Ben, February 21, 2013
(This post was written by Pam)

The night after our day in the Bay of Islands, we went down to the Viaduct Harbor along the Auckland waterfront to grab dinner at a decently well known place called Degree. It was a lively area with several restaurants and bars. The next morning, we woke up late (i.e. 8:30), laid around in our suite room (complete with living room and kitchen), and went to one of the many, many coffee shops in the city for breakfast.

After shopping some on Queen Street (not to be confused as the equivalent of Michigan Avenue), we went to the Sky Tower, the landmark building of Auckland. It is only 328 meters tall, but is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere. You can pay to go to the observatory to get great views of the city, or just have reservations in the revolving restaurant at the top. We decided to have lunch. It was a bit overpriced but the views were cool. From the top we could see the Deloitte, SAP, KPMG, and other recognizably named buildings. Following lunch we went down to the observatory deck and got some good photos of the city.

After lunch, we headed on a ferry to the North Shore, a part of the city that is across the bay. We wandered what felt like a small town which was weird since it's part of Auckland. After eating some ice cream and watching sailboats return to the harbor, we headed back to the main city center for dinner on the Princes Wharf. On our way we saw the Queen Victoria cruise ship in the harbor. I've heard of the ships named after the queens before, but this was a first seeing one! I forget where we grabbed dinner, but it had a happy hour and the fettuccini that Ben ate had some of the best cream sauce I've ever tasted. It was a good end to the day in the city.

Not surprisingly, Auckland felt very much like any other modern city, but it also felt somewhat like home, which was good after 11 days into the trip. After sleeping in the middle of nowhere for several nights, the lights and noise of the city were noticeable. They have a volunteer fire fighter department that gets called with these loud, siren-sounding horns that blasted most nights. A couple nights in the city were enough, though, and we went to bed looking forward to our road trip
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