Lost Girl of the Week: Carmi Louw

Adventure Travel, City Travel, Food & Wine, Lost Girl of the Week, New Zealand, Shopping & Style, Tours & Attractions — By on May 17, 2007 at 10:50 pm

Several months before we were scheduled to touch down in New Zealand, the girls and I received an email from Carmi Louw, a 24-year old Auckland gal who tuned into our website upon a friend’s recommendation and discovered that she was indeed a fellow Lost Girl. Dry witted and hilarious, Carmi’s wry emails about her hometown provided some great insight into NZ’ s largest and most cosmopolitan city and gave us a head start on our travel planning.

Hardly content to let her newfound American pals wander unguided through Auckland’s “dodgy” city streets, Carmi insisted on picking us up at our hostel (the venerable Auckland Central Backpackers) the afternoon after we arrived to give us the grand tour.

Holly, who anticipates visits to foreign grocery stores the way that religious disciples look forward to their pilgrimage to Mecca or the Wailing Wall, requested that we stop first at the New World supermarket to check out all the unusual and exotic foods consumed by New Zealanders. After a quick spin through the aisles, (“Look! Low-fat granola bars! Splenda!), we purchased a few essential rations and struck off to find entertainment in Greater Auckland.

We made it to most of the spots on Carmi’s hit list rocking out to the mix-CD that our host had create for us-a disc fully loaded with music from top local artists. Here’s the breakdown of Carmi’s recommendations and her killer Kiwi playlist. For those who’ve never heard of Brook Fraser, we suggest you hop onto iTunes for an immediate download—we know you’ll love her as much as we did!

Carmi’s Auckland Recommendations

• The Auckland Museum: “This has just been renovated and looks super flash! It’s got quite a bit about the Maori culture and I would suggest the traditional Maori dance performance (if they still have it) it brought a tear to my eye….but that could just have been hormones. The museum is in the Auckland Domain (like a big park) which is quite nice to have a stroll in, and also visit the Winter Gardens (a big greenhouse).”
• Queen Street: Lots of clothing stores and site of a weekend market where you purchase clothes and accessories right from the designers who made them.
• Viaduct Harbor: A sun-drenched outdoor spot overlooking the water, filled with cool cafes and al fresco lunch spots.
• The Sky Tower: “Yes. It’s a tower. Its gives you a good view of the city, the harbour and the bridge. You can walk on the glass floor or dine at the revolving restaurant….and even do the Sky Jump which is like abseiling down the tower. Haven’t done it…but should be fun.”
• MMMMMMMMMMMMMission Bay! “I say it that way because it is probably my fave place in Auckland. A very trendy beach lined with restaurants and cafes…with many foreigners…Mission Bay is the place to go, and 10 minutes drive from the CBD (the centre of town).
• Take the ferry! “Where? Well, there’s Devonport, a trendy suburb on the North Shore where they have wine and jazz festivals, or Rangitoto if you feel like climbing a volcano, or Waiheke Island if you feel like relaxing in the sun with the rest of the ‘alternative’ locals.”
• Newmarket: It’s not too far away from central Auckland (you can take a cheap bus that does the rounds from NM to city) and it’s got some great shops.

Carmi’s Kiwi Downloads

1) Welcome Home – Dave Dobbyn (the “immigrant song” I thought it was appropriate)
2) The Otherside – Breaks Co-Op
3) Maybe Tomorrow – Goldenhorse
4) Weather with you – Crowded House (added in because I completely forgot about it but it is essential!)
5) Roady – Fat Freddy’s Drop
6) Sometimes Enough – Black Seeds
7) Slice of Heaven – Dave Dobbyn with Herbs
8) April Sun in Cuba – Dragon
9) Victoria – Dance Exponents (another classic I couldn’t leave out)
10) Six months in a leaky boat – Split Enz
11) Listening for the Weather – Bic Runga
12) Loyal – Dave Dobbyn
13) Albertine – Brooke Fraser
14) Beside You – Dave Dobbyn
15) Home Again – Shihad

We love you Carmi….thanks for everything!!!

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  • Carina says:

    Awwww thanks girls! It was awesome to be able to meet up with you and I had a great time doing it!

    Hope you will carry your travels with you wherever you go…and in the dust on your feet 😉

  • Abigail says:

    Sweet! Carmi’s famous. 😉

    And Lost Girls, I really hope you had a “Tim Tam Suck” while you were in NZ…otherwise your experience was lacking. Everytime I have a NZer cross the ocean to visit me a I have them fill their bags with Tim Tams and Toffee Pops..mmmmmm

  • Dellie says:

    I want to buy clothes and accessories from designers on the street, walk on a glass floor, relax in the sun with the alternative locals and definitely visit foreign grocery stores. As long as I can speak English…Sounds like fun !

  • Eugenia says:

    I can’t believe Carmi left off Hayley Westenra- one of New Zealand’s top artists- off the CD she gave to you! She is an absolutely beautiful singer. I’ve been reading your blog and thoroughly enjoying it. I can’t wait to read to see how you enjoyed New Zealand’s great outdoors.