Auckland Travel Blog› entry 58 of 206 › view all entries
Another lazy day here, it's just so good to relax, be getting 10 hours sleep a night, not having to get up and run around, eating well, snacking lots, watching normal telly; mostly films and my favourite, David Attenborough. It doesn't help that the weather here is pretty overcast. It's not cold, but just very grey-white and 100% cloud cover. There are moments of sunshine, but as the boys point out, here is definitely a place to get '4 seasons in 1 day'. Hence us not being incredibly motivated, and besides, Auckland isn't exactly well known for it's sight-seeing....
After a hearty breakfast of scrambled egg on toast, toasted ham'n'cheese sandwich and chocolate spread on toast, we headed out to Sylvia Park mall for some shopping, buttered chicken and to see the largest cinema screen in the world. Andy may not be the best tour guide, but I consider this an adequate offering in view of my relaxed state of mind and lack of anything else to see. Unfortunately it was only showing some rubbish, so we headed over to Mission beach where we had a little walk along the sand.
Mission beach is probably the ugliest of the beaches I have seen in the past 2 months, but it has the prettiest shells. I spent ages collecting these beautiful things in the hope of either making jewellery with them or making some kind of memento shell mirror.
On the way back Andy explained some of the unusual Kiwi motoring habits and laws. For a start, the average speed limit in built up areas is 50kph, about 27mph. The fastest on motorways is 100kph or 60mph. Boys are as obsessed as they are in England with souping up their cars, but since they can't actually go very fast it seems a bit futile. Speed cameras don't have warning signs and are inconspicuous white boxes. However, kids here can apply for a provisional license from the age of 15yrs, and get a series of secondary licenses until they can apply for their full license at 18yrs.
The main motorway M1 that travels all the way from the north of the north island to the south of the south island becomes a one lane road in the middle, barely the size of a B road back home, and this is the main road in New Zealand.
When traffic stop at traffic lights, if a car is turning left and a car is turning right across it from the oncoming side, then the car turning across the traffic has right of way. Drivers indicate 'right' and then 'left' on a roundabout when they are planning to travel straight across the roundabout. Plus drivers will often drive in a 3rd lane of hatchings for some time before they turn, which is disconcerting for opposite travelling cars.
Looking at a map of Auckland, geographically the northern part of the North Island is tied to the southern part of the North Island by such a tiny piece of land I almost thought New Zealand was 3 seperate islands. It surprises me that there is no documentation that I have been told about to suggest that the two land masses are actually moving away from each other and will split eventually. Geographically speaking however, Auckland is actually the 2nd largest city by area in the world, despite the entire country of NZ having only 4 million people, less than live in London. It is not the capital of New Zealand, despite the fact that all the major business occurs here. In fact the prime minister commutes from Wellington every day to Auckland, even though Wellington is the capital. I like to think it's by helicopter; what a cool way to get to and from work every day! But it might be a plane. Still cool if not environmentally friendly.
Speaking of environment and recycling, they also have a week here called Organic Week when the council pledges to take away any old stuff you leave outside your house. So for one week it's like a city-wide massive, free, garage sale, where you can go and poke through all your neighbours' old stuff and the council drive cars and cars of stuff away from every street.