Auckland’s Viaduct is More than Boats

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_274dWhen I lived in Auckland the city was rushing to finish the Viaduct redevelopment project in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. They did finish in time for rugby fans to enjoy the new restaurants and attractions. And on each subsequent visit to Auckland, I’ve been impressed with how the Viaduct continues to give a good return on investment.

There are places to live in and around the Viaduct, along with hotels. These will be highly desirable if you want to watch the America’s Cup race in March, 2021. One friend said that everything is already booked! You don’t need to stay in the Viaduct/Central Business District to enjoy the race in the harbor because there is great bus and train transportation throughout the city. Or you can stay across the bay and take the ferry in.

If you are stopping in Auckland as part of a cruise, you are in luck because the Viaduct is just steps away from your ship’s berth. You’ll find coffee shops, restaurants, and plenty of yachts to drool over. There is also a maritime museum and places to relax and read or people watch.

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Postcard from Auckland

First things first, flat white
First things first, flat white

At the end of another easy Air New Zealand flight, we landed in Auckland ahead of schedule. As soon as I got through customs I made a beeline to the coffee truck for a flat white. If you have not been to New Zealand and imbibed on the famous “flat white” allow me to explain. The En Zed flat white is essentially a latte. Except that New Zealand dairy cows are all grass fed and it makes for incredible tasty milk. And Kiwis are not hung up about Cuba so when a coffee crazy guy from New Zealand decided to import roasters and introduce espresso drinks, he went to Cuba where they have the best coffee in the world. Put the two together and YUM–even the flat white at the airport is a treat.

There is a stark difference between interest in America’s Cup in New Zealand versus NorCal. I got an earful from Kiwis in the airport and on the plane who went to see the Cup and had strong opinions about Team Oracle and the cheating incident. The pilots on both flights gave us updates. It was the only thing on the television in the Auckland airport and everyone is collectively holding their breath. Some people are pessimistic out of an innate modesty; however, radio disc jockeys are holding contests to encourage Team New Zealand.  It would be great to see America’s Cup return to Auckland, so I hope they win their 9th race tomorrow.

Dunedin is lovely and this morning (Tuesday) I drove through beautiful countryside to Oamaru in my rental car. It is always an adjustment to remember how to drive a manual car with the shift stick on the left and driving on the other side.  Plus I was distracted by the many adorable newborn lambs on green, green grass.  It is great to be breathing New Zealand air.  Looking forward to my first penguin encounter tonight.