|We started early, said goodbye to the Bay of Islands, and headed back to Auckland in the car along the SH1, stopping at Wellsford for a coffee and to swap drivers. I took us into Auckland and I must have been a bit nervous with the driving still as I managed to cut up a police car at a junction whilst looking for the quayside. He wasn't best pleased but I think I managed to get away with it by waving meekly at him. We stopped at the Info centre again to get a hotel sorted and then Kate sensibly took over the driving to return the car back to the rental place.
We checked into the Citylife hotel which was also quite plush and decided to have a good look around the city. We walked up to the apparently trendy "K Road" (Karangahape Road), the heart of the 'alternative' scene in Auckland, but all we found were lots of shops selling teenage rebellion gear and new age tat interspersed with some grubby bars - the whole area a sort of wannabe Camden but not quite making it. I'm sure we were there on the wrong day but our view has been largely vindicated by extremely poor TV adverts we see promoting the street which surely both undermines any 'alternative' credibility and smells of desperation.
Later we headed out to the harbour front to explore the bars there. The whole area had been revamped for hosting the America's cup and it had that new feel about it. We decided to go into the Loaded Hog, a huge sports bar and tried to blend in as we watched unknown rugby teams on the big screens, trying to cheer at the right time as we guessed which team most people were supporting.
However, it had been a long day and we soon headed back for the night, ready for our move down to Christchurch tomorrow. It was the end of our little holiday (or at least Kate's) and we both feel that it was fine start to our little adventure.