May 18, 2004 - Auckland-Warkworth
12:10am - My Air Pacific flight from Suva landed in Auckland on time, and I cleared customs and immigration without incident. I went to the airport counter where tourists can book rental cars and hotels and made arrangements for a room with the Airport Garden Inn (a nearby hotel) where I crashed for the night.
My transition from ship to land, and from the Fijian tropics to the New Zealand winter
My cousin Cindy picked me up today and drove me back to Warkworth (one hour drive), where she and her family live. We stopped at the Warkworth Information Centre and I booked a nearby B&B for two nights. Then we all went out for dinner to the Salty Dog Inn at Snells Beach - very good food - recommended! (Tel: 0800 SALTYDOG or 09-425-5588 Email: email@example.com)
I am staying at the The Warkworth Country House B&B for two nights, which is operated by a very nice British couple. It is located close to Warkworth, and they have two very nice rooms each with ensuite, which includes a full breakfast. This B&B has changed hands since 2004, however I stayed in this property again in 2010, and the new owners provide wonderful accommodation as well. Still recommended!
May 19, 2004 - Warkworth
I had a very nice breakfast of coffee, juice, cereal, scrambled eggs & toast. I then walked over to nearby Parry Kauri Park. Entrance to the park is by donation. There are two 800 year old Kauri trees to see - named the McKinney & Simpson Kauri trees - the largest of their kind on the east coast of New Zealand. The Warkworth Museum is also located inside the park. They charge an admission at the door of NZ$6/12 (single/family) to see the historical exhibits.
Cindy very kindly took me on a driving tour of the Warkworth area. There are some wonderful outlooks to the coastline with views all the way down to Auckland (to the south). Afterward, we had a superb home-cooked fish dinner. Cindy's husband Graeme is a fisherman, so the fish was the freshest!
Lodge 33 is my B&B for the night, conveniently located in the Westmere neighborhood of Auckland. This B&B offers a nice respite from the noisy city of Auckland, and yet is conveniently located. The bonus for me was being greeted by Harry (the B&B owner's Jack Russell Terrier). I miss my Tucker! Please note: this B&B is no longer in business.
I needed a light meal before going to bed, so I walked a few blocks to Delicious, a small restaurant featuring Italian cuisine located on Richmond Rd. They offer fresh pasta takeout or dine-in from $8.50 (appetizer) to $15.50 (dinner-sized portions). The place was near-empty when I arrived at 6pm, but 20 minutes later it was packed. Auckland residents obviously eat in restaurants just as often as us North Americans do. Service was good, as was the food, but portions were small. My appetizer was all I could eat since I just wanted a snack, but it might leave some hungry, so I would suggest others order the full-sized portions. My after-dinner Latté hit the spot, and I returned to my B&B satisfied and ready for some sleep.
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