Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New Zealand - North Island Day 2 (Part 2 - To do/see, to stay, to eat)

To do:

Sky Tower
Victoria St W & Federal St, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Sky Tower

For the adventurous, you can choose to do the bungy jump off the tower or the tower walk. For me, the walk within the building will suffice. This place is extremely small. It took me just a few minutes to complete the walk.

I was quite surprised and i asked SO if i really did complete a full circle round the tower. This is by far the smallest tower i've been to and for its entry price i really don't think its worth the trip up.
View from Sky tower

See-through glass walkway - not for the jelly legs

Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari
Booking Office: Voyager Maritime Museum, Quay Street, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland City

The waiting game - wondering if we get to see the whales/ dolphins

We had a full 4 hours on the boat to chase dolphins and whales. My primary objective for this boat trip is to see some whales as i've seen plenty of dolphins from my Australia trips. As it turns out, we had no such luck that day. SO gotten some close-up shots of the dolphins and these pictures turns out better.

Yay!! - dolphin sighting

Surfing dolphins

This is a pretty nice experience but pricing is a little on the steep side. For a better price in Australia, we get to see towering cliffs and dolphins at Bruny Island and penguins, dolphins and seals at Rottnest Island for half the listed price. Fortunately, we got 50% off as they are running a promotion before our trip.

I like the fact that their website is always updated with the day's status. i.e whether the trip is cancelled etc. If you do not get to see any dolphins or whales that day, they also promise you to go return onboard for FREE!

To Eat:

Jamaica Blue - 3.2 stars, budget

Ibis Hotel, 2 Leonard Isitt Dr, Auckland Airport, Auckland 2022, New Zealand

This is the only cafe open at 8 am in the vicinity of the hotel. Another option we have is the hotel's cafe which serves breakfast at NZ18/ pax.

There is a variety of bread and pastries to choose from including breakfast sets.
Breakfast at Jamaica Blue

Had the flat white coffee with croissant savoury. The croissant though not very crisp is still nice especially with the cheese, ham and tomatoes. Not too bad for the first breakfast at New Zealand.

Ortolana - 3.6 stars, mid-range

31 Tyler St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand


I love the ambiance of this place. Too bad, the weather's too cold for us to dine alfresco.

The sauce is minty with a tinge of sourness. This is a perfect match to the bland crayfish ravioli.

Market Fish
This is very well cooked and i love the crispy skin on one side and juicy on the other. Coupled with tinge of fresh lemon. Yummy. Fresh sprouts sprinkled on top is crunchy and add a tad of freshness to the dish. The barley that goes with it gives this dish extra texture.

Roasted potatoes

The skin is salted and crispy. Though it takes some time for me to come to terms with eating this with the skin intact.
Lamb with sour cream. This is the dish that i dislike most. The meat is cooked pretty raw and pretty hard to chew. SO saves the day by finishing this up.

This is a very light ale which is light on the palate and very aromatic. It has a whiff of fruity flavour that reminds me of strawberries.

To sum up, i love the fish and the drinks served. The rest of the dishes are not bad but doesn't impress.

Milse - 3.8 stars, mid-range

31 Tyler St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

Initially, i have no intention of having dessert. But after passing by this restaurant while looking for Ortolana. I was incredibly tempted. Who wouldn't when there is such delicious array of yummy desserts displayed out-front. Apparently i succumbed to the temptation.
Milse - Dessert to end the day

While there is so many nice cakes displayed, i got intrigued by their dessert menu. The final choice: KALINGO 65%.
Kalingo 65%

This dessert has many layers and flavours all mixed together - Base is dark chocolate with sprinkle of salted caramel. There is orange, mint, browning, crunchy cookie and this is topped with chocolate sorbet. Its a little like what you get to see on Masterchef, every mouthful is an explosion of flavours and they do complement each other very well. My SO has another opinion though. He felt that though each ingredient taste well on its own but he didn't really like them together.

Another interesting concoction was the tea i ordered: Meyer lemon, ginger & honey. Individually, the ginger and lemon is very overpowering. Ginger - spicy, Lemon - sour and Honey sweet. But surprising when mixed thoroughly they have a very soothing effect.

Before we left the restaurant, we are in for another surprise. Ortolana and Milse is actually the same company! We can actually order the dessert at Ortolana. @_@ So if you like some desserts while dining at Ortolana, just ask them to pass you the menu.

To Stay:
Rendevous Hotel Auckland
71 Mayoral Dr, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

Rendevous Hotel Auckland -Main Lobby

Rendevous Hotel Auckland like any business hotel does not disappoint. I love its city centre location where i can easily walk to the Sky Tower and thereafter the meet up point for Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari. Within the CBD, there is also countdown to purchase any groceries required.

Good and nice restaurants especially at Britomart is also within walking distance.

Rendevous Hotel Auckland- The bedroom

Rendevous Hotel Auckland- The room

The rooms are also pretty satisfying. I love the size. Big spacious bedroom and huge bath that comes with shower facilities and an attached bath tub.

The bed is also a good size bed and very comfortable to sleep on. Most importantly, the room charge comes with free wifi. Parking though is chargeable at $20/night but allows for multiple entries during the day of stay. This is in contrast with Skycity which charges parking on per entry basis.

I will definitely recommend this place to stay.

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