Piha Beach With Oh Yeah! Tours – WFLNZ

Tours… They usually suck. Hop on/hop off bus tours suck. Tours with meals included suck. Tours run by cruise ship companies suck. You end up paying a highly inflated price for something locals usually do for very little money (or no money at all). I was hesitant to book any tours in New Zealand, but I was also hesitant to drive on the other side of the road. Enter Oh Yeah! Tours.

Kare Kare waterfall
Kare Kare waterfall

I had seen pictures of Piha Beach during my pre trip planning and I had to go there. The only problem was public transportation couldn’t get me there, a taxi would’ve been $$$$$$, and the whole driving on the left thing. I found Oh Yeah! Tours through a quick Google search. $55 NZD for a half day tour from Auckland’s Central Business District (CBD) to Piha and back with stops at Kare Kare waterfall, the north side of Piha Beach, optional drop off at the Kite Kite track to Kite Kite waterfall, then a few hours to explore Piha Beach on your own.

Kite Kite waterfall. A 30 minute hike on the Hillary Trail through a gorgeous forest. Totally worth the sweat.
Kite Kite waterfall. A 30 minute hike on the Hillary Trail through a gorgeous forest. Totally worth the sweat.

The day of my tour was rainy and windy. A couple of hours before my pickup time I received a text from Oh Yeah that advised me the weather in Piha was even worse than the weather in Auckland. They asked if I wanted to delay my tour until the next day which I did. WFLBC travel tip, unlock your smartphone and get a local SIM card when you travel. It makes life a lot easier abroad.

The black sands of Piha Beach
The black sands of Piha Beach

The next day Oh Yeah! picked me up on time in a spot that worked for me. They’ll pick you up at your hotel anywhere in the CBD. The bus was full that day so I was picked up by a guy in a Prius and there was no one else with us. A private tour? Nice! My guide was from Chile but had lived in New Zealand for 10 years. He was friendly, easy to talk to, very knowledgeable, a fantastic tour guide.

Taitomo Island from Tasman Lookout.
Taitomo Island from Tasman Lookout.

After seeing both waterfalls, checking out Tasman Lookout, Lion Rock, taking a ton of photos, dipping my toes in the Tasman Sea, and grabbing Lunch at Adey’s Place it was time to head back. My guide arrived on time in the place we had agreed upon. On the drive out we had chatted about beer and when I hopped in the car there was a cold Tui IPA waiting for me. Best tour ever? I know that my experience isn’t typical and most people won’t get the kind of personalised service I did. That being said Oh Yeah! went out of their way to make sure I was looked after following a weather cancellation. I can’t say enough good things about the service.

Crashing waves with Lion Rock in the distance
Crashing waves with Lion Rock in the distance

Oy Yeah! offers tours to some must see locations on the North Island as well as tours in Bali if you’re headed that way. I highly recommend Oy Yeah! Tours, so much so that I wrote my very first Tripadvisor review about them. Piha is a must see location and Oh Yeah! Tours is a great way to see it.

You can do Piha surfing tours too
You can do Piha surfing tours too

Twitter – @ohyeahtours

Instagram – ohyeahtours

Facebook – Oh Yeah Tours New Zealand

Web – ohyeahtours.co.nz

Scott.

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Where I Ate In Auckland – Part Three – WFLNZ

The third an final instalment of “Where I Ate In Auckland” will be as hipster as beard glitter. Actually it won’t but that beard glitter stuff is making me consider shaving. I’ve already told you about Dogmatic and Federal Delicatessen which might as well be wearing a denim vest with patches sewn on. Let’s find some more hipster hot spots.

Brothers Juke Joint BBQ

I didn’t expect to find real southern BBQ in New Zealand. Juke Joint is located in Auckland’s Mount Eden neighbourhood a few blocks from the actual Mount Eden. It’s also super close to the train station making it easy to get to from most places around the city. The pulled pork sandwich and tater tots could’ve been right out of South Carolina. The mustard based sauce was fantastic and the pork was on par with anything I’ve had back home. I also tried their other meats, brisket, chicken, ribs, mutton, all solid. The mutton was incredible. Add the fact that Juke Joint is attached to Brother’s Brewery and I’m surprised I ever left.

Pulled Pork Sandwich
Pulled Pork Sandwich

Best Ugly Bagels

Located in the City Works Depot in Auckland, Best Ugly Bagels is another spot operated by Al Brown (of Federal Delicatessen and Depot Eatery). Montreal style bagels and damn good coffee, that’s what Best Ugly does. I had the Yodi, pastrami, habanero mustard, grilled swiss, and a pickle. bagel perfection.

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The Yodi.
The Yodi.

Depot Eatery and Oyster Bar

Depot Eatery is known for oysters and wine so of course I went there for breakfast. A simple breakfast sandwich with eggs and bacon on a grilled bun and another outstanding cup of coffee.

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Mexico Food and Liquor

With 7 locations around Auckland and beyond I was expecting a chain restaurant feel at Mexico Food and Liquor. It didn’t turn out that way though. The Takapuna location, in North Shore City across Waitemata Harbour from downtown Auckland, felt like an independant Tex Mex place. It’s a tapas style spot with smaller share plates. I shared with myself. I had Mexican Fried Chicken, with Central American/Tex Mex spices in the seasoned batter. It was boneless but it was still good (fried chicken should have bones though…).

Mmmmmm chicken.
Mmmmmm chicken.

The Black Bean and Smokey Bacon dip came with plantain chips. I wish more places here did that, tortilla chips are boring. There was also some cumin, orange, and queso to and some flair. A solid recommendation from the staff.

Black Bean Dip
Black Bean Dip

Last was the daily taco special. A fish taco! Chimichuri stewed fish (Hoki I think?), muscles, bacon, lettuce, mayo, and pickled green tomatoes. A very nice fish taco, good enough for me to order another.

feesh!
feesh!

Auckland’s food scene has something for everyone, even hipsters. Just don’t order sushi, anywhere, ever. It’s absolutely terrible.

Scott.