Postcards are a way to glimpse the world. In Postcards As I Wander, I highlight tidbits from my travels around the world and across the street. I've always gathered postcards—my mother and I exchanged postcards. I gather them for my grandkids. Now I want to share them with you. Come along as I share Postcards As I Wander Auckland.

Introducing Auckland

Auckland, New Zealand is a 14-hour flight from the Pacific Coast of the US. I fell in love with the North Island and hope to return. My 2011 visit was one of the few real vacations I've take in years. I sent postcard home to my two grandsons.

9/1/11—John: Grandpa & I just arrived in Auckland. The Rugby World Cup Finals start next week. So many rugby fans! Oh and they drive on the other side of the road here. It's funny to watch Grandpa driving!

My husband and I flew on Air New Zealand and landed in the early morning. We rented a car—that we eventually braved driving all over the North Island—and headed for central Auckland.

Postcards As I Wander Auckland

My husband driving his tiny little New Zealand rental on the left side. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

Staying in Auckland

I recommend staying at the Skycity Grand Hotel in the heart of Auckland. We had arranged for an early arrival before leaving home, so we had a room right away after the long international flight.

The staff made this stay amazing, as did all the people in New Zealand. Skycity Grand is in the heart of everything—adjacent to the Sky Tower—and the rooms have since undergone a refurbishment. It was ideal for walking and exploring Auckland before we headed out to drive the North Island.

Postcards As I Wander Auckland

Skycity Grand Hotel premium luxury king room. Photo courtesy Skycity Auckland

The Sky Tower—My Postcard from Auckland

I always find it interesting, looking back, which postcards I chose from a destination. In Auckland, both postcards for my grandsons were of the Sky Tower, which dominates the Auckland skyline.

When you visit Auckland, you must head up inside the Sky Tower. It stands 328 meters (1076 feet or about 99 stories) tall and was built about 20 years ago. Standing at the base, I was a little dizzy and a tad hesitant, but up we went.

Postcards As I Wander Auckland

Looking up at Sky Tower from the based. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

The glass-front elevators take about 40 seconds to ascend those 90-some floors—at a speed of 11 miles per hour—and the view was spectacular. As we grabbed a glass of bubbly, we watched people sky jumping and walking (even with a harness it was insane in my book) along the outside 4-foot-wide platform. It made me a little woozy just watching. I was happy to be sitting inside sipping Champagne thank you very much.

9/1/11—Nathan: Grandpa and I flew for 14 hours to get to Auckland. See this big tower? It's the Sky Tower. We went all the way up to the top!

The views over Auckland were amazing. My favorites were looking out over the harbor, which we explored up close the next day. In the distance is Rangitoto, the largest volcano in Auckland. Fortunately, it hasn't been active in more than 600 years.

Postcards As I Wander Auckland

View of the Auckland Harbor from Sky Tower. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

Choosing Postcards As I Wander gives me a chance to relive my travels. This moment, sitting atop the world with my husband, Champagne in hand, made me realize how very lucky I am to experience so many beautiful places in this one tiny globe we call home.

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