So the Hilton is right on Queens Wharf and through the lobby you can see the other gigantic cruise ships parked along the wharfs.
The boarding entrance for one of the ships is just meters away from the Hilton Lobby. If you have mobility issues and your ship docks there you are in phenomenal luck. But the Hilton is very expensive, and if your boat is on the other wharf well at least you’ll be on relatively flat ground.
Other hotels further out, you will have to make your way through construction and hills. Back to the Hilton, you might miss the lobby since the entrance is towards the back and the hotel is built to look like a cruise ship. With smaller windows on the lower floor and balconies above. But your taxi driver knows.
So the wharf restaurants seemed to be on this dreary day not particularly energetic, almost as if having the good location created restaurants that are average but charge a lot because of their location.
At the Aquaduct side, where you can go whale watching and dinner sailings, there seemed to be more interesting restaurants with more potential.
Although Auckland is growing quickly in terms of housing, the commercial areas are not all populated. I saw several empty storefronts and restaurants. I don’t know what other major city has car parks that have a maximum of NZ $10 for the day, in optimum CBD location. In addition Auckland still has an older working class industrial feel.