Although, it is not New Zealand’s capital city Auckland sure does act like it. It’s the most populated city in New Zealand and by a million people. It is also the only spot in New Zealand to have Classpass. I spent three nights in Auckland, but not consecutively because it was always just an in between stop. I was actually okay with that because I have my fill of large cities already. The first night (also being my first night in New Zealand) was spent at Frienz hostel.
This was such a mishmash of everything – from décor, furniture, bedding, etc., but I really loved it. This totally eccentric hostel also had the loveliest workers. I was in a six bed female room, but there were only three of us – always a treat. This was the first hostel I’ve been to that assigned beds at check in. Thankfully, I had a bottom bunk, so it worked out well in my favor.
Each floor had a different wallpaper and color theme. The hostel was situated in an extremely old building, but it didn’t feel run down in the least. It felt comfortable, as if you were in someone’s home. It was in a bustling section of town in Auckland. I would say the only negative was that it was uphill from the main street (this I learned was normal for Auckland later on). It was rough walking up though with luggage after a flight, bus, etc. and just a full day of traveling to be honest. The common areas included a TV room and library as well as an outdoor patio section. It also seemed like there were a lot of social activities and opportunities to meet people every day during the week.
I spent two nights here and really it holds up to the classic YHA standards. Everything was clean and orderly. This hostel was also located straight uphill and I was so happy I didn’t have my large blue suitcase. There weren’t any negatives about this hostel in my opinion so I would also recommend it to anyone.
Auckland is a busy city with a lot of accommodation options and I can vouch that both of these are solid.
Frienz would be your spot if you want a quirky/artsy place. YHA if you want something solid and at a bit of a higher standard.
I’ve had “ring in the New Year in New Zealand” on my bucket list since 2015 when I met a Kiwi (someone from NZ) in London. She marveled how awesome the festivals and celebrations were for New Years. Given NZ’s location it’s one of the first places on earth to ring in the New Year. Rhythm & Vines is a known music festival that has the first sunrise of the New Year. So I knew that during my time in the Southern Hemisphere I wanted to spend some time in NZ. I was so looking forward to some adventure. With the bush fires going on in Sydney/New South Wales (“NSW”) I also couldn’t wait for the fresh, open air.
My flight was from Sydney to Auckland, and unfortunately around the time of my flight the volcano erupted about 150 miles off the east coast of the North Island. Beyond a little delay I wasn’t impacted whatsoever, but my friends/family were not at ease. My thoughts go out to everyone who was directly impacted and hope families get answers soon.
I arrived in Auckland in the late afternoon and after checking into my hostel I went out to walk around a little bit. I noticed how small of a city Auckland was and although over 1/3 of NZ’s population lives here it wasn’t overtaken by huge skyscrapers. The city still felt open and when looking out into the distances you can see hills and bodies of water. Here are some other things I’ve noticed:
Strangely enough there were so many American fast food chain restaurants/stores that are even missing from Australia (Dunkin’ Donuts, Wendy’s, actual Burger King, PitaPit, The Body Shop, Carl’s Jr., etc.), but the chains do not make NZ feel at all like the states or anywhere else I’ve been.
I think it’s very quiet even in the busiest places at the busiest times (like business district during rush hour). I think that’s because there aren’t that many people living here. More people live in Sydney or NYC compared to the entire population of NZ (~4.78 million).
The rolling hills, beautiful beaches, and so many adventure activities have already won me over. There’s so much to do and see.
Compared to NYC and Sydney I find that New Zealand is less expensive so far.
The drinking laws aren’t as strict here as in NSW. Everyone is so nice.
It’s chillier here than Australia because it’s closer to the equator, but the sun feels stronger.
People are really nice. Like kind of catches you off guard by how nice they are.
I have booked my travel in NZ through Stray Travel. It’s kind of a hands off, hop on/hop off tour company. Their main purpose is to get you from Point A to Point B. Then you choose where you want to stay, for how long, what you want to do, etc. It let’s you be flexible with your travel and totally customize your trip.
New Zealand is made up of two islands (North and South). I’m doing North Island before New Years and ending the year at Rhythm & Vines music festival. Then I will embark on the South Island in January for a few weeks before heading back to Australia.