A couple of weekends ago, Rob and I travelled to Auckland for the wedding of a family friend and decided to stay overnight in the city as the wedding would be sure to run late.
As I have mentioned before, we have a tradition every year to get away on our own for a weekend. We do it for our marriage. When you have 4 children who are all so busy, it's easy to put your relationship to the side for the sake of practicality. So once the kids reached a certain age, (because we don't have grandparents living locally), we have to coordinate it in with my parents where they come and mind the children for us so we can get away on our own.
Going up to the wedding was not the planned weekend that we usually have - it was supposed to be just an overnighter before coming back home, so after we had arranged a sleep over for the kids at a cousin's house, we decided to treat ourselves anyway, and went for a mystery voucher bought online. Once we had purchased it, we'd be told where would be going. We knew it would be a hotel in the city.
We struck gold, and I was clapping my hands when Rob told me we were staying at the Hilton Auckland!
Last time I stayed at a Hilton was in Turtle Bay, Hawaii, 22 years ago!
My husband loves Auckland. It's where he was born and grew up. Me, I like it, but I don't love it. It's not home for me, even though I lived there from the age of 13. Home for me is Marlborough, where I was born and where I spent my wonderful childhood.
|The view from the Hilton Reception.|
We pulled up outside the lobby of the Hilton in our red Suzuki Swift. (So glad we didn't travel up in our people-mover)! Haha!
Our room was lovely, looking out onto the pool area.
We barely had time to freshen up before heading to the wedding reception, and it was after midnight when we returned. The nightclubs were buzzing. There was a huge line of people outside one club, and a traffic jam of cars. We had to wait in the queue to drive quietly down to the hotel, which is perched out on a wharf over the ocean. It looks a little like a ship from a distance.
I have to say the beds at this hotel are amazing. You just sink into them. We had set the air-conditioning really low, so it was quite cold by the time we returned from the wedding. For the first time this summer, it felt so nice to curl up under the blankets rather than having to throw them off.
The thing I love about this hotel is the late checkout, which meant Rob and I could go and have a leisurely brunch in the hotel restaurant before leaving.
We checked out after our breakfast and headed into the city, with one shop in mind. Smith and Caugheys and Starbucks.
We had to take photos of every flash car we saw, for our car-crazy 10 year old son.
Before heading up to Queen Street, we stopped and wandered around the Maritime Museum. Always, always looking for the old Viking, the classic NZ yacht my Grandfather and Great Grandfather lovingly tended for many years, and who we used to play on when we were children and she was anchored in a little bay in Marlborough Sounds. But she is no longer there at the Maritime Museum, though she once was, many years ago, when we had afternoon tea on board with her owners.
As we walked up Queen Street, we were waiting at a pedestrian traffic light, when a group of Italian tourists came up to me. One of the ladies asked me in her beautiful Italian accent where a good place to eat was, because, as she said, "we are Italians, and we like to eat good food."
We headed to our favourite Department Store and wandered through, and bought a very beautiful vase to put in our new house. And then we finally headed for Starbucks for a coffee before hitting the road to go home.
It was such a lovely little respite for us, this quick jaunt to the city, that I am planning our getaway weekend up here later in the year. Rob was disappointed to see Queen Street looking so shabby and run down, but it was nice to visit Auckland again and to have a few hours just to enjoy this part of the city without distractions.