NZ Week 1: The Auckland Experience
3 flights… 24+ hours of travel time… and 3 countries later…..
We finally make it to New Zealand, landing in Auckland City, located toward the top of the North Island. Let me tell you, arriving at 5am at the Haka Lodge Hostel only to be kicked out of a room at 10am, was rather exhausting. We literally rented a room for 5 hours, just to get some sleep. However, we somehow managed to rally the next morning. Mostly due to the assistance of New Zealand’s epically good coffee, and the fact that we couldn’t check into our next room until 3pm… New Zealand is known for its coffee, and I can attest, that shit is good! I honestly think that there are more coffee shops than humans in New Zealand.
My personal fave is a long black! For those who do not know, it is a double espresso!
Our first couple of days in Auckland primarily consisted of wandering the city and running errands. We did meet some fellow backpackers via our hostel kitchen. We expected to meet a lot of Aussies, due to the vicinity of Australia, but were surprised as there were no Aussies, and a considerable amount of lovely Germans instead!
Birth – Daze in Waiheke…
After a couple of days of exploring Auckland, and somewhat running errands, Audrey and I decided that for my birthday, we needed to do something fun! Something truly fitting to my personal interests and hobbies.
Therefore, my birthday was spent on Waiheke Island, a.k.a. an island of vineyards. Those who know me, realize that wine is one of my favorite things, and an island full of them seemed a perfect way to turn a quarter of a century…. wow I feel old… awkward…
There is no other way to describe Waiheke, but to say it is GORGEOUS!
Audrey and I took a short ferry to this lovely island, and purchased a hop on hop off bus tour to take us around the island!
The only thing was, the first bus didn’t leave for 45 minutes.. and well let me tell you, that is some prime vineyarding time that would be missed. Therefore, after consulting with the locals, we decided to take a “shortcut” through the bush to the first on our list.
It was muddy.. and Audrey might have fallen a smidge… but the views were spectacular. After emerging on the road, realizing we were lost (sorta), we found a road to our first vineyard of the day!
Once arriving at Cable Bay, we casually washed Aud’s clothes and shoes in the bathroom sink and went about enjoying some much-deserved wine!
Also, Waiheke marks the first sheep spotting, which was more exciting for us than it probably should have been. However, they were cute and bleating.. and so fluffy, I’m gonna die!!!
Our 2nd vineyard was interesting as well! We went there mainly in search of food. Once settled with food and wine, the manager struck a conversation, that ended up landing us a job if we so wanted. So that happened. Basically, it was a perfect birthday, and I couldn’t have asked for a better place or person to spend it with!
The number one goal of a New Zealand backpacker is finding the van that they will call home! Therefore, without further ado, I am here to introduce Glen…
Glen found its previous home with a lovely Israeli man and his wife, who purchased him for their niece. Well, turns out, the niece didn’t make it to New Zealand… Her loss, our gain!
We met Glen’s prior owner, Miki, at the Sky Tower, a famous New Zealand landmark, where we viewed Glen in the parking garage. After falling in love, we mentioned to Miki, how we needed to go to an ATM to grab the cash. Well, Miki had one better. The Sky Tower hotel had a casino that allows the guests, presumably, to take out however much money they might need, assuming they were to gamble with it.
Us, on the other hand, used it to buy a 2001 van, from a relative stranger, in their parking garage. It was actually rather funny, two 20s-year-old girls walked into a casino with the 50s+ year old man and drew thousands of dollars out. Then walked out… Not sketchy at all… Actually, it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke…
Nonetheless, Miki was great, and even bought us some maps for our new home on wheels!
Auckland Week 1 Highlights:
NOTE: Audrey and I did not do all that could be done in Auckland as we were more focused on getting our lives together. Therefore, another trip to do more of the surrounding area is in order.
- Obviously… Waiheke Island
- Domain Wintergardens
- Sky Tower
- Britomart: I got free stuff including a banana and non-paper toilet paper.. not to mention free wifi… That awkward moment when you post up for a solid hour and a half to use the free wifi… #travelerprobs
- Vintage shops on K road
Tis the end for now, and more adventuring to come!