Don't worry this blog is going to be much shorter than the previous monster!
We safely arrived in Auckland after driving 5,202kms around New Zealand and said farewell to 'Old Smokey'.We caught the bus into town and checked into the hostel for our last four days in the country.Our first task was to find a barbers and get my lovely long locks cut as it had been around 80 days since its last cut and I was starting to resemble 'Cousin It' from the Adam Family.Us being the cheap skates we are, we found a barbers that was offering free haircuts, the only catch was it was trainees doing the cutting.After some persuasion from Helen I finally agreed and must admit I sat in the chair wondering what was going to go wrong.Much to my delight though, the guy did a great job and I walked away not having to wear the cap I'd taken along just incase!The rest of the day was very lazy with us writing the last blog and doing our food shop to tide us over while where here in Auckland.
The following day we went our separate ways for the morning.Helen wanted to stroll around every shop in the city and for those of you have been shopping with her will understand why I declined to go along with her! Instead I set out walking around all the second-hand bookshops trying to find a USA lonely planet so we could start planning what we are going to do in the States as we arrive in 3 days and had nothing set out.I managed to succeed, as did Helen (she always has to buy something) and we met back up for lunch.We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging around the hostel but ventured back out after dinner to go to the Auckland Sky Tower.This is this the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere at 328m and it only takes 40 seconds in the lift to get up to the Observation Deck.To make things more interesting they have installed glass windows in the floor of the lifts so you can see how high your going.At the observation deck we had great views of the city, harbor and over to the volcanic islands that helps make up Auckland.They also had sections of glass flooring so you could see down which Helen didn't like at all.She managed to make it over one but was shaking by the time she got to the other side.I wasn't too bothered as it had to be safe, and there was a sign saying that the glass was the same thickness as the concrete flooring we're standing on, that was until I saw that the whole floor was only 3.8cms thick - is that safe!?!?!?After we'd done the circuit we then went up a further 9 floors to the Sky Deck which was much quieter.This was because you had to pay extra and people obviously didn't want to (it was only $3!).The view was much nicer as the glass walls didn't have any frames so it was an unobstructed view.Once we'd finished we caught the lift back down and watched a short film on how Auckland was created by 38 local volcanoes and then populated by Europeans taking over the Maoris land.It was then back to the hostel for tea, chocolate and a film.
The plan on Thursday was to catch the ferry over to Devonport for the day but we woke up to rain and it didn't stop for most of the day!Instead we stayed in and planned what we're going to do in Los Angeles and San Francisco.The rain finally stopped early evening so we set out for our romantic valentines day meal - fish & chips by the harbour with a beer!The problem was that we couldn't find a chippy - would you believe it!!!!Instead we went to a pub and had a really nice meal, although the portions where absolutely ginormous!
Friday started badly for us!We went down for our morning cup of tea and crumpets only to find some cheeky -beep- had stolen our food bag out of the fridge!!!It had our milk, butter, a few beers and our dinner for that night!After finding some free milk and butter we had our breakfast but we were annoyed that somebody would do it!Determined to not let it ruin our day we set out to Devonport as the weather much better.The ferry only took 10 minutes or so we set off to explore the city suburb.The place was just like a Cornish town with lots of little cafes and small knick-knack shops but no Cornish Teas!There are two extinct volcanoes on the island so we decided to climb to the top of Mt Victoria - the tallest of the two.It was only 90 or so meters so it didn't take long but from here there were great views back over to the city and to the other volcanic islands nearby.After looking around the old military stores they cut out of the top of the volcano we walked back down to the town.Realising there wasn't really anything else to do we headed back to the hostel for some lunch and caught up on our washing ready for our flight tomorrow.Most of our stuff managed to somehow get an 'egg' aroma from while we were in Rotoura so we were keen to start the final leg of our trip with clean clothes. The problem is despite using double the about of washing powder we still have eggy clothes - nice!
Today is our last day so after checking out of the hostel we walked over to the Auckland Museum to watch a Maori song and dance performance by 'Manaia'. It gave us a background to Maori culture, singing, dancing and Maori weaponry. The only problem was that we had to have the 'guy with the big head' in front of us so all the photos have his lovely head in! The best part of the show however was the performance of the 'Haka' which we'll add to the videos section.
We catch the bus to the airport in a couple of hours and fly to Los Angeles so we've reached the end of our NZ experience. We've both enjoyed it and think NZ is a beautiful country, especially the South Island.
Hope everyone is well and we'll next up date you from the 'United States of America'
Gavin and Helen