Cracking shot!!! on Queen Street in Auckland
I woke up smelling like a big kebab, possible because I fell asleep eating one and some bits of it were stuck to the sheets. Steinlarger doesn’t agree with me I thought, and I made a mental note to stick with the weaker Export Gold next time. I swiftly replaced my sheets with clean ones from another bed and left the hostel to explore the biggest city in New Zealand.
Auckland is quite cool. The CBD is small enough that you can walk it, and the iconic Sky tower can be seen everywhere you are, giving you a sense of direction. I walked the main street, Queen street, and besides the usual city suites and clearly-tourists, I was staggered to notice how many Asians were about, many more than I had seen in any other Australian city.
I remembered someone telling me that a lot of foreigners will immigrate to New Zealand first, because it’s easier, and then move to Australia.
Auckland Sky Tower
It was a beautiful clear day, so I took the opportunity to go up the Sky Tower for a bird’s eye view of the city. It’s pretty high from up there; apparently the tower is taller than Sydney’s, Vienna and the Eiffel tower, by a mere 4 metres. For those who seek a rush of adrenaline, for $120 you can be strapped by the waist and dropped 192 metres from the top of the tower, guided by two ropes. I watched a few jump and decided to give it a miss for the day… any day! Mind you, you don’t free fall, and most who have done it will tell you that it is not half as scary as it looks.
For the less extremist, you can still be strapped by the waist but simply walk on a see-through platform in fresh air around the tower. Or you can test your nerves at no extra cost walking over a glass panel inside the viewing deck.
From the Sky Tower I walked down Hobson Street to the harbour. There are several wharfs on the Waitemata Harbour and I was feeling particularly energetic after drinking two redbulls to help the hangover, so I walked… and walked… and walked just like the Duracell bunny, until I reached the seafood market, where I porked out on a lovely plate of fresh fish and chips (it was worth it!). If you carry on at the bottom of Jellicoe Street, you get a nice view of Westhaven Marina, with lots of expensive yachts on display.
I walked back to the CBD and spent half an hour chilling out in Albert Park, green, quiet and peaceful. There were loads of students pissing around mind you, pretending to be studying, which is no surprise as the university is just behind the park.
I spent the rest of the day checking out the other hostels, mainly looking for a cheap week deal as the YHA charges per day and I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t lock up my laptop. I was also looking at message boards in hope to find a decent motorbike for my journey south.