Auckland, Day 2

Auckland Travel Blog

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Ed and Arlene on the Harbour Cruise

We woke up around 7am and all agreed that it was the best sleep we had had yet on our trip.  Dad initially thought his foot was doing better, but once he started walking on it he decided otherwise.  We decided it was best to call the Hotel Doctor.   We had time to catch breakfast at Hector's Restaurant in the hotel while we waited, so did the breakfast buffet.  It was good and had the traditional things you always find at a New Zealand breakfast buffet -- scrambled eggs, limp gray bacon (God bless the Kiwis, but they just can't fry bacon and get it as crisp as the Americans like it), broiled tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, baked beans and spaghetti-o's.  Oh, and some miso soup as well.  I really don't understand the baked beans and spaghetti-o thing, but it seems to show up at every breakfast buffet here.

Team New Zealand Headquarters
  I introduced Mom to the Kiwi coffee called the "flat white" and she loved it.  It's basically a coffee with steamed milk and a head of foam on it -- and it is awesome.  She was hooked after one!

The doctor the hotel called made a visit to our room shortly after breakfast.  He was very professional and cordial and after a quick examination, confirmed that Dad was having another episode of gout.  He wrote out a couple of prescriptions for him, talked to him about his diet, and off he went.  Our next stop was to find a pharmacy that was open, not an easy feat since it was a national holiday (Auckland Anniversary Day).  We finally located on out on Ponsonby Road, got the prescriptions filled and grabbed some padding for his foot.

Hilton Hotel at Princes Wharf

Once we got Dad fixed up, we drove down to the Viaduct (harbour area downtown) and found a spot to park near the Ferry Building.  I wanted to get as close as we could to the America's Cup Village so that Dad did not have to walk much.  The America's Cup Village is a development on the Viaduct that sprang up after Team New Zealand won the America's Cup sailing competition a few years back.  Once a country is the winner, it can then take the competition to it's own waters for the next challenge, and Team New Zealand made this their headquarters.  It's a beautiful spot on the waterfront, filled with restaurants, bars, retail shops, upscale condominiums, and yacht slips. 

We took the Harbour Cruise -- and it was a great day to do it -- sunny and warm, albeit a bit breezy.

Auckland Harbour Bridge
  I got a little sunburned even though we were not out too long.  The cruise took us around the Viaduct area, out under the Auckland Harbour Bridge, over by the old sugar refinery, down past the naval station (where all 7 of New Zealand's naval ships were in port), past the entrance to the Hauraki Gulf (where the America's Cup race was held when Team New Zealand was the Defender), close by the volcanic islands and then back into port.  There were hundreds of small sailboats out celebrating Auckland Anniversary Day, so it was a particularly good day for the cruise.  I learned that there are over 1900 sailboats moored at the Auckland Yacht Club -- and that they have a three year waiting list to be accepted!  Austin is called the City of Sails for a reason!

After our harbour cruise, we headed back to the hotel so Dad could rest his foot and Mom could fix her hair.

New Zealand Naval Warship
  I had made dinner reservations for us that night at White, a cool restaurant in the Hilton Hotel at Princes Wharf.

Before our dinner at White, we stopped at a bar called Minus 5 Ice Bar.  It's a very cool place, literally!  The temperature inside the bar is supposed to be as advertised, 5 below zero, centigrade.  All the chairs, the bar, the glasses the drinks are made in, etc. is made of ice.  The drinks are made with vodka kept in the freezer.  You are given a parka and mittens when you go in, and you are limited to 25 minutes inside at a time.  Mom got snow boots too.  It costs $25 Kiwi dollars, and with that you get one drink.  Our bartender, Lee, told us that it was a bit chillier than normal on this day, as it was actually 8 below zero!  We had a drink made with Absolute Vanil Vodka with guava and passionfruit juices.

Auckland Skyline
  It was pretty good, and looked very nice in the glasses made of ice.  There were lots of ice sculpture around -- an ice bear; a Mexican sitting with a sombrero, a poncho and a bottle of tequila; and an eagle.  Mom and Dad really enjoyed checking out this bar.  I just wish I could put one of these up during hot Austin summers back home!  It would make a killing!!

White is just a bit farther down the wharf from 5 Below Zero.  It is in the Hilton Hotel, the hotel that looks like a ship moored at the wharf.  We had an amazing dinner (see the review below) and some nice wine along with the meal.  We did have a very animated waiter that night.  He could not stand still.  He flitted about, danced and talked in non-stop jitters.

Minus 5 Ice Bar
  The dinner was great, but our waiter was a bit off.

After dinner, we went back to the Sky Tower to use our evening tickets we had bought the day before.  The views over the city at night were beautiful and it was fun to see where we had been on the harbour cruise.  I think I actually prefer the day views though, as you can see farther.

I walked Mom and Dad back to the hotel around 10:30 and then went out for a drink with a friend from Auckland.  It was good to catch up and have a nightcap.  I was home by midnight and found that Mom and Dad were already sacked out.

TYoungTX says:
Minus 5 is awesome! They have several now I see from their website -- Australia etc. I still want the franchise for one in Austin -- would be a gold mine in August heat here!!
Posted on: Jun 02, 2008
X_Drive says:
I don't drink much but that Minus 5 sounds, pardon the pun, cool! :) Looks pretty too!
Posted on: May 30, 2008
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Ed and Arlene on the Harbour Cruise
Ed and Arlene on the Harbour Cruise
Team New Zealand Headquarters
Team New Zealand Headquarters
Hilton Hotel at Princes Wharf
Hilton Hotel at Princes Wharf
Auckland Harbour Bridge
Auckland Harbour Bridge
New Zealand Naval Warship
New Zealand Naval Warship
Auckland Skyline
Auckland Skyline
Minus 5 Ice Bar
Minus 5 Ice Bar
Childrens Face Painting at the Vi…
Children's Face Painting at the V…
Mom at the harbour front
Mom at the harbour front
Notice the small blue square betwe…
Notice the small blue square betw…
Down on the Viaduct
Down on the Viaduct
Sugar Refinery on Auckland Harbour
Sugar Refinery on Auckland Harbour
Passing a pleasure craft
Passing a pleasure craft
Yacht at the Viaduct
Yacht at the Viaduct
Container Ship at Auckland Port
Container Ship at Auckland Port
Another view of the Auckland Skyli…
Another view of the Auckland Skyl…
Minus 5 Bartender
Minus 5 Bartender
Auckland Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Fine Dining at Princes Wharf
White is located within the Hilton Hotel in Auckland, on the waterfront at Prince's Wharf. The restaurant is on the second floor of the hotel. White… read entire review
Auckland
photo by: Fulla