Central Auckland



We stayed in the Rendez-Vous Hôtel in central Auckland, not far from the radio mast, because of its convenient location to Auckland CBD and main forms of transport to and from Auckland. We arrived around lunchtime but the receptionist was able to get us our room straight away - something of a relief after an overnight flight from Hong Kong. When we commented that the hotel's own Japanese restaurant was closed temporarily, we were advised of two good Japanese restaurants nearby. As we were going out to dinner that night with friends before catching the train to Wellington early next morning, we could not try any of them. However, we did so when we stayed for 4 nights on our return to Auckland before flying home in mid January 2016. More about Auckland as a tourist experience can be found here



First impressions of CBD.


We walked down here in a very few minutes from the hotel, seeing many large shops, but it was a small CBD. Halfway down the high street, a stone's throw from the main harbour - we could see where the cruise liners moored - near a massive Father Christmas  (see photos below) hung on a building was side street where there was the Occidental Belgian beer cafe. Lunch in here was green lip mussels - biggest I've ever seen - and salt and pepper squid and chips, all beautifully cooked and served, and beer. We were warned on arrival that food might take sometime to come, but it actually came quite quickly. Great food, friendly staff, just what the weary traveller needed for a lazy afternoon. Dec 2015  


 Two Japanese restaurants 




A gentle walk from out hotel, near the airport bustop, this place had a lovely happy buzz and was well-organised despite its busyness. We booked a table for mid evening and were made very welcome when we arrived. Neither of us had tried Saki before but with a little help from the serving staff selected two. We chose a range of dishes – like a tapas bar - some sushi and some sashimi, not realising how big were the portions. The food was beautifully prepared and served by friendly helpful staff but we noticed that by 21.15 the buzz was dying down and the place emptying out.


Kura the cellar restaurant



Near to Tanuki, on the off-chance. The manager found space for us at the bar which proved to be great fun. The place was rammed so initial drinks order took a long time to come, for which the manager apologised. Starters for the set menu were very tasty sashimi and chicken while the mains were a beautifully cooked fish dish and a delicious teriyaki chicken, with rice, lightly cooked fresh veg. and chopsticks  - no spoons!. We had a great time in the cellar and were courteously looked after throughout the evening by a charming trainee waiter and her colleagues   Dec 2015


Crabshack where the boats come in


When the cruise liners dock they blot out the sun and spoil the view of Auckland's magnificent harbour. Fortunately they don't hide the views of the maritime museum which is the other sided of the pier, nor the views of the marina which was full of elegant boats. The crabshack, as its name implies, only serves crab in a wonderful variety of ways - and a variety of beers, of course! A relaxing lunchtime experience and views over the harbour when we were there.  Jan 2016

Waiheke - paradise island?

 We had decided to go to Waiheke by ferry to enjoy the crossing and then walk to the first village to have a look round before choosing what to do next. On the way we noticed three vineyards signposted just off the main road, one of which was Cable Bay. Why go further for lunch we thought - we knew it served lunch - so after the village and beach we walked back to it. This was one of those serendipitous decisions that make rational choosing pale. We felt we could combine lunch with some wine tasting of the vintages grown on Waiheke by Cable Bay vineyards - a white, a rosé, two reds (especially a Merlot Malbec) and a desert wine, all served by the glass - but not from any of their other vineyards in New Zealand. A friendly waitress, originally from England but who’d stay in New Zealand after enjoying a holiday there,  helped us in our wine tasting and served us lunch, a delicious platter of tasters and mains dishes prepared by her partner, the chef! The restaurant looked out over some of its vineyards, an olive grove and Auckland 's magnificent harbour. We only needed to roll down to the ferry afterwards sporting some of the wine we had bought. What a lunch experience! Jan 2016