New Zealand: A day in Auckland, almost

By Cubie - January 25, 2018

MMC and I arrived Auckland before 6 in the morning. Little P and husband (who I shall refer as Y from here on) didn't want to take the overnight flight, so they arrived the night before and spent 2 nights in Auckland. Upon reaching Auckland, the eating duo (aka MMC and I) had KFC for breakfast in the airport. Yes, KFC that I have not had since moon ago. I don't even remember when was the last time I had KFC prior to having it in Auckland Airport. Anyway, nothing exciting and then we took a Skybus to Auckland city. Note that if you pre-purchase the ticket online, you get NZD 1 discount and pay NZD 17 (one way, return is NZD 32) as opposed to buying it at the counter. In addition, you get to claim some velocity points. You can also search the nearest stop to your hotel online. There were a few stops and they were clearly indicated on an electronic board. The driver made clear announcements too. 

Err... yes, this was before Christmas last year too..
The hotel we stayed in Auckland, Ibis Budget Auckland Central is located at a good location and the staffs were friendly. Anyone who checked me in at 8ish in the morning and actually gave me a room gets heaps of gratitude. I probably looked very sleepy despite I fell asleep even before the flight took off but it was a short flight from Melbourne. The flight duration was only 3 hours 35 minutes. Anyway, the room itself wasn't memorable. Aside from the two points above, I won't recommend it. 

Usually I would drop my bag and out of the door right after. Little P and Y had a poor night sleep and slept in, so MMC and I decided to get some shut eye too. We got up at about noon time and went next door to have lunch because it was an easy choice and we get a 10% discount for staying in Ibis next door. The cafe was The Coffee Club. 

After feeding ourselves, we walkabout a little but mainly towards Maritime Museum. One can also enjoy sailing out to the Waitemata Harbour in heritage vessels offered by the museum but we missed the timing. Entrance fee: NZD 17 (after discount with the coupon in the Auckland Official Guide book, so remember to pick one up before leaving the airport).

I saw this folklore on North Island in the Maritime Museum. As many Polynesian folklore, Māui is the hero of the story. 
Māui was a miscarried foetus set afloat upon the upon by his mother, Taranga. He survived and was cared for by Tangaroa, the guardian of the sea, the sun and winds. He later returned to his people. One day he went fishing with his brothers, after using some magic (because his brother refused to give him a hook), Māui caught a large fish. Māui wanted to offer the fish to thank the Gods but his brother chopped up the fish. The fish heaved into mountains, cliffs and gorges hence the unevenness of the land today. When Māui returned, his fish was dead. The new fish land was the North Island of New Zealand. Māui named it the Fish of Māui, i.e Te Ika a Māui. The head at Wellington, and one of the eyes, Lake Wairarapa. Fins are Taranaki and East Coast, tail in Northland. Heart is Lake Taupo or some said Urewera Mountains, and Māui's fish hook is Cape Kidnappers. 
Thereafter, we left and walked back to the hotel as the parking time was up. So up to Mount Eden we went. For some reason when we googled Mount Eden, it didn't bring us up to the lookout or parking area. We ended up at a residential area which needed a little trek up. 

We hiked up from here and did not meet anyone hiking up or down, or even at where we parked our car, so this was probably not the usual route. The path was a little steep but short.

After we were done taking hundreds of photos, we proceed to our next stop - dinner at FISH. Little P read some reviews and Fish was recommended as place to dine in Auckland. She made reservation prior and off we went. What we didn't realise until we googled for the address was that Fish was actually located inside Hilton Auckland.

So our first dinner in New Zealand was in Hilton. Upon finding out, we went back to Ibis and changed into a less shabby clothes, which was just out of shorts into jeans really.

Appetiser on the house
My main, which I shared with MMC - Duck leg risotto, farmers market beets, roasted shallots, parsley
There were two prices quoted, NZD 28 and NZD 38 - the difference between the two was the size. I took the smaller one.

Little P's slow cooked pork belly, kimchi, coriander oil, schezwan crackling, which she commented that was not crackled. NZD 37
Y's prawn salad, Baby gem lettuce, pancetta crumb, anchovy
This also come in two sizes, please note that the one above is supposed to be the main meal's portion, i.e. NZD 31

MMC's line caught ‘Fish n Chips’, chip shop chips, house ketchup, NZD 23, which I shared half. 
Luckily we also ordered a side of potatoes to share, but unfortunately they got our order wrong. We ordered glazed baby sweet potato, orange, chilli but what we were served was actually baby potato, horopito crème fraiche. We didn't send it back, though, maybe we should've...

Baby potato, horopito crème fraiche, NZD 8
The food was ok. In considering of the price and a restaurant in Hilton, I expect it to be better. Also, the prawn salad that Y had, that looked like entree portion, no?

We didn't have dessert in FISH but ended up grocery shopping snacks on our way back and ate in the room.

Walking back after dinner

Side note: CNY goodies are evil... need to hide them before I finish eating at one seating!

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