June 12th, 2016
Having crossed the international date line on our way to Fiji, we reach Nadi on Sunday morning. The weather was amazing but we were quite surprised by the condition of the Nadi airport. The airport is small (only 8 gates), quite old, and tasks are non-automated (e.g. each transit passenger’s ticket was verified in-person prior to security…therefore slowing the transit process). On a good note, the country is spending about $100 million on the airport renovation. We rested for 2 hours and enjoyed some coffee before boarding our flight for Auckland, New Zealand.
The 3 hour flight to Auckland went by quickly especially having witnessed some magnificent views of the pacific. As soon as we landed in Auckland, we sprinted our way to the immigrations in hopes of making it quickly to the city. New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere and we were therefore welcomed by some cold weather (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit) in the month of June. Yes we have been spoiled by the California weather now.
We opted for SuperShuttle (shared cab) instead of local transport or taxi. The ride to the hotel took about 30-40 minutes and we soon realized how small the country is. The roads were not too busy and you don’t see too many people (though we were told that was most likely due to the cold weather). Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city is home to about 1.5 million people and accounts for about 30% of the country’s total population. We stayed at the Sofitel Viaduct Harbour hotel in Auckland and highly recommend the hotel for anyone planning a visit to Auckland. The modern and vibrant hotel is located right next to the Viaduct Harbour in the heart of the city with a plethora of restaurants and bars.
After a quick shower, we made our way to the Sky Tower. The Sky Tower, a telecom tower stands at 1076 ft. and offers magnificent views of the city from the observation deck. The tower also features the “SkyJump”, a guide-cable controlled jump from the observation deck. As much as we wanted to do the jump, we decided against it for reasons to be revealed later. We grabbed some local ice cream (Black Doris Plum & Creme Fraiche) from the Sky Lounge and enjoyed the views of the city from the deck. Few minutes after sunset, we headed back to the hotel. We ended the day with dinner at a Thai restaurant in the Viaduct Harbour. Auckland is very diverse and people from the Indian sub-continent region account for a little more than 10% of the city’s population. It is therefore not surprising to see an Indian restaurant in every other block.