We were at the end of our trip in New Zealand, so quite honestly, we felt like we needed a bit of a rest by slowing down our pace; and of course, we needed to save money since New Zealand is not cheap!
Luckily, Alex, my Mongol Rally mate, now lives in Auckland, so he offered us a place to crash for a few days and gave us a few tips on what to do and where to go. We mostly used Auckland as a base to drive to other places like Waitomo, Hobbiton, and Rotorua, but we also wanted to see a bit of Auckland itself.
The Auckland Harbour Bridge is an icon of the city. It spans over 1,020 m from St. Mary’s Bay to Northcote, passing over the harbor and giving views of the Rangitoto Island, which is actually a volcano; and the Auckland skyline, with its crowning Sky Tower rising up to 328 m.
One surprising fact I got to learn during the climb is that this, including the bungee jump from the bridge, is the only way you can actually walk on the bridge. There are no pedestrian walkways and no bike lanes, which is unusual for such a bid bridge. They actually penny-pinched a lot during construction, so this bridge is the bare minimum when it comes to utility and structure.
Since it was winter, there were not a lot of tourists around the city, so our Bridge Climb was somewhat of a private tour for two. Our climb guide was Denee, who was quite knowledgeable of the bridge, the city, and some of its fun facts. She shared a lot with us as we walked through the scaffolds, the pylons, and over the structure. But, the one fact that got stuck in my mind was that during its construction in the 1950s, one of the workers was inside pylon #4, don’t remember if he fell or was in it doing his job, but what I clearly remember is that he was buried alive with the quick-set concrete that was poured in the pylon. He is still there.
This was just one of the 4 deaths during the bridge’s construction, but its clearly the most shocking. But moving on… From the summit of the bridge, as expected, the 360 degrees views of the city and surrounding islands were quite impressive, and to serve as the “cherry on top,” we did the climb on a Sunday around noon, when there’s typically a regatta on the harbor, so we managed to see dozens of sailboats preparing to sail its waters.
On the way back, we had the chance to see some bungee jumpers from the platform under the bridge. I have to say it is quite a choreographed jump since boats pass under the bridge, so you don’t really want to jump 40 meters down and land crash on a boat by error.
The rest of our time in Auckland was much more laid back, walking around Queen Street and its several stores, Karangahape Road (commonly known as K’ Road) where you can see a more gentrified city (and quite raunchier too with its red light district), and Ponsonby Road, which as close as it is to K’ Road, it is a lot posher.
I loved walking along the Auckland Domain Park to reach the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which is one of New Zealand’s most important museums and war memorials.
Even though it was winter, we spent some time walking along the beaches in Mission Bay (which is where we were staying), just a 10 minutes bus ride from the Britomart Bus Station by the ferry terminal.
The rest of our experience in Auckland was just chilled and relaxing, with a few walks here and there, simply getting to know the city at a slow pace. But, before I finish, I have to say that you must go to Burger Burger in Ponsonby and try one of their delicious burgers. They are all about local “free range” meat and homemade sodas.
This is a must! People rave about Fergburger in Queenstown, but in my opinion, Burger Burger is much better!
Ah, New Zealand, how I love you!
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The Auckland Bridge Climb costs $120 NZD per adult and $80 NZD per child. Children over 7 may climb.
The climb can take up to two hours, so make sure you have eaten before climbing.
Climbs are available from 9:00 am until 3:30 pm.
Wear sneakers or other comfortable shoes with good grip.
It is not possible to take your own cameras or devices on the climb, but pictures of your climb are available for purchase.
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Thanks to AJ Hackett for providing me with a complimentary climb. While my experience was complimentary, the opinions expressed here are my own and honest, as usual.
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