Our first couple of days in New Zealand…
Stepping foot off of the plane from Buenos Aires honestly felt like our adventure had started all over again. Everything is going to be so different here, and we’re convinced that it’ll be different in a good way. Time to get out there and find out!
Day 113 – Tuesday 13th September 2016
We landed at Auckland Airport at just gone 04:00, spent around half an hour passing through security and immigration, and then took an Uber to our new home for the next couple of nights. Instead of a going for a hostel or a shared apartment on Airbnb again we decided to completely change things up and stay in a caravan at the end of somebodies garden:
It’s nice, has a double bed, a table with two chairs, and a basic kitchen. We got in at around 06:00 and went straight back to sleep until 09:00 when our alarms went off. Our plan was to treat the day normally in an attempt to combat jet lag, and it got off to a very good start. We woke up, made breakfast and got ready, then headed out in the direction of Britomart Station. To get there we had to take a train, which felt very surreal – mainly because it was so much like home, but also because it felt really safe, in complete contrast to South American public transport.
Upon arrival we walked the length of Queens Street and then headed towards Auckland Harbour where we planned on eating lunch. We strolled along the water as far as Silo Park where we chilled out for a while and took in the view of Auckland Harbour Bridge on what I’d consider to be an almost perfect day:
We had food after that, at an Indian restaurant called Urban Turban, which happened to have both curry and cocktails on a lunchtime special. Abbie and I both had a chicken tikka masala, with a jug of something strong and alcoholic that I can’t remember the name of to share. The food was absolutely amazing, and that’s not just because it was my first curry in over three months either:
What made it even better was the fact that we had roughly $140 to spend that we’d been given before leaving home, so everything was essentially free as well. Thanks guys!
After that we walked slowly back towards Queens Street, which is when my day was really made. On the way, not only did we found a Denny’s and a Wendy’s (which I was convinced only existed in North America), but we had an amazing view of the skyline too:
A quick stop at Albert Park on the way to catch a train back brought our afternoon to a close. We really wanted to carry on exploring, but needed to pick up food for dinner on our way back to the caravan, so only stayed in the park for a little while:
We ended up buying food that would see us through the next day or two so that we didn’t have to go back to the shop again and again, and managed to get by without touching any more than the $140 of free money that we had on us. Back at our caravan we cooked dinner, and then listened to the BBC Radio One Breakfast Show (being eleven hours ahead of home) as we got ready for bed. The jet lag that I expected was pretty non-existent too which came as a surprise.
In all honesty I don’t think today could have been any better. I know we only arrived this morning, but Auckland is already up there at with Kelowna, Austin and New Orleans at the top of my list of favourite cities.
Day 114 – Tuesday 14th September 2016
I must have cursed myself last night by thinking that jet lag wasn’t going to be a thing, because I woke up at 05:40 this morning and struggled to get back to sleep again. Although it was a bit annoying, it did mean that both of us were up and ready to go out again fairly early, and with the whole day ahead of we decided to take a trip to the Auckland Zoo. I love animals but rarely visit the zoo back home because I think that they’re all a bit the same. That definitely wasn’t going to be the case here though! We are on the other side of the world after all, so there were bound to be at least a few animals that I’d never seen before.
It would’ve taken under thirty minutes to get there in a taxi but we decided to take the train because we had time on our side and saved $20 or so. We arrived by midday and even blagged our way in as international students to save another $10, which I can’t believe it’s taken us over three months to think of doing.
The zoo was massive, and of course we took countless photographs which I wont bore you with, but I do have a few favourites that I’ll share instead. Almost as soon as we entered the zoo we found ourselves in an area that was appropriately called Pridelands, where the giraffes and white rhinoceros were being friends and having a chat over the fence:
We also spotted a few sprinkboks too, the first or many animals that we’ve never seen before, but they were too far away to get a decent picture.
Not long after that we followed that path into a park where we were completely astonished to find staff walking cheetahs on leads:
It was very surreal, and although we weren’t allowed to pet them, they were definitely within touching distance. It turns out that in contrast to popular belief cheetahs in the wild are instictively cautious of other predators, and if they feel threatened they’ll actually run instead of attacking. Here’s me thinking that they might try to eat us, when in reality they’d just bottle it.
Instead of buying lunch at the zoo we had leftover chicken from yesterdays dinner (see, we’re not greedy all of the time), and sat to eat on a bench by the bandstand in the sun on, under blue skies without a cloud in sight:
After lunch we wandered around for a little longer, found more animals that we’ve never seen before like the Tasmanian Devil, Capybara, and of course the Kiwi, then decided to make a move. Neither of us realised that kiwis are nocturnal, which meant that their enclosure was almost pitch black, with flash photography forbidden. It’s a shame because I really wanted to walk away with a picture of one but that was obviously not possible. The skies turned grey on our way back to the caravan but luckily the rain held off until we stepped foot inside, and then started to absolutely pour down. We made our own dinner, listened to the radio again, and started to get ourselves organised in advance of leaving tomorrow. The rain continued until we fell asleep at around midnight, but turned out to be quite relaxing, as strange as that may sound. Let’s hope it stops soon though, because if it continues we might just find ourselves in a real spot of bother tomorrow!