Or, 101 Things to do in New Zealand's Largest City.
08.12.2010 - 05.01.2011
I've voluntarily taken on a new role as a tourist agent for the City of Auckland. Enjoy!
01. Arrive safely, adjust to the jet lag.
02. Learn to look the other way before crossing the street. Practice, because it's harder than you'd think.
03. Find the amazing Hare Krishna vegetarian restaurant on K Road, fill up for NZ$6.
04. Visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum - those are some big birds, eh?
05. Take a stab at Maori pronunciation and fail.
06. Leave a copy of Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent" sticking out of your bag and get a free ride from a kid on a pedicab. Later he'll tell you to get a peanut butter milkshake at Sweet Mother's in Wellington and you won't be disappointed.
07. When people ask you about the United States, make up the craziest stories and assure them you're telling the truth. "Yes, we do all carry guns in America. In fact, in some states it's mandatory!"
08. Watch this video, bru.
09. Couchsurf with some Auckland punx, you'll wonder how they can organize the revolution if they can't organize their kitchen.
10. Meet up with your best friend from when you were a kid. What's he doing here, anyway?!
11. Hang out in the park with a fellow traveler and a kid who won American Idol: India. He'll serenade the two of you while you drink wine until the sun comes up.
12. Wear a red bandana and piss off some gang members. Later, in Hastings, your black bandana will piss off the other gang members. You just can't win...
13. Make a bunch of tacos and share them with your friends.
14. Buy a bike, piss off bad Auckland drivers by riding in the street.
15. Get stopped by the police for matching the description of somebody tagging the train station. When they ask to search your bag tell them no but offer to shake it for them. They'll agree, they'll apologize for bothering you and they'll leave.
16. Ask for a large cup and get a bowl, literally a bowl, full of coffee.
17. Hang out at Aotea Square and watch the skaters across the street try to land the big drops.
18. Meet a delightful woman who offers to loan you her touring bike so you can ride around the country. It's a very kind offer but you'll be too terrified of how people drive in this country to take her up on it.
19. Feed crappy diabetes-inducing bread to the birds - gulls, shags, pigeons, pukekos, and so on. That'll teach 'em to trust us...
20. Head out of town for Christmas with friends and their family, you'll learn how to play cricket and spend the night hanging out around a lovely holiday bonfire.
21. Learn about the Maori diaspora and settlement of Aotearoa, it's pretty damn cool.
22. Check out the street art, most of it will be covered up next time you pass by.
23. Drink New Zealand apple cider at the Neighborhood bar in Kingsland.
24. Watch the fireworks downtown on new years. Be sure to check out the waterfront too, there are more fireworks over there.
25. Wander around all the parks, learn the names of local flora.
26. Visit the grave of Fred Evans, one of two people killed during labor struggles in New Zealand. Evans was beaten to death by police and strikebreakers during the 1912 Waihi miners' strike and is buried at Waikaraka Cemetery in the suburb of Onehunga.
27. Check out the blooming pohutukawa trees.
28. Climb One Tree Hill and Mount Eden, volcanos that the Maori used as pā.
29. Have a hilarious conversation with the crazy evangelical christian guy who gives you a Jack T. Chick comic.
30. Loiter at the harbour and admire the fancy white shoes all the cruise ship captains wear.
31. Get a free mobile phone (don't worry, mom and dad, it's legit) and send anonymous text messages to friends back home.
32. Watch your first rugby match on television, it's brutal and a far sight more interesting than soccer.
33. Get lost. Don't worry, you always find your way home.
34. Admire all the anti-nuclear public art at the corner of K Road and Ponsonby.
35. Learn to drive on the wrong side of the road, everybody's doing it!
36. Lose your camera on new years, you'll be devastated.
37. Buy groceries at the rad Asian market on Dominion Road, you won't be disappointed.
38. Partake in an Auckland tradition by heading to horse races at Ellerslie Racecourse on Boxing Day. You'll win ten bucks but you'll lose twenty...
39. Buy jandals. What the hell are jandals? Ask John McCain...
40. Play an accordion and sing songs while the trains roll by behind the last house standing in an old industrial neighborhood.
41. Throw away your razor and grow your beard out again.
42. Talk American politics with Hamish, a libertarian who's been on his water-only diet for a week. He's nice enough but doesn't seem to have much energy, does he?
43. Take the ferry to Devonport, get drunk below a volcano with a disappearing gun inside it.
44. Have a conversation with a police officer about whether they should carry a gun. Along with a majority of New Zealanders, you'll argue that they shouldn't. Presently they don't.
45. Have a wander down Vulcan Lane, relive the Search for Spock or just admire the architecture.
46. Randomly meet a couple of Italian travelers, eat a big plate of pasta they make for you.
47. People-watch at night on Ponsonby Road, these are the people who refuse to accept that high school is over.
48. Find that fig tree in the park and lighten its load.
49. You like boats? Check out Westhaven Marina!
50. Fight a losing battle to get the flies out of the house.
51. Head over the Waitakares to Piha Beach, hike to Kitekite Falls and watch the sun set into the Tasman Sea on new years eve.
52. Climb to the top of Mount Victoria in Devonport and watch a storm roll in, a storm you'll be stuck in later.
53. Learn the difference between an americano and a long black.
54. Party hard, make Andrew WK proud.
55. Head out to picturesque Rangitoto Island, hike around, check out some shipwrecks and run back to catch the last ferry.
56. Enjoy willful unemployment.
57. Make travel plans and scrap them for spontaneity.
58. Head into the Waitakere Range with a local, he'll have you stomping on your imaginary break peddle the whole time.
59. Explain several dozen times why the Tea Party is not a third party in the American political system.
60. Take the ferry to Waiheke Island, dance to the local hip hop group, drink the local wine, lounge on the local beach and swim in the local ocean.
61. Rent a car with three strangers, drive to the Coromandel Peninsula, swim at Hot Water Beach and total the car on the way home. Don't worry, the police will drive you back to Auckland.
62. Push your bike up that steep-as hill in the park and bomb it!
63. Wonder why everybody has a washing machine but no dryer, and wonder why everybody back home has both.
64. Plan and execute a four-day hike around Cape Reinga. You leave in twenty-four hours, better get started...
65. Don't forget to wash your clothes.
66. Sweet talk the baristas at the mall into giving you their wifi password.
67. Make a huge fruit salad of local and in-season produce and share it with your flatmates.
68. Admire the architecture, reminds you a bit of Portland, right?
69. Eat falafel, heaps and heaps of falafel.
70. Play with the hermit crabs in the tide pools on Waiheke.
71. Hit the beach at Point Chevalier.
72. Drink your first vanilla chai latte, it will change your life.
73. Learn what they mean when they refer to the following: courgette, capsicum, silverbeet, coriander, aubergine, kumara, pumpkin, Jerusalem artichoke, and aubergine. I'll help you out. Courgette, zucchini; capsicum, bell pepper; silverbeet, chard (huh?!?); coriander, cilantro; kumara, sweet potato; pumpkin, squash (squash is a game, you can't eat it); Jerusalem artichoke, sunchoke; aubergine, eggplant. A sweet potato by any other name would taste as sweet...
74. Wonder why there are chickens at the zoo.
75. Go dancing at some silly club. Just do it.
76. Meet some friends at the airport, let the battle of sarcastic senses of humor begin!
77. Try to get up to the top of the Sky Tower for free. Good luck!
78. Get overwhelmed by all the tasty treats at the Asian food mall on K Road. Doesn't matter what you get, it'll be great.
79. Find the cafe that leaves their free internet on overnight, use it often.
80. Take a walk around Western Springs park, check out the eels and the dinosaur-like pukekos.
81. Work on your tan, winter sure is summery down here.
82. Eat kue lapis, a gelatinous green dessert from Indonesia. Sedap!
83. Try to find a place that sells drip coffee. The closest you'll find is one that has a french press in the back but you have to ask for it...
84. Check out the Symonds Street Cemetery, the oldest graveyard in the city. Half of it has been taken over by vegetation and the other half by kids up to no good. It's fun to hang out on both sides.
85. Wonder why New Zealanders care about the British monarchy at all. Later you'll meet a exceedingly foolish woman who declares she would prefer an absolute monarchy because "the Queen seems like a nice lady, I trust her to make the right decision." Uh, yeah...
86. Abuse the free internet at the library.
87. Learn New Zealand slang, some of it will make you laugh, some of it will come in handy.
88. Hop on your bike and explore some old industrial areas.
89. Head downstairs at Britomart, admire all the little Sputniks on the ceiling.
90. Since you don't have any drums to play, pour your creative energy into taking photos - lots of 'em.
91. Eat some wonderfully spicy Malaysian food for the first time.
92. Check out some awesome New Zealand reggae - Katchafire!
93. It's summertime, admire everybody's tattoos - especially tā moko, it's new to you.
94. Get excited about Irish music night at the pub, only to be disappointed it's a bunch of boring people sitting in a circle trying to play songs out of a songbook. Entertaining in it's own way, but not what you were hoping for.
95. Visit the site where the French government bombed the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior and killed a man in an effort to stop their anti-nuclear activism.
96. Eat bananas straight off a banana tree.
97. Wonder at the high cost of food here, it'll catch you off-guard.
98. Play Jenga, follow it up with Drinking Jenga.
99. Try to learn what these people are referring to when they say fries, chips, crisps, biscuits, crackers and cookies.
100. Say yes more.
101. Leave, you won't regret it. You'll enjoy your time there but know that Auckland has little to offer compared to the rest of New Zealand. Okay. Ready? Go!
Auckland from Mount Eden.