Mission Bay New Zealand

Mission Bay

Mission Bay is quite possibly the most popular beach near Auckland. Even on an overcast day you’ll find people walking along the shore, kids on the playground and plenty of people enjoying the local restaurants.

Catching a bus from the city to the beach is really very easy. Get a bus from Queen Street in the heart of the city and enjoy views of Auckland and the water the whole way there. You’ll also pass attractions such as Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium on the way. If you’re driving into the beach, there is plenty of parking available. But keep in mind the beach can get pretty busy on a warmer day!

The restaurant strip is home to a number of different restaurants to choose from. You’ll be spoiled for choice. Most of the restaurants and cafes are a little on the more pricey side but there are a couple of options suitable for those on a budget or those set with the task of feeding an army for a family.

Mission Bay
New Zealand

Auckland bus

Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium

If you like fish and other sea creatures you’ll love Auckland’s Aquarium. There are plenty of interactive things for children to play with, plenty of fish to feed, and the usual expensive gift shop at the end of the walk through. But there are a couple of unique aspects to this aquarium.

The first is the FREE shuttle bus service in the shape of a shark! Yep – a shark. You don’t have to be a kid to want to ride in a shark bus. :P

Second, there is a lot (and I do mean a lot) of exhibition focus on Antarctica, but one feature that really stood out to me was the giant squid encased in a glass box. Giant squids are very rarely seen, let alone housed in an aquarium! The glass box gives you the chance to walk around the animal and truly appreciate the size of it. I’m not a squid-nerd I swear! ;)

The aquarium is great fun for all kids big and small.

Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium
23 Tamaki Drive,
Orakei, Auckland
1071

Odyssey Sensory Maze

Odyssey Sensory Maze

Unleash your inner child at Odyssey Sensory Maze and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! I had a lot of fun exploring the maze and reliving a childhood favourite with my boyfriend on our trip to Auckland. Located just off Queen Street, the maze is extremely easy to find. It’s also located near a number of other fun activities like mini golf and bowling.

Much like Infinity on Queensland’s Gold Coast, the maze is a sensory experience of lights, dark rooms, mirror mazes and all things fun. Each time you enter through a hidden door you’ll finrd yourself lost in another world.

Once you’ve paid for entry you’ll be given gloves and socks to wear over your shoes so that you don’t leave finger or foot prints around. If you’re like me and you can’t go anywhere without a bag, don’t worry, the front desk are happy to look after it all for you at no extra cost.

My biggest tip would be to take your time going through the maze. The maze is pretty small (it usually draws children after all) and you want to get your money’s worth. Oh! And don’t panic when you can’t find the hidden door! It’s there somewhere. (I may or may not have gotten lost in the scary dark room :P)

Odyssey Sensory Maze
Lower Basement, Metro Centre
291-297 Queen Street,
Auckland
New Zealand, 1010

Queen Street, Auckland

Queen Street (Auckland)

Queen Street is the main street that runs through Auckland’s CBD. The street itself is lined with a number of restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels. There are also a number of souvenir shops and clothing stores along the road.

The street itself is also the main public transport precinct for getting you around the rest of city. From here you’ll be able to catch a bus or a train to pretty much anywhere else in Auckland, including the airport. The main ferry terminal is located at the end of the street, nearby the BRITOMART transport centre.

If you’re not sure where to begin when exploring Auckland, Queen Street is your best starting point. Discover a range of things to do and places to visit. You’ll find it easy to keep busy all day long!

If you’re looking for accommodation on Queen Street, be sure to check out my review of Mercure Auckland Hotel.

Queen Street
Auckland CBD
New Zealand

Auckland New Zealand Sky Tower

Sky Tower (Auckland)

The Sky Tower dominates Auckland’s skyline at a height of 328m. The tower is home to SkyCity Casino, a number of restaurants and an observation deck. Catch a glass-floored elevator to the top observation level and experience 360 degree views of Auckland city. If you’re brave enough, why not try your hand at the Sky Tower SkyJump from the top of the tower to a strategically placed target on the ground. There’s also the option of a SkyWalk outside the building too.

The tower has a number of different restaurants including an all-you-can-eat buffet which kids and adults alike can enjoy for a reasonable price. The bus bay at the tower is a major pick-up and drop-off point for day trips and coach tours around Auckland and New Zealand. To make it even easier, there’s a hotel within SkyCity. This tower truly does have it all!

Entering Sky Tower and SkyCity is like entering a whole different world. Don’t forget to grab your gift from the gift shop!

View Auckland Sky Tower

The view from the top observation deck.

Sky Tower
Cnr Victoria & Federal Streets
Auckland, 1010
New Zealand

Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island is one of the most distinctive landmarks in Auckland. The almost symmetrical island is one of the largest and youngest volcanoes off the coast of Auckland. To get to the island, simply catch one of the regular ferry services which depart from the ferry terminal on Quay Street.

With your ferry tickets you will receive a map of the island with detailed information on the walking tracks. Each track varies in length but all will guide you to the top.
(Note: Some tracks may not be accessible via the ferry in rough conditions)

Rangitoto Island is pest-free, so remember to check your shoes and bags for anything that could cause damage to the native wildlife.

Upon reaching the peak of the island you are given the chance to stare down into the large crater. Bring along a camera and take snaps of the incredible views you are given along your way to the top. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for any wildlife!

View from the top

Standing at the top of Rangitoto Island.

The view from Rangitoto Island

The view from Rangitoto Island

Walking trail on Rangitoto Island

Walking trail on Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island
Off the coast of Auckland
Price: $14.50 – $72.50 (Book your ferry tickets)

photo (24)

Goal of the month: August

This month I challenged myself to play the guitar every day, even if it was for only a couple of minutes (every little bit counts, right!?). :P I have to point out that I wasn’t completely new to the instrument and being a pianist myself, I have a pretty good understanding of music to begin with. My dad’s a guitarist so I’ve learnt the basics before.

Challenging myself to play each day of the month gave me the chance to strengthen my fingers where they were weak before and develop healthy calluses on the tips of my fingers. Take a look at how I went in my week to week break down.

Week One

During the first week I managed to play almost every day of the week. I missed a day when I got home later than usual and the footy was on. :P I hadn’t chosen a song to focus on yet so I played a couple of things I could remember from years back. I also worked on developing the strength in my fingers to hold bar chords which if you’re new to guitar is incredibly hard to do! Other than that I just had fun playing guitar again.

Week Two

I decided to learn one of my old favourite acoustic songs For You I Will by the incredibly talented and insanely gorgeous Teddy Geiger. I learnt the chords one afternoon and focused on getting used to changing between them. The hardest part for me was the strumming. It’s not that I don’t have good coordination between my hands, but something about strumming is hard for me to get used to. :P

Week Three

During the third week I got a little lazy with the practice. I actually ended up playing piano more than guitar during the week. I played three times in total and practiced only the song I chose to learn. The strumming got a little easier, but I’m not perfect by any means!

Week Four

During the last week of August I was busy with uni assignments, work and birthdays so I played a grand total of twice. I was surprised that I hadn’t gotten worse over the last couple of weeks. I really haven’t improved much since the second week but I’m pretty close to perfecting the song. (That may or may not have been a bit of an exaggeration ;) )

I was amazed at how easy it is to learn a song on guitar at a very basic level. It just goes to show that a little practice really does go a long way. I’m going to try and keep playing until I perfect the song, and if I do, I’ll record it for you guys to hear. Don’t hold your breath though! This is going to take me a while haha. :P

Come back next month when I’ll be challenging myself to wear a different hairstyle every day. This is going to be pretty challenging for someone who is content with a simple pony tail most of the time!

What did you achieve this August?
Have you got any goals to reach before the end of September? Let me know! :)

Ash
xx