A New Zealand Story
Auckland Travel Blog› entry 9 of 35 › view all entries
So we last left off with Dad dropping us at our hostel in Auckland. After a little look around the local area and a good nights sleep, the following day we went to explore Auckland city centre where we found the harbour (and some awesome massive boats) and the Skytower which is a building that epitomises Auckland's skyline (and its the tallest building in the southern hemisphere!).
The next day we went in the opposite direction to explore Mt Eden village, and found ourselves at the top of Mt Eden itself (which is one of many, many super awesome volcanoes in Auckland!), photographing the great views and counting what volcanoes we could actually see from the top! I think we got to number 9!!!! (But theres many more!) Once back at the hostel we joined in a birthday bbq celebration for one of the hostel's Mexican residents (Erik, a stereotypical latino, smooth talking ladies man!) and during his party (which was mexican themed aswell! awesome! guacamole senorita!!) we got chatting more to Trev and Amie, a nice couple we met who had some good advice on some of the other countries we're visiting :D and suggested going with them tomorrow to Rangitoto (an even bigger volcano, on it's own little island).
So the next morning we made our way with trev, amie and sean (another English resident) to Rangitoto which was a bus ride into town and a ferry ride to the island (our timing was slightly off and we only just made the last ferry! Hannah!). Then we started our ascent to the summit (the start was awesome, like walking on solidified lava), but halfway up we decided to take a slightly longer road, off the beaten track (ray mears would be proud of us!) where the scenery was totally different! There was no real evidence of volcanic rock, and lots of greenery. One of the strange facts of the island was that all of the flora was growing in unusual places, for example mangroves growing out of volcanic rock! Eventually we reached the summit (which was a massive crater! 60 metres deep!) and walked the crater rim (finding little WWII bunkers all the way around! which were awesome). On our descent, we took a path via the LAVA CAVES (enough said!), where 600 years ago (the last time Rangitoto erupted) lava flowed and left caverns, tracks and the tunnels that we got to walk through. Then we carried on to the bottom where we were in plenty of time for the last ferry back to Auckland :D We thought after all of our walking we deserved a little treat in the form of a Pizza Hut feast for tea!! (well sitting down to watch Doc Hollywood, MJ Fox you legend!)
We went into town the following day to sort out our Vietnam visa (and found out that the procedure we thought was completely wrong! no thanks to flight centre!!) which was a bit of a headache and even more of a wallet ache!!
The next few days weren't very eventful, but we met a crazy Aussie girl who had recently been in Brum for a few months! And Jim got attacked by the mossies again, but this time his feet swole up (i was like the elephant man :( ) to about twice their size!!
Once Jim's feet had recovered (well, nearly!) we went to Auckland Museum which was humongous!! With 3 floors, each dedicated to something different. Ground - Pacific People, 1st - Natural History, and 2nd - Military History (we spent about half an hour on the first 2 cabinets in the first room on the ground floor, took one look at the map and realised we needed to be a tad briefer!). It was a good day and there were some great exhibits including dinosaur bones (yes!), a room dedicated to volcanoes (legendary!) with a livingroom that simulated a volcanoes eruption! and a real stuffed elephant (that badboy had sad eyes)!! On the way back to the hostel we went via the Wintergardens which had a nice botanical collection and we strolled down 'lovers walk'!!
To continue the horticultural theme, we next visited Eden Garden, or as we called it 'The Garden of Eden' which was very pretty (had a nice cafe). We had a devonshire scone in the cafe (despite the fact we're over 18,000km away from devon!) then walked around the gardens, taking a little detour off the path, where Jim noticed a secret cave (a bear cave thankyou very much!)! But we didn't stick around there too long, not because of the bears, but the mosquitoes (silent flying menace!)!! Next Jim spotted a spider (due to his trained spider watch eyes!) on a leaf, and on inspection we noticed it was amber coloured with a black head and front legs, which it menacingly raised when we got closer to try and scare us off!!! (Matt it used a bonafied 'spider leg' move on us!!) Anyway, with all our attention taken by spiders and caves we failed to notice the time and on approaching the exit, realised we'd been locked in (Hannah assured me it closed at 5'o'clock despite me announcing that the gate was locked, low and behold all the leaflets said 4.30)!! Oooops! So we had to hop the pointy fence, making sure we didn't impale ourselves!
Our final big feat of walking in Auckland was to do the Coast to Coast walk (well, coast to motorway as it turned out :( you can't win them all :) ) spanning from the pacific ocean side of Auckland to the Tasman sea side. The walk began in the town centre, and went via Mt Eden and One Tree Hill (another volcano and the best part of the walk) and it took us about 4 1/2 hours and was 16km (we may have been faster if the map had been any good!). It was interesting to see all of Auckland but unfortunately on the Tasman sea side of the walk all you could reach was the lagoon (pond!) as a motorway had been slapped right up against the real coast!
Before leaving Auckland our one 'must do' was to go up the sky tower, so we did! The 360o views from up there are awesome and we even got to see some people drop off the side (they were doing the skyjump, not falling off! Not to say that we weren't a bit jealous with our new found adrenaline addictions ;) but the budget couldn't handle it!). During our time in the tower we made many attempts to take photos, but the realisation dawned upon us that Jim's camera was ready to retire, and whilst sipping our tea and coffee in the skytower cafe (which had verner panton chairs. Sorry, furniture graduate thing!) decided to blow the budget and buy a new camera!!!! (So from now on expect higher quality visuals of our trip.... HD might I add!)
We collected the Vietnam visas and got our China ones done too, so after a week without our passports and therefore no alcohol, we shall be enjoying a bottle of wine or two tonight :D Then its off to Nam tomorrow night (back to the jungle!)!!
See you later folks, lots of love xx