New Year’s Eve 2020 I arrive in Auckland from Sydney Australia. Checking into the Verandahs Backpackers hostel, I had plenty of time to settle and get ready for a party at Fhloston Paradise just across the street from Verandahs. Fhloston Paradise was the name of the vacation-cruise planet from The Fifth Element SciFi movie.
New Years Eve Celebration
Arriving at Fhloston Paradise I don the wristband for the all inclusive food/drink event. Drinking my fill of champagne and gin tonics alone I thought the event costing $81 USD was well worth the money. The food was great too with cheeses, salami, mini-tarts and other hot foods. I sent out some pics via Facebook wishing a happy new roaring 20’s to my friends.
Chatting with a couple from the U.K. for awhile I eventually settle in with a group of people who were also from the U.K. for the remainder of the evening. Strangely enough no one realized the association of the name Fhloston Paradise to the Fifth Element movie until I brought the subject up. With good conversations flowing our attention was suddenly turned to a street performance. Apparently this guy was trying to impress every one in order to gain entry into the event by dancing to the BeeGee’s Staying Alive.
Hardly suffering a hangover the next morning I did not have any ambitions for the day except to find food. Wanting some breakfast, it dawned on me that most everything was closed on New Year’s day in Auckland. Many locals take a week or more off for this occasion. Scouting up Ponsonby road near the hostel for eateries I happened upon the Longroom which was open for business. A little slice of paradise for a New Year’s day brunch. Having a 15% holiday tax was a surprise. I didn’t mind, just happy to find something open. I ordered a bacon, egg and cheese tart with an Americano. They had a nice atrium area that seemed refreshing to to hang around for a bit.
Long walks around the the local area was part of my agenda. Scouting and exploring randomly is fun. Starting with walks in the park right next to the hostel was quite pleasantly lush with green and flowers. I liked the odd building ruins just peaking out from the grass. One day the wind shift and the afternoon sky turned dark. The sun was orange and the street light turned on. Wondering if there was a solar eclipse I wasn’t aware of I discover this was smoke blowing in from the Sydney fires.
I did plan a hike up to Mt. Eden a remnant volcano, one of the larger of many in the Auckland region. It has a distinct volcano cone look to it with great views of the city as a backdrop. The smoke that blew in from Sydney had dissipated.
Last Day in Auckland
I spent a total of 9 days in Auckland with a leisurely agenda. However just on my last day my electrical converter blew a fuse after turning on my hair dryer. I hunted around town for an electronics shop and manage to get sone replacement fuses! The guy at the shop was quite friendly as are many New Zealanders. I told him that I was traveling many countries and wondered if he had some adapters since I could use a back-up. He surprised my by giving me his personal one for free saying he got it as a gift and probably would not be using it and wished me happy travels.
Return to Auckland– Queen Street Backpackers Hostel
Departing Auckland to Queenstown, I returned to Auckland for 5 days after my adventures in Queenstown. This time around I’m staying at the Queen Street Backpackers hostel in the heart of downtown Auckland for a change in venue. My main plan was to just walk around, eat and update my blog which I did successfully.
The Queen Street Backpackers hostel is in a good central location with many nearby eateries within walking distance and even right next door. The building is an older building and has numerous rooms, free breakfast, and a common room with a large screen TV. On the first day Crocodile Dundee was showing. Eventually I hooked up my iPad to watch Ad Astra.
Food and Drink in Downtown Auckland
Strolling around the wharf I’m waiting for the right place to call to me for lunch. With so many places to chose I had trouble deciding. Finally the Crabshack looked quite appealing with a nice open view of the wharf. I had the fresh fish taco along with a refreshing Mai Tai for $14.50 USD.
I spotted the Mexicali place and wondered if they had decent Mexican food. Their Supreme Nachos looked appetizing so I had that with a Dos Equis Amber. Soon enough the birds came by to visit with one little sparrow edging closer and closer. He lunged his little beak at the ground meat and got quite the mouthful! Such a cute little aggressive bird.
Afternoons are for ice cream. I get a salted caramel cone at Melt.
Only a couple blocks from the hostel is Vulcan Lane. Entering Vulture’s Lane pub I see someone with this nice looking savory pie. This pie was a special of ground meat chili. That seemed a must try and I glad I did. It was delicious along with a nice wheat beer.
Once again I am back at the Wharf area, then onto to Vulcan lane for my last day in town before flying to Singapore.
Alas, there’s never enough time to check out all the good eats.
Farewell New Zealand- I will miss you!