Auckland, New Zealand
Luxury to us meant an internet connection. On our second day in Auckland, Seth signed us up with the iHug internet provider. For the low price of NZ$30/month (payable to iHug) and a NZ$1 phone call (payable to Hilton), we spent hours and hours and hours and hours on-line at the seemingly blazingly fast speed of 46.6K and even 48K somedays!
Luxury to us also meant having everything we could want right inside of our room. For example, a phone. Many of our rooms in the South Pacific Islands hadn't had a phone in the room. Some hadn't even had a phone on their own property. For example, in Bora Bora, we had to walk across the street to a nearby public phone. And in Easter Island, there had been a storm recently and all public phones on the island had stopped working. The only place to make a call from was the main telecoms office - a 30 minute walk into town. Needless to say, a phone in our room was thus quite a luxury.
We also had a TV in our room. A TV with English channels! Hardly any
of our rooms since Melbourne, Australia (two months earlier) had had TVs.
Seth really enjoyed the TV. Meanwhile, Tara really enjoyed the bath. Again,
the only place with a bath that we remember since Hawaii (three months
earlier) was Tod & Kristen's house in Tokyo. The minuscule "bath" in
our room on Easter Island doesn't really count since it was only about
1 foot by 2 foot. Now that we'd left the hot, sticky weather and sand beaches
behind, Tara was finally able to soak away all the dirt of the Pacific.
|We also could have room service delivered to our room. We
took advantage of this luxury the minute we walked in the door after our
18 or so hours of travel! Unfortunately, the room service menu at the Auckland
Hilton was so artsy that found absolutely nothing on it we wanted to eat.
No problem, we figured, we'd just ask them to make a simple creme sauce
pasta. The pasta was yummy - but unfortunately, it took over two hours
to reach our room. From then on, whenever we were hungry and didn't want
to leave the room, we ordered Pizza Hut pizza and pasta through the concierge.
We ordered Pizza Hut often even though there were plenty of good, varied types of food in town. During our first week in Auckland, we ate a huge variety of food: Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Italian.
We also ended up "cooking" in our room after we bought a toaster. It was Tara's decision to buy the toaster since we could use it in the camper van we planned on renting. It would be perfect for those days when we didn't want to leave the room since room service was so poor and Pizza Hut didn't start delivering until 4pm. Our dishes included toast, English muffins and toast with beans (for Tara). Having the toaster was very convenient.
Even though we loved our room and did hate to leave it, we did get out into the city to go exploring. Initially we caught up on a lot of errands. Then we started seeing Auckland's big tourist attractions: The Sky Tower, Kelly Tarlton's Antarctive Adventure & Underwater World and the Zoo.
Running errands was easy to do since the Downtown Shopping Mall was a five minute walk from our hotel. This may or may not be the same mall we visited seven years ago when we came to Auckland for the day on our pre-honeymoon. The city had changed so much in seven years that we recognized absolutely nothing in the downtown area.
|Overall Experience||8||A good way to recoverd from pre-scheduled island hopping.|
|Ease of Journey||4||LONG! But, we were happy to be ariving in Auckland 22 hours ahead of our scheduled arrival since Air New Zealand let us stay on the plane from Papeete instead of stopping over in the Cook Islands for 24 hours.|
|Accommodation||8||Opened three days before we arrived, some facilities still were not open yet. But that was OK. We were the first people to stay in room 302!|
|Activities||6||Kelly Tarlton's was the very nice. Best view from the outside deck of the Sky Tower. Good food in the city.|
|Coolness||7||It seems like a different city to seven years ago. We cannot even find the small mall we stopped at for lunch.|
Air New Zealand 45
Papeete to Rarotonga to Nadi to Auckland (3 flights total)
28J and 28K were our assigned seats, but we only sat in them for the first leg,
for the second trip, we each had a row of three seats in the middle to ourselves. Tara fell asleep right away, Seth just enjoyed the extra room
for the third trip, we had to share row 37's three seats in the middle - but still we had some extra room.
A LONG TRIP
Toaster purchased at Wharehouse "where everybody gets a bargain & we got a toaster" for 15.95