Alternative Auckland: After bungee jumping and bars, what else is there?
Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this. Like the Red Light District (and its workers), Auckland stretches into the distance and when visitors arrive in both, they tend to get stuck in one place, neglecting to explore the regions beauty, culture and history. surrounding areas.
However, the beauty of Auckland, unlike the “beauty” of the district, is not superficial. (For the sake of my love life, I’d like to categorically state that unlike the Red Light District, I don’t think 90 percent of Auckland women workers are night women – and you’re not likely to leave Auckland. with a debilitating sexual illness.)
The point is, after enjoying Auckland for its nightlife, pubs, and the many opportunities to throw me from tall buildings, I wanted a little more. I decided to explore the surroundings.
Despite the seemingly obvious pitfalls of building a city within a volcano (surely Dante’s Peak should be on their agenda?), Auckland is comfortably nestled within a radius of about 50 volcanic vents.
What Auckland planners lack in common sense, however, the city makes up for with stunning scenery. Several of these mountainous uprisings are worth seeing. One Tree Hill and Mount Eden (above) are two nearby mounds, both with great views, just minutes from the city.
A quick bus ride takes you directly into the countryside, where you will see sheep, flora and more sheep. For a cheap way to see the natural beauty of the sprawling city of Auckland, come here for a sunset and watch the sun slowly set over the water’s edge. It is breathtaking.
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To truly appreciate Auckland, you have to leave the mainland and travel to the surrounding islands. Rangitoto is Auckland’s newest volcano, barely 600 years old, and its size, symmetry and dominance over the harbor entrance make it one of Auckland’s most iconic landmarks.
A short ferry ride and you are faced with a land time has forgotten (the average age of my tour group holds up). Upon landing, the mooring area gives out a friendly “We’re all going on summer vacation” hum, with brightly painted huts dotted along the edge of the quayside.
Many Auckland natives have decided to build their own “tarps”, in the style of vacation beach huts, and spend their days on the island.
Upon closer inspection, the looming green mountain behind it is ominously reminiscent of Lost. The strangest thing, but the most attractive, is the complete and utter absence of noise. Due to the acidity of the soil, very few birds and insects inhabit the island.
We are shown lava caves, natural passages formed when lava spat out of the volcano. Pleasing my five-year-old, I quickly found myself rushing into a dark, narrow entrance.
I was quickly rewarded with a stunning view as the narrow passage opened up and light passed through a hole above, vines and grass hung above. If you’ve always wanted to live Indiana Jones’ dream come to Rangitoto.
On a sunny day, the perfect Photoshop views make the soaring interesting.
The next closest habitable island is Waiheke. Locals tell about how much the place has changed over the past 10 years, with stories of a bourgeois elite fighting with hippies and backpackers to claim their ownership over a precious piece of land. Yet it is hardly touched by commercialization and is wonderfully reminiscent of a Mediterranean getaway.
The approach to the island itself smells of Narnia. Birds were flying alongside the boat singing, and as the ferry slowly made its way to the harbor, the sun made the whole place sparkle. Having said that, if it pisses you off and gray when you arrive, don’t blame me.
In an effort to fully immerse myself in the peaceful ambience of Waiheke, I threw caution to the wind and booked a charter fishing trip to the Hauraki Gulf.
Keeping in mind that the closest I could ever catch fish was to win a goldfish at the local fair, I was not keen
a lot of hope.
Obscenely early in the morning, after a beautiful sunrise and a reassuring brief conversation that “only a few” great whites are seen, I received a crash course in fishing technique and held out my fishing rod.
Within minutes, I was catching fish larger than my head, and by the end of the day I had proudly caught a few snappers, a few yellowtail dabs and… a shark. With the captain gutting and filleting the fish on the spot, you leave the boat with the fish in hand, ready to be cooked.
Best of all, Waiheke is home to over 30 wineries, so if fish isn’t your thing, you can happily spend your afternoons with delicious wines.
It’s those moments that bring you back to life, making all those drunken nights with Peruvian dwarves, goats and wet t-shirt competitions seem mundane.
Actually no. It’s awesome however you look at it.
The damage and details: Ferries to Rangitito leave three times a day from the downtown ferry terminal and cost $ 20 round trip; ferries to Waiheke Island depart at least once an hour from Pier Two and cost $ 28.50 round trip; for more information, tel. : 09 367 9111, www.fullers.co.nz; fishing trips with MV Verona Charters cost $ 60 for a day trip.
But if you still need to let off steam, try the Sky Jump …
With nipples harder than a Chuck Norris / Mr T fight and strong winds lashing my face, I began to realize how high 192m / 630ft really is.
Welcome to the Auckland Sky Tower; the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere and home to New Zealand’s highest jump, a base jump by wire that offers a smoother introduction to extreme sports.
While you still get that ‘I probably should have cuddled’ feeling when you look over the edge and the exhilarating adrenaline rush when you fall, the fact that the thread is tied to your back instead of your back. feet means the descent is much less choppy, but just as pleasant.
Alternatively, you can try the Skywalk; a guided walk outside the Sky Tower.
Without side barriers, a 1.2m wide path, and continuous encouragement to lean back or forward over the edge (hands free), this is a brilliant addition that is exciting, informative (your guide indicates geological and historical landmarks as you get 360 ° views of the ocean and city) and makes you feel like a movie star, with diners in the Tower Restaurant pointing and panting as you lean over the side.
The damage and details: the Sky Jump costs $ 195 and the Sky Walk costs $ 115; or both for $ 240; for info, Free phone: 0800 SKYJUMP.
Photo: TNT, WikiCommons, Getty, https://www.facebook.com/pages/A Auckland-Fine-Wine-Food-Tours, https://www.facebook.com/SkyJump.NZ