The Ultimate Climb
For something really different if you're feeling energetic is to climb the Auckland Bridge Climb. For the first time since 1959 when the bridge was opened, you can be guided by professional climb leaders and be taken up and over the top of the Auckland Harbour Bridge to viewing platforms 65 metres (200ft) over the water. It takes about 2 hours in all and as long as you are over 135cms (4ft 6 inches) there is no problem. The climb is operated 7 days a week all year around and there is also a night climb on Saturday nights. You will get an entertaining commentary about the myth and legend surrounding this bridge also. I haven't done this yet but my family has (as seen in the photo) and it will be on my list next time I'm home.
The last of the popular beaches along the Tamaki Road strip, St Heliers Beach possesses a one kilometre-long white sandy beach. There is a playground at the eastern end and cliff walks at low tide to Ladies Bay. The shopping at St Heliers Village is good for finding beach front cafes and small one off stores.
You can catch a buses 502, 512, 767 and 769 from the Downtown Bus Centre to St Heliers.
Auckland by Air!
Do not miss out on the opportunity to see Auckland by air. One of the unique things about this city is that when you are on a flight from Australia, you actually fly all the way over the city, circle around, and make your approach back across the city before landing. It is only about 5 minutes wide by plane, as New Zealand is a very slender strip of island.
The view of the bays and small pennisulas are really great, although I do wish that they would have cleaned our windows before the trip, so we could have taken a couple more pictures that were worthwhile!
Auckland International Airport is AKL, and it is serviced by several major carriers, but the big ones are Air New Zealand, Qantas, LAN Chile, and United.
Cheap noodles in downtown Auckland
I ate at Continental Noodles Restaurant one lunchtime during a visit to Auckland in April 2006.
This is a small, no-frills Chinese noodle restaurant in the heart of Auckland city centre. It is located on Durham Street East, just a few metres off bustling Queen Street. Follow the steps down from street level to an underground dining area with around a dozen tables. As is so often the case with such restaurants, the standard of food in this place is much better than would be suggested from looking at its simple, rather miserable exterior.
The restaurant is open as follows:
Mon - Thurs: 11am - 7pm
Fri: 11am - 8:30pm
Sat: 11am - 4pm
The majority of the dishes on the menu are based around either noodles or rice. A sample of the dishes available and the relevant prices are as follows:
Noodles: wantons ($7.50), with dumplings ($7.50), with vegetables ($7.50), with chicken ($7.50), with BBQ pork ($8), with curry chicken ($8), with black bean sauce and pork ($8.50), with prawns, pork and chicken ($9.50), plain noodles ($3.50).
Rice: chicken rice ($7.50), BBQ pork rice ($8), curry prawns and BBQ pork rice ($8), curry beef with rice ($8.50), vegetables and mushrooms with rice ($7.50), plain rice ($3.50).
Soups: wantons soup ($6), dumpling soup ($6), fish balls soup ($6), vegetable and mushrooms soup ($6), beef soup ($6).
Chef recommended: Chinese pickle and shredded pork with noodles in soup ($8), meat balls with rice/noodles ($9), pork belly with rice/noodles ($9), roasted honey chicken with rice/noodles ($9), spicy pork and bamboo shoots with rice/noodles ($9).
Side dishes: vegetables ($4), chicken breast/thigh ($5), chicken drumstick ($3), stewed pork belly ($6). I opted for:
Prawns and chicken with noodles - Cost: $8
Large pieces of chicken (on the bone) and 5 medium sized prawns served with noodles in a soy sauce. The service was very quick (literally 2 minutes), indicating that meals are pre-cooked rather than cooked to order. My dish was well cooked, but could certainly have been served hotter. The meal was rather average, but it was filling and represented value for money. I ate my meal with chopsticks, but cutlery is available for those who require it.
Can of Fanta orange - Cost: $2.50
All orders come with a complimentary glass of Chinese tea or cold mineral water.
No cover charge or service charge is added to the bill.
The staff are friendly and efficient.
Good value Chinese food and plenty of choice. Nothing special, but a good budget option for lunch.
Sky Tower - great views
OK, so the NZ$25 seemed a bit steep just to go up an elevator, but the views are what you come for. Bring a tourist brochure (grab one before going through customs at Auckland Airport) and you should find a voucher in there for 10% off.
If you're really game you can also jump off the tower for approx NZ$200. It's a one way trip - ie you don't bounce up and down like a normal bungy. Instead you come to a slow and safe stop at the base of the tower. One of the tourist brochures I found at the airport had a $50 off voucher so keep your eyes on the lookout.