Having visited Tasmania and really loving the place it was time to move on. Even with scenery like this we had to go.
We had heard that due to seismic activity that transport on the South Island was difficult so decided to limit our visit to the North Island. It was a shame since I know the South Island is supposed to be spectacular but we were still limited by time as well. I'd heard about the scenic train that runs between Wellington and Auckland and we were able to get tickets on the day after we arrived in Wellington. The train runs north on one day then the next day it returns to the south so we had to leave on the day after we'd arrived.
The train has four carriages and a viewing carriage that has no seats or windows, the better for taking photos. I spent a fair amount of time out there! LOL The North Island has quite a bit of farming in addition to lovely mountains and valleys. I won't admit to how many photos of cows, sheep and horses I took!
There was a bus to take you downtown but it was full in an instant and our hotel wasn't downtown anyway. There were a few cabs but there was a huge queue for them so we decided to walk. We weren't out of the parking lot when a couple of guys who had been working on the train stopped us. We explained we were going to walk to our hotel but they insisted on taking us in their car and boy were they lifesavers. Our hotel was in a suburb called Parnell which is probably 3 miles from downtown and all uphill. It would have taken a long while to walk not to mention we'd probably have gotten lost. Thank you, Mark and friend from NZ Rail!
The next day we started exploring Auckland. It is a beautiful city but you've got to like hills. We ended up walking down to the city then taking the bus up the hill when we were tired in the evening. That was a cool deal. Of course we headed for the water first thing.
I didn't mention the reason for being in a hotel in the suburbs: cost. When we were looking we were seeing typical prices of $400 a night in downtown. I know the NZ dollar is less than the US but still that was over our willingness to spend. Even so we were in the $150 range. An advantage of the suburb was that there were some really excellent restaurants around so that was enjoyable.