Subject: Auckland
Hello Zinelanders,

A few questions regarding Auckland if you will.

First, I'm considering staying in the Parnell neighborhood in the City Garden Lodge (originally built as a residence for the Queen of Tonga) on St. George's Bay Rd. From what I've read The Link bus system passes by along Parnell Rd. quite often and should afford us easy access to the City Center. We generally enjoy accomodations which are either within or fairly close to residential areas and parks. This seems to be a good location but we would love to hear some feedback.

Our stay in New Zealand is a mere 5 days before we continue on to Australia. Essentially, we are taking advantage of Air New Zealand's stopover rules on a flight to Melbourne in order to shorten that long Trans-Pacific flight from California. Originally I had considered staying for a couple of days in Auckland then renting a car for a drive out the Coromandel Peninsula. However, after further reading I feel that Auckland and its immediate environs will fill the five day stay we have. Now, I think exploring Auckland, the islands of the Hauraki Gulf (Rangitoto, Motutapu, Waiheke, etc.), and a day (or even overnight) drive to the vineyards west of Auckland, Waitakere Ranges and/or Piha Beach (or Bethell's Beach) will easily fill up the five days. So, Aucklanders, Kiwis, or experienced Ziners what's your take on this?

To all you New Zealand aficionados: I fully intend to eventually do a REAL trip to New Zealand. Probably rent a camper and travel around the South Island for three weeks or so and then come back for anothjer go at the North Island. But on this trip we wanted to take the opportunity to make a quick visit to a very small area. Just enough of a taste to be assured of returning as soon as possible. So, there is no need to extoll the virtues of those areas too far away from Auckland-we'll get there on another trip.

Thanks, John in San Diego