Auckland adventures in rain and shine

We only spent a couple of days in Auckland before moving onto our next stop, but since we arrived the day before the floods, we tried to make the most of it. We had brought ponchos and I was honestly down for just wearing it out and about. We wondered if we’d brought the right gear but I told Nick that I think this rain was unprecedented for even the local folks. A years’ worth of rain in 24 hours, seriously. 🌧️ We brought the ponchos in case we were on a hike and experienced some rain, and I brought a small collapsible umbrella without expecting it to rain so much. A funny thing was that I bought my Blunt branded umbrella recently and then started spotting people everywhere in Auckland with it. It then occurred to me that it’s a brand that originated in New Zealand!

A city at night time, with a tower in the centre of frame. In the foreground are other buildings with lights on.
The sky tower on the night we arrived

Since the rain was so nasty, Nick ended up buying a Blunt umbrella as well, but a larger one. We decided that it would prove useful at home and that we could share it too. He kept bagging out my collapsible umbrella for being so small. 😛

On our first day in Auckland we ate breakfast at a place called Chuffed. It was a nice spot to get away from the rain.

A plate of scrambled eggs on toast, dressed with chilli and green onion
I personally can’t go past chilli eggs

Since the rain wouldn’t let up, we searched for indoor activities to keep us occupied. Apart from things like escape rooms, arcades, giant inflatables, and the town museum, nothing really tickled our fancy more than the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). Nick is a transport aficionado, and I must say, those kinds of museums fascinate me too. After purchasing the HOP card—Auckland’s public transport card—we hopped (lol) on a bus and made the short walk to the museum. At this point it was uncomfortably cold and rainy and we were huddled under my small umbrella because we hadn’t bought the larger one yet.

A green, black, and red generator for a steam train inside a museum building with brick walls
An old steam generator in the MOTAT
A man walking by a large part of steam train machinery in a museum
Nick taking a closer look at the old train machinery
The inside of a museum building with a large textual display hanging from the ceiling, and different style vintage cars from the late 1800s to early 1900s on display
A section about the history of cars in NZ

MOTAT was mostly indoors with separate buildings, but we had to walk outside and brave the rain to move between the buildings. There was an interesting exhibition showcasing games developed by women, most of which happened to be from Australia. I thought that was pretty cool. There was a small library with the oldest books I’d ever seen (over a hundred years old), a small 3D printing studio, and various interactive elements to demonstrate the development in computers and technology, and a whole area about the environment and reducing waste and recycling products. There was also an entire space dedicated to playing board games and large chess and tic-tac-toe. You could definitely spend a while at the museum especially if you have kids or small children.

A large open space with high ceilings with some tables, chairs, tall wooden geometric arches, and some people playing giant chess on a chessboard
Giant chess, anyone?
A very old book open to a couple of pages with serif print. In the background are old, dated books on a shelf.
The oldest book I’ve ever seen. Photo doesn’t do it justice.
The inside of a library with old books lining the shelves, and filing boxes on the shelves up ahead
A very, very old library

There is also a tram running about every fifteen minutes that can take you to the zoo (which we didn’t visit) or the aviation hall where you can see some planes. We ran short on time so we didn’t end up seeing the model railway. The rain kind of wore us out, too. It was so torrential that even walking for a minute between the buildings at MOTAT got us wet. Sideways rain, no thanks.

Heavy rain seen flooding the concrete area outside a museum building.
The rain was bad.
Me, Georgie, and Nick, sitting on an old tram with a brown interior and brown leather seats. We are both smiling
Nick and I sitting on the tram

We managed to make it back to our Airbnb to have a break, but our shoes were starting to get wet. For dinner we planned to visit a bar that was about twelve minutes’ walk away. After about five minutes the rain showed no signs of slowing down, and we were walking on the wharf in ankle deep water. Maybe we were a bit delusional—or just plain determined—but we were definitely very disappointed once we got to the bar to find that it was closed.

I sort of get that annoyance with social media that it’s become the go-to for many businesses to communicate their opening hours, when not everyone has social media and it’s a lot easier to call up or check the website. It really doesn’t help when a website is out of date. I was under the assumption that this place would have made some kind of announcement on social media about being closed, but they hadn’t. We didn’t really have any option but to walk back, since the other restaurants in the area didn’t seem as good. We ended up eating at White + Wong’s which was not too far from where we were staying.

Sliced pork belly with glaze, served on a long plate.
I don’t normally like pork belly, Nick ate most of this dish!

I felt rather embarrassed that my shoes were not only soaked through, but completely filled with water. The lady in waitstaff gave me a large bunch of napkins to absorb the water and said to do whatever I needed to do. I ended up just going barefoot. 😪 It was easier to walk back afterwards barefoot, too, because I just didn’t see the point in wearing shoes if they were going to get completely soaked anyway.

Our meal was pretty good. We ordered a bunch of plates to share, including some sashimi, dumplings, and rice.

That evening we ended up trying some pretty ridiculous stuff to get our shoes dry—Nick tried putting his shoes in the oven with just a cool fan on; he tried the dryer but it kept stopping due to the weight; I resorted to what was perhaps the best idea of putting a hairdryer on the floor, pointing towards my shoes, leaving it on, and rotating the shoes every so often. 🫠

Our shoes were still not completely dry the next day either, so we resorted to wearing hiking shoes, which are also a bit weatherproof anyway. We ate breakfast at a place called Remedy Coffee, and all the locals were talking about the floods. We didn’t get very much rain on us that day, but the dark clouds in the sky suggested it was still around the area.

A plate served with two slices of smashed avocado on toast, with feta, tomatoes, and a fried egg on the side
Good brunch!

We made the most of the sun by getting a bus to the hip town of Ponsonby, walking down the main street and looking in some of the shops. We found Ponsonby Central, a food hall with different foods, drinks, and snacks. We had a short break there and had smoothies. We returned to downtown Auckland after that and looked in Commercial Bay, a shopping and dining complex. There are quite a few of these places around the area, so definitely worth exploring.

A view from a road at a high altitude, going horizontally, with no cars on it, and the city of Auckland in the distance.
The Sky Tower as seen from Ponsonby Road
A view of a wharf with people walking in both directions towards and away from the camera. The sky is blue and there are some clouds in the sky
Walking on the wharf without our feet in water 🤣

We walked on the wharf and had a drink at a bar called The Good Luck Coconut. It was nice being outside and not having rain, especially on a spot by the wharf. For dinner we ate at Reign and Pour, a sort of bistro/bar.

The same tower as in previous photos, seen with a waterfront in the foreground
Yet another view of the tower!
Two tropical drinks, one pink and one orange-brown, in front of a backdrop of a green grassy wall with a neon pineapple sign
Two tacos served on a plate, and some polenta chips in the background
Tacos and polenta. Yum

I don’t think we saw much of Auckland it’s terrible that the locals experienced such bad weather, with some of them being trapped in their cars on the road or experiencing permanent damage to their homes. I think we were lucky that we weren’t trapped at the airport (which had to close for some time) or on a flight that had to return. We also didn’t experience any serious flooding with where we were staying. Hope all you Auckland folk are doing OK. 💕

The following day we jumped on a bus to the airport to pick up a rental car for the next leg of our trip. 🚗

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