Merry Christmas in lights from Franklin Road, Ponsonby

Every year on 1 December the Christmas lights are switched on in Franklin Road in Ponsonby, Auckland. These photos were taken in December 2015 but the road will look similar this year.

Franklin Road Christmas Lights

Franklin Road Christmas Lights

The lights are popular and this can lead to traffic queues. Our tip is to catch an InnerLink bus to Ponsonby, exiting near Franklin Road. Walk down one side of Franklin Road and up the other, you see much more this way and are also part of the festive atmosphere. When you’re done, catch the bus back to your starting point, happily dazzled. Thanks … Read the rest

More Auckland Street Art

Following on from the Auckland Street Art post, I walked around the K’ Road area with a 2015 All Fresco Public Art Festival* map in hand. I couldn’t find all 10 new works and I think a couple may have been painted over, or I was looking in the wrong place. Here’s five I did find:

This striking portrait by Owen Dippie is on the side of an apartment building on Canada Street (at the top of Upper Queen Street). You can see ‘Hine’ from the motorway, beats looking at the traffic that’s for sure. (Number 6 on the map).… Read the rest

The Cat Lounge in Glenfield, Auckland

New Zealand’s first cat cafe – The Cat Lounge, opened in Glenfield, Auckland in early November. I went along last week for a look see. I stepped into a smart black and white cafe with a big Thank You wall acknowledging all those who contributed to The Cat Lounge via crowd funding platform Kickstarter.

The Cat Lounge cafe

The Cat Lounge cafe

Welcome to The Cat Lounge

Welcome to The Cat Lounge

Thank You wall at The Cat Lounge cafe

Thank You wall in The Cat Lounge cafe

Two glass doors separate the cat lounge from the cafe, you can take food and drink in with the cats but I chose to have coffee and cake in … Read the rest

Cool Kai & Coffee Carts

The grande dame of kai (food) carts in New Zealand is The White Lady. Owned continuously by the Washer family since 1948, The White Lady has been serving thirsty and hungry Aucklanders 7 nights a week for more than 60 years. You’ll find The White Lady (mark III) doing the late shift every night on Commerce Street in the CBD.

The White Lady on Commerce Street in Auckland

The White Lady on Commerce Street in Auckland

Food trucks are becoming popular on our city streets, especially in Auckland and a few photos are included along with the carts. One website that can keep you up-to-date with who … Read the rest

Cheap Auckland Activities – Treasure Island & Around The World Mini Golf

It’s Talk Like A Pirate Day on 19 September and Miniature Golf Day on 21 September so if you want to bring out your inner pirate and mini golfer here are two courses to putt on, and two tips to get you a cheap round.

Treasure Island, Tom Pearce Drive, Auckland 
Treasure Island is a pirate themed mini golf course walking distance from Auckland Airport. There are two 18 hole courses – choose cave or ship. We chose ship and watched a lone shark circling a stranded and scruffy pirate.

Shark infested waters Treasure Island Mini Golf  in Auckland

Shark infested waters Treasure Island Mini Golf in Auckland

Booms … Read the rest

Eating for good in Auckland

Ngopi, 79 Anzac Avenue, Auckland Central 
Ngopi is a charitable enterprise that serves Malaysian food and donates its profits to Habitat for Humanity, an organisation that builds and repairs houses, and A21 which works to end human trafficking.

Ngopi is an initiative by the House of Praise Church and is largely run by volunteers, although the Penang born chef and former owner of Albert’s Place is paid. Meals are very reasonably priced from $10 – $12.50 so you can eat for a good cause and a good price.

Malaysian meals at Ngopi - from $10 - $12.50

Malaysian meals at Ngopi – from $10 – $12.50

Ngopi has … Read the rest

Hauraki Blue Cruises – floating accommodation in Auckland

On Auckland Anniversary Day we cruised away from the crowds in Viaduct Harbour onboard Ipipiri, a four level catamaran equipped with 30 cabins, all with king size sea views. It was to be our second overnight cruise on the catamaran, our first was in the Bay of Islands in 2011. The vessel relocated to Auckland in 2014 and still looks brand new, but a few decor changes in the cabins and dining area have smartened it up even more. Ipipiri now travels under Hauraki Blue Cruises and you can sail away for a long lunch or spend the night.

Cabin - bed can be split to make two singles

Cabin

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On a sweet trail in Auckland – Part Three

Back in March I mentioned a possible stairway to Donut Heaven. I climbed the stairs on one of our trips to Auckland and found that Cofffee & Donuts had gone the way of the cronut, my idea of a stairway to calorie hell.

Never mind I thought, it’ll be easy enough to find another sweet trail to follow. It was harder than I thought, I went to a few places that were ok but didn’t stand out enough for me to want to write about them. So what did I do? I cheated, and went somewhere that I knew … Read the rest

Street Art in Central Auckland

'K Road' by BMD, painted as part of All Fresco 2013

‘K Road’ by BMD, painted as part of All Fresco 2013

Years ago I was leaving Sydney by train, there was so much tagging and graffiti on walls and wagons with so many angles, layers and colours it turned into one long amazing art work to me. From that experience I was primed to appreciate art on the street, the kind that brightens up backs of buildings and dull concrete walls.

Unlike taggers whose work is not welcome, street artists like Owen Dippie (OD) are being commissioned for projects like ‘Larger Than Life’ – a series of murals on Tauranga’s … Read the rest

Bed & Breakfast in downtown Auckland – Mercure Hotel

We lucked in with a May stay at Mercure in downtown Auckland paying $117 per night including buffet breakfast for two. Booking a repeat stay in June we’re not quite as lucky with B&B for $156.96. Still, for B&B in a four star hotel we think $156 is a decent deal.

However, there is a sting in the tail of any stay at Mercure requiring car parking – valet parking is $40 per night. Given it would’ve added $120 to our bill and we only needed night parking, we opted to park on the street and paid around $16 a … Read the rest