If you’re a couple backpacking in Auckland on a budget, the last thing you want to do is stay in a cramped dorm surrounded by strangers. However, you don’t want to pay over the odds to get private accommodation either.
At Freemans Lodge you don’t have to as for an additional €3 you can stay in a comfortable two-bed, self-contained apartment complete with lounge, kitchen, bath, shower, toilet and TV.
The popular hostel also features a comfortable lounge where you can relax and watch TV with a complimentary tea or coffee, and a spacious garden to laze away those sunny Auckland afternoons with fellow backpackers.
The lodge is located just outside Auckland's CBD, just a short stroll from the restaurant laden area of Ponsonby. The city centre is just five minutes away by bus.
65 Wellington Street, Freemans Bay, Auckland, New Zealand
Google map: tinyurl.com/2usp89e
Devonport is Auckland's maritime village, just across the harbour from downtown via a 10 minute ferry ride. As one of the first settled areas of Auckland it is full of history, graceful homes and buildings, parks, cafes, art galleries and fantastic views of the city.
This audio guide provides a more in depth experience and covers the main sightseeing and boutique shopping areas.
On a sunny day, or at least one that is not raining, Devonport is a must see place.
Tiny sushi bar Bian - not to be confused with the also brilliant Bien restaurant on Shortland St - supplies the local area with lunch every day, pumping out a fantastic selection of donburi, soups, nigiri and maki rolls. Lovely fresh tuna and salmon, along with more unusual fillings such as deep-fried oyster, rare beef, and sesame-fried green beans. The wasabi is fresh, home-made, and free of additives. And it's self-service, so you can pick a mixed selection of your favourites.
The busy, cheery kitchen will make up a roll for you if they run out of anything. Reliable, friendly and surprisingly cheap - and it's also BYO and open at night. You can't really go wrong.
183 Symonds St, Auckland
Phone: 09-309 5609
For budget travellers, Food Alley at the bottom of Albert Street is a must. It has stalls selling food from almost every country in Asia, from Turkey to Japan and at rock bottom prices.
Try the lamb pasanda from "A Taste of Turkey" (the proprietor is actually Iranian) for NZ$8.50 (that's £2.40 in Brit money).
The food is better than your average food hall.
Lower Albert Street, opposite Stamford Plaza hotel, near the viaduct.
If you don't particularly like heights and don't fancy the Sky Tower to get the amazing views of Auckland, I would seriously recommend a trip to Mount Eden. I was stunned and amazed at just how big Auckland is. You can see everything from there, the harbour, Rangitoto, One Tree Hill, it's well worth a trip. It's real easy to find, just follow the signs. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
After two glorious months travelling round New Zealand, we flew out from Auckland and stayed in a campsite on the edge of town. People leave all sorts of useful stuff behind which you can pick up and use if you are camping. So I would recommend starting out in Auckland, and picking up things like cooking equipment, plates, cutlery, books, gas stoves etc that have been left behind by other travellers. We left behind pillows and a duvet (brand new!) and they were gone before we even left the campsite that morning!
If you're not fussy about everything being new, it's a great way to save some cash and stock up (& you're recycling too).
Top 10 Auckland, near airport. Most campsites in Auckland
The Link Bus provides a cheap way of getting around Auckland. It runs at least every 15 minutes on a circuit around the outskirts of the city and through the centre. It stops at most of the main central attractions (Sky Tower, Viaduct Harbour, Victoria Park Market, K Road, Auckland Museum, Newmarket Shopping, Parnell, Ponsonby and the Cathedral). If you're going to be hopping on and off, it's probably best to ask the driver for an AucklandPass ($9 - unlimited bus and North Shore ferries) or the flat fare is $1.30. All stops have real-time information to tell you when the next bus is due and there are automatic displays and announcements in the bus which list attractions at each stop. The bus operates in clockwise and anticlockwise directions and the driver will tell you if it's quicker to get to your destination using the bus in the other direction
Stops are clearly marked and the buses are painted silver. The website is www.stagecoach.co.nz/thelink/index.html
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