As you all know, our travel plans are highly based on error fares, airline miles and hotel points. I get error fare notifications to my phone as soon as they come through [How To Find The Best Travel Flight Deals & Error Fares]. As soon as I got the notification for a cheap round trip to Auckland, New Zealand it was a done deal. I immediately purchased four tickets for Aiden’s 5th birthday.
Instead of staying in Auckland for the duration of our trip, I decided that we should visit a few different places to make our experience worthwhile. We visited Auckland, Waiheke Island, Coromandel and Rotorua. We had a total of 9 days and stayed 2/3 days in each place. It took me quite a while to build our itinerary for some reason. You know what, I know why, because I am not a planner at all, and we usually just go with the flow. But because it was high season (summer in New Zealand), I had to. I mapped out each day of our trip including accommodations, restaurants and activities, and booked what I could right away.
My blog post below details our trip in this format:
- When Did We Go There
- What Was The Weather
- How Did We Get There
- How Did We Get Around
- Where Did We Stay
- What Did We Do
- Where Did We Eat
When Did We Go There
We traveled to Auckland the first week of February 2018. Aiden’s birthday is 06 February, so this was his birthday trip! He turned 5 while we were on our trip as my goal every year is for him to celebrate his birthday someplace new!
What Was The Weather
February is still considered summer time in New Zealand. The weather is so interesting though; one minute it’s raining, the next it’s sunny. The weather was a mix between rain and sun. And even when it rained, it was still quite warm. So good thing I packed a mix of shorts and pants for us all. Don’t forget your packing cubes!!
How Did We Get There
We flew United Airlines from Burbank to Auckland with a short layover in San Francisco.
The boys slept 11 hours of the 12.5hr flight. I made sure to feed them well and then tire them out in San Francisco prior to boarding our flight to Auckland. They slept with the help of the “1st Class Kids Travel Pillow”
How Did We Get Around
We rented a car from National Car Rental. We got a Toyota Camry which was perfect as it was able to fit all our stuff with no issues. Remember that in New Zealand, driving is on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side.
I didn’t want to lug too much stuff around, so for the first time ever in my traveling life, I decided to rent car seats for the boys. They had such a hard time buckling themselves in for some odd reason, so I decided I’d never make that mistake again. Lol. For ease of use, I highly recommend taking your kids car seat. Having to buckle them both every single time was quite a hassle to be honest especially as they do it perfectly well by themselves when we are home.
Where Did We Stay
We spent 3 nights in Auckland, one night in each of these places.
We stayed here on 60K points for one night. In my opinion, wayyyyyyy too many points. Not excited about Hilton point redemption lately. I was also not happy to find out they didn’t have a lounge. They did offer us a bottle of wine for not being able to upgrade us due to full capacity.
We booked an awesome AirBnB in Auckland . Pool, Hot Tub, Trampoline, an awesome Host and a view for days !!! Annnnnd most of all, much cheaper than a hotel would have cost us . Do you book Airbnb when you travel to keep down costs? Any good / bad experiences you care to share? . Don’t forget to check out my most recent post on the blog –> “Auckland With Kids”. AirBnB link included. #AirBnB #Auckland #NewZealand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #TMom #LPKids #WeAreTravelMums #TravelMom #TravelMum #TravelBuddies #TravelWithKids #KidsTravel #TravelKids #FamilyTravel #TravelFamily #FamilyAdventure #TravelingWithKids #TravellingWithKids #TravelWithKids #AdventureFamily #JetSetKids #JetSetFam #JetsettingKids #TravelBugLife #TravelAddict #Blog #BloggerLife #CuteKidsClug #TravelBloggerLife #TravelBlogger #FamilyAdventure #Skyline #ViewsForDays
Out host was sweet enough to let us use her kitchen for our little celebration of Aiden’s 5th birthday!!
What Did We Do
We didn’t do much in Auckland. We planned too, but then we realized that there just so many other fun things to do out of the city. So we spent our time in Rotorua and Coromandel (posts coming up soon).
Auckland City Beach
This place was recommended by our Airbnb host. A great beach with beautiful views, as well as a play area for kids and a restaurant nearby. The kids loved it.
This zoo is great, with lots of animals that were new to the kids. So I am glad we went there. They also have a kidzone kids area and the boys loved playing there after exploring the zoo.
Okahu Bay Wharf
We saw the beautiful downtown Auckland city skyline as we were driving by and decided to stop for a photo. This Wharf is a fishing wharf, so nothing exciting here, however, there is an aquarium across the street that was highly recommended to us.. The boys enjoyed running up and down
giving me heart attack and were curious to see what types of fish people caught. They then started asking over and over that they wanted to fish also and that was our cue to leave lol.
Where Did We Eat
Can I just say this, the food in New Zealand is AHHHH-Mazing !!!! I was not dissapointed by any of the places we ate at. Each place had a play area for kids which made it even more perfect. Wish this was the norm in LA.
- Book your accommodation (hotel/airbnb etc) ahead of time. We moved around quite a bit because I waited until last minute to book and had a hard time finding a nice place that was decently priced.
- A car is a must, there’s just no other way about it. Auckland is a big city, and the North Island of New Zealand is pretty big too. If you’re renting a car, don’t forget that driving is on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side of the road, so be Careful!!! Thanks to my husband because I would have been too scared to drive, lol.
- To avoid fees from your provider, get a sim card from Spark at the airport when you land. They have good rates and really good 4g reception all over the North Island. We got the 8gb plan and had to add some more later as we use a lot of data.
- There are plenty of restaurants with play areas for kids. This is a great list: “Kid Friendly Cafes and Restaurants in Auckland” so take advantage of the, The kids can play and eat and everyone is happy.
- There are plenty of things to do in Auckland, but we didn’t do as many because we had so much more fun exploring other cities. “Things To Do In Auckland for Kids, Teens and Families” is a great list if you plan to spend the majority of your holiday in Auckland.
Click below to read my post on Waiheke Island