$7 ticket can’t go wrong

Early Good Friday morning, at 6:20 four of us hopping on a Mana bus to Auckland holding a baby seat and a three-wheeled pram.

Ticket was issued about two weeks before, and costed us $7 each one way to Auckland plus $1 booking fee, so $28 all up each way. Even cheaper than driving up, let alone the hassle of finding a place to park the car.

A brand new Volvo double decker bus manufactured in Tauranga under Volvo license.

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The Mana party’s ex-parliamant members run the business and the Kim dot Com manages the booking web site, so everything works so perfect to keep the price down.

The bus has two conference tables(or at least on which you can put your laptop) on the lower cabin, and there are power sockets each seat with a free wifi(both for 240V and 5V USB).  Of course you will have a toilet if it is not blocked.

On board, they offered a welcome drink of coffee or tea served with a chocolate cookie but the hot water was so stink with Chlorine smell. Anyway where on earth you would get a free tea, an internet, laptop concection and a leather seat for $7?

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Well, You can’t make a Easter story without a Easter Bunny, proudly Korean-made easter bunny on board.


This is the free tea and a cookie.


The bus pulls in for Hamilton, Manukau and finally Auckland’s Customs street, but continues all the way to Whangarei. Yep these guys are tough Maoris once Mana party warriors now drivers and conductors.


Well, You would not expect all the shops and restaurants open on the Good Friday, neither do I. Only breakfast option gets us at McDonald.


For the bunny, it’s cookie time.


Upon acknowleging on the fact that we got no shops or department stores for shopping, the only other options we can possibly enjoy will be having food all day and a walking tour of central Auckland with a style. Sounds nice, smells even better.

Family turning the pram around away from the department store after making sure the door is locked.


Around the Viaduct harbour, some metal piece arts make a good stop for a Kodak moment.




Lots of people enjoying a noble breakfast at the pier cafe by the sea.


People in line waiting for a ferry to Waiheke island.


We are slowly walking toward uphill on Queen St. just wanting to see a bit of vibrant scene on the way and some street eateries if any.

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The side small alley ways off Queen St. have some of best cafe scenes in CBD with a regular clientele support.


Talking about Korean restaurants….There are 20 or more hole-in-wall snack bars and restaurants serving Korean foods or Japanese-Korean fusion foods, targeting on Asian students, around Queen street.

Korean sausage or Soon-Dae, made with minced meat, spices, pig’s blood, is a sure thing that one needs to acquire the taste, but if you are a decent Maori you will enjoy it as Maoris eat anything that smells like food.

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The twin tower in blue hue.


The Civic theatre shining back the sunshine.


Pretty tacky fake food display in an Indian snack bar that would deter the potential spice lovers to other places.


We decide to make a pit stop for an early lunch at one of Korean restaurant. Look at the empty Sake bottles stacked up on the wood frame. Full of Korean Sake-ish alcoholic drink ads cover the wall.


Too dark inside to get the right feel of the food, so forced the flash to pop. This is the spicy roasted pork on a hot plate with rice, only $10.


Now for my daughter, spicy squid on the hot plate, another $10 dish, well it wasn’t bad at all.


Out for a dessert drink to neutralize the spice of the Korean food, and we find a queue for a tea shot.


Chartime is the name of the shop dealing only teas with some exotic flavours added on. The black pearl tea(or Zenzhu Nei cha, Chinese calls it) for a medium size cup costs only $5.50 and has the taste 95% identical to its original. Two thumps up.

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Oh my pearl tea. I ordered one with 80% sugar(20% less sugar than ordinary cup) but it was still too sweet. You may go with 50% sugar.


Yep you are right. We got here from Rotorua all the way only to have this smile from my daughter. This smile only cracks up when her tongue curls up with an exotic tea or when stupid One-direction is on TV.


Easter bunny, it is your day, drink hard and get pissed.


We were too full to try this Spanish long stick called Churro, basically everyone passing this patch of footpath ordered one. Looked pretty oily to me.


A young lovely couple munching Churro , Chur bro.


Another black pearl tea shop just a block away from Chartime….No one goes in.

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I like the way you holding the water bottle, man. Don’t be surprised if the water tastes sour.


This apartment block built by Japanese Samurai, the sharp edge of the right corner resembles a Samurai sword.

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A Korean meat BBQ buffet, $18 for lunch and $20 for dinner, very good value if you are a meat lover. We wanted to try but all the tables were already filled up.


A Chinese dumpling house on upper Queen street.


Cinema, cafe, and a food court. Not the premium quality but just adequate for any budget and variety.

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A Korean restaurant specializing BibimBaab, aptly named Baab(literally meaning rice). You can choose your own veg, sauce and toppings and mix with hot sauce, and pay accordingly less than $12. Good for your taste adventure. The Bibija means Let’s mix.


A Japanese Donburi(simple meat topping on rice) and Bento(literally meaning ‘lunch box’) corner.


I still don’t know how to pronounce this cafe, OKO or KO or CKC or what? Specializing dessert and sweets. The free trial dish was mean.

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Look at the map on the wall drawn with coffee beans. Can you count how many beans used to make New Zealand?  Four…and How many for Australia? So shut up. We are just worth of 4 beans.  Hmmm Can you spot how many beans for Korea? Answer is humble ONE.


If you got money, you don’t have to walk like us. Hop on and off this yellow Explorer bus all day which costs $45 per person.


A Korean sign saying “Charcoal grilled spare rib” Oh I can’t resist.


We walk and walk because we got no destination to stop.

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Slowly toward SKY tower.


Oh lovely Kombi in yellow. Yellow means freedom.

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Looks like a missile aimed to Koutu.

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Damn, the casino is closed for Good Friday. My gambling money can go for a luxury dinner.

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Um, this tree, just in front of Gloria Jeans coffee shop by SKY city, is a genuine coffee tree. I wonder how many people have noticed this. I knew this from the first sight and have never seen this size of coffee tree in NZ. Very healthy, bearing some coffee cherries ripe.

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When the coffee tree touches the top of SKY tower, It will be the end of the world and you will remember my warning.


I thought this cafe scene is much more like we are in Malaysia, in Penang island perhaps?


On the way to the Art Gallery, going through this small cobble stone square with seats, good for taking a nap or reading books, googling or eating your lunch.

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I’m a Feminist and will fight until this painting changes its title to ” Men’s Suffrage


All the guys watching two girls walking down the alley but I’m not. I’m watching the viewfinder of my camera. Call me a Saint.


Another Korean restaurant or a bar? Don’t know.


A couple about to kiss. The man wearing a hard helmet, yep the kissing a girl can damage men’s brain so protection is needed. Once your brain’s damaged like mine, there is no going back.


Wow. Art Gallery is open on Good Friday.

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My second daughter explaining something to the youngest one.


In Art Galley, watching people watching the exhibition is a part of Art, I guess.


One of paintings that attracted my eyes the most. It’s like a photo taken with a 50mm prime lens at aperture f1.8.


My favorite picture of all in this Auckland hangout. Perfect contrast and colour and angle taken from 2nd floor.


My kids taking picture in front of the bubble art.


A person surrounded by all concrete blocks, um my art contribution to the gallery.


On the way to Auckland University, we got Albert park. Lots of family walkers.

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We decided to stroll down to Auckland Uni. as my first daughter will apply for this one next year.

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This tree ‘ Hibiscus’ is the national flower of Korea, beautifully in full blossom.


Some where up hill in wood land in the Uni’s campus



A mandarin tree showing dark green fruit in the campus.


Back on the road, iron gate covered with ivy vines.


Well everyone knows ‘Shortland’ Street, this simple patch of nothing.


A perfect hanging pot shining the city bright and warm on Shortland street.


Just before a cafe entrance meets some huge pots texturing the ambience. Lovely landscaping.

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A side cafe street backed up by an apartment dwelling. Feels like an Art Deco.

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A table setting with pot plants on the cobble. You gotta be noble to seat and call your waiter.


In Auckland, you will see all the fortunate coffee roasters name in the street like these, one of them is MOJO.


Low angled picture to capture the grain of the cobbles and the back ground.


Another big name in the coffee industry. Atomic coffee.

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This shopping mall was closed and don’t go down to the food court unless you want to be in a middle eastern souq chaos with unpleasant spice smell.

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Before catching the bus back, we popped in a Korean restaurant serving Chajang, a Korean black sauce pasta noodle. Yep bunny, drink another shot and get pissed hard.


This is Chajang, loved by all Koreans for generations for $10.


This one come with half Chajang and the other half,  Champong, a spicy seafood noodle soup for $14.

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The pissed bunny, now guarding the pram while we are eating, looks pretty sober though.


Waiting for the Mana bus, this damn bus supposed to be here at 7 pm, turned up 10 past eight. The ticket says the bus depart at stop number 7020 but it was 7026 around corner about 50m down from 7020 opposite the britomart train station.


The stairs in the bus.


Well this was our trip to Auckland and hope you enjoyed it. My style is always the same. No sightseeing or paying big money on admission to kelly talton or similar, just walking and eating and drinking. Thanks.



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