Wanaka we passed a sign pointing toward the Clay Cliffs near the town of Omarama. We wrote a note to ourselves to remember them as a possible stopping point on our return drive. A week later the weather was overcast … [Continue reading]

Central Otago wineries

Our first stop in central Otago was Chard Farm, a charming tasting room on a hill above the highway. Just across the road is a old suspension bridge with bungee jumpers over the Kawarau Gorge. bungee jumping into the gorge Chard Farms tasting … [Continue reading]