“My velvet escape travel tip” is a guest series about what the name ‘Velvet Escape’ evokes and what that would be in the hometown of the guest writer. With this series, I hope to uncover travel tips from places around the world to help visitors have a truly local experience. Today’s guest post is by Paul Corbett who writes about his favourite way to spend Sundays in Auckland, New Zealand.
A Sunday outing in Auckland
As the sun beats down on a warm autumn morning in Auckland, I make my way down to the city’s harbour. Queen Street, the city’s main thoroughfare is busy with Sunday shoppers but today I’m off to the village of Devonport on Auckland’s North Shore. The journey across Waitemata Harbour is only twelve minutes long and I’m able to get some great views looking back at the city and the impressive SkyTower that dominates the skyline.
Devonport’s main street is a mix of cafés, boutique shops, art galleries and antique stores but my first stop is down one of the village’s side streets. Devonport Chocolates is a boutique chocolate maker and their store in the village is home to their kitchen. Watching them craft each piece by hand makes my mouth begin to salivate and I have an important decision to make as I struggle to choose between the Chilli Lime and Orange Creams. Unable to decide I buy both, I’d only regret not buying the other later.
My favourite places are the bookshops where I could spend hours looking through the shelves. I have a couple of books to sell which the owner kindly gives me a few dollars each for. I love how you can trade in books in small shops like this. Wanting to find a replacement I browse through the sport and travel sections before finally opting for Chocolat, not my usual type of book but it seems chocolate is becoming a running theme of the day.
Crossing the road I pop into the Patriot pub for lunch. With the warm afternoon air I grab a table outside on the pavement where I spend an hour or so watching the world go by. Housed in an old Bank of New Zealand building, the Patriot is Devonport’s only British pub and prides itself on its food. It has every reason to as well as I devour their delicious Patriot burger.
Finishing off the final fat chip it’s time to head back to the pier and the ferry back to the city. Back at Auckland harbour there’s time for an ice cream from Valentino’s Gelato, an ice cream parlour in the ferry building. I opt for my favourite hokey pokey flavour, a vanilla ice cream with lumps of honeycomb toffee. As the sun begins to set over Auckland I sit on the balcony reading my earlier purchase and reflect on what has been another Velvet Escape.
Though Devonport is the location for my weekend trip, there are many other Velvet Escapes in and around Auckland. New Zealand is geared towards the outdoors and Auckland is no different. Whether it is walking along the coastline and beaches of the North Shore or climbing up the volcanic cones of Mt Eden and One Tree Hill to the south of the city, being able to discover more of my favourite city is the perfect Velvet Escape.
About this week’s guest writer
Paul Corbett spent eight months in New Zealand, six of which were living and working in Auckland, as part of a year long trip around the world. Now back in the UK Paul writes about his experiences on his blog My Postcard From and more recently set up a site all about his favourite country, My Postcard From New Zealand.