A week in our largest city

We spent last week in Auckland, staying at Ardmore NZMCA Park.

It’s location was great for us.

Our grandson’s 8th birthday party had us at Extreme Edge Rock Climbing, which was a huge hit with the kids.

Family catch-ups saw us eating out at Maraetai…

…the Pohutukawa Coast was alive with picnickers as it was Auckland’s Anniversary Day.

we went cafe-ing in Karaka.

and barbeque-ing at our oldest grandson and his partner’s place.

we chilled out watching the small planes and helicopters flying around Ardmore, and walked along to the cafe to watch some more.

Motorhomes and caravans came and went, but some stayed longer than a day or two, as we did.

The rural surrounds are a relief from the busy city bustle and traffic rush, and yet it’s handy to amenities.

One day we purchased AT Hop cards so that we could have a train adventure.

For those who don’t know what an AT Hop card is, it’s an AT Metro card that allows transport on all of Auckland’s metro transport systems, trains, buses and ferries right across the city.

With a Gold Card, travel is free after 9am and all day weekends and public holidays. Your Gold Card details are loaded onto your AT Hop card at the time of purchase, so you only need to present/tag the AT Hop card, not both.

These cards can be purchased at any AT Metro Customer Service Station. They cost $15 per person, $10 for the card, plus $5 travel is loaded onto the card, in case of some emergency where you might have to use it before 9am (discounted fare.)

They need to be renewed every three years, but this can be done online.

We decided our train adventure would take us out west, to the farthest point on the Western City Line, Swanson.

We boarded at Papakura Station…

…changed trains at Newmarket to get on the Western Line…

…and clackety clacked our way to Swanson…

Swanson has one of the few remaining old station buildings, but it’s now a busy cafe…

We had a lunch of bacon and egg pie and coffee…

…and after a while, jumped back on a train to Britomart in the CBD…

Being ex-Aucklanders, we thought we’d take a look at the Downtown area. It’s been awhile since we’ve been there. (It’s nearly twenty years since we left Auckland.)

We emerged from Britomart.

So many people, so much traffic, roadworks, cranes and building noise.

Maybe we should get lime scooters. They look like a cool way to get around…

Nah… let’s just go to the old Ferry Building and get an icecream…

Back at the station, we board a Southern Line train to return to Papakura.

We were impressed with Auckland’s rail system.

Air conditioned, efficient service with trains running every 20 minutes, and no traffic stress.

We had a great day. Simple pleasures.

On our next visit to Auckland, we’ll try a ferry ride to Devonport or Waiheke.

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