Another beautiful walk, another beautiful day. Vick and I headed onto the bright lights and big city. Having been in the wilderness for what seems like a very long time, a buzzing city was quite a welcome sight! Auckland is a great city, enough that Vick would happily live there (and me too after Queenstown!). Known as the City of Sails, Auckland is nestled over lots of bits and pieces of ground just before the pointy bit at the top of NZ (great geographical explanation I know). It also has a surprisingly large number of people with over a quarter of the whole of NZ's population. Over 1.37 million kiwis are within the city itself, so there are probably a lot more in all the suburbs that tend to sprawl out.
Vick and I parked up in a car park that didn't seem to have extortionate prices for an hour or two. In fact, just as I was about to pull the handbreak some random bloke started tapping at my window. Now in England this would lead you to pushing the locks down and calling your local Bobby. But nope, Kiwi's are incredibly friendly, and turns out he had a valid ticket till 8.30pm and didn't need it, so he wondered if we would like it instead. Happy days!
Once again Vick and I found ourselves a coffee shop where I had the first greens I had had since goodness knows when. Despite having an apple a day, a severe lack of actual nutricious food meant I was wagging my tail at the sight of a piece of rocket. On the same topic, the last time I had had any form of animal (not including milk) was donkeys years ago. I think I have even dreamed of meat, and being a self confessed carnivore the lack of a juicy steak had started to take its toll. So a bowl piled high with chicken and leaves made me a very happy bunny indeed. Hence the title of this blog - another lord of the rings themed one when the orcs shout out such line in the preparation to eat some hobbits. Yum. Not the hobbits, the chicken.
Wondering down Queen Street - the equivalent of Oxford Street in London - was bustling with people, cars, buses, taxis. I have never been so happy to be in such a busy place. Even so, saying that, in London you'll find most people running about from A to B on the daily rat race. Auckland on the other hand just seemed so much more relaxed despite being the most populated city in NZ. So whilst I can usually cope about 5 minutes down Oxford Street before I want to hide in a hole and wait for people to stop barging into me (it's hard being titch you know), Auckland was a welcome place.
After our gander Vick and I headed to our campsite for the night, a motor home not too far from the centre itself, so that we could pop back in the next morning without having to trek too far. The friendliness of kiwis has been the favourite part of this trip. Porridge has started to look rather boring, and I think Vick and my faces showed it, because the bloke in the kitchen went back to his camper and got us his last tin of raisons for us to mix in. Just such. nice. people.
Vick and I had looked forward to the 3rd October for pretty much the whole trip. Vikki's mum's friend's friend Jane (got there in the end) lives in Auckland and had invited us over for dinner, as well as afternoon tea, laudrey washing, showers, and an offer for us to camp in the Parkers driveway. The generosity of the Parkers really was the cherry on the top of our month in NZ. I felt like royalty as I pulled up to a house flying the British flag in the driveway! And the freshly baked scones and lemon roulade brought us back to our English roots (I may have aquired a kiwi accent which was inevitable, sorry guys). Even the homemade jam was delicious! Jane and her family are all such lovely people, and our surrogate mummy did all our washing and hung it up to dry too! Meat was of course my option in one of the yummiest takeaway curries I've ever had, followed by more lemon roulade AND chocolates.
Stuffed and very happy, Vick and I had a positively late night compared to our usual 8.30pm bed time. The next day Vick and I were woken with a cuppa tea brought to the campervan! The story gets even better when Jane, bless her heart, cooked us a full english. Set for the day Vick and I headed to Auckland Harbour, a fancy area of town with all the very glam yachts and motor boats. We even arrived in town in time for the homecoming of the kiwi sailing team who had brought the whole of NZ together during the Americas Cup (which they lost). But that wouldn't dampen peoples spirits and we even joined in waving the 'you won our hearts' cards. That evening we headed out and enjoyed an incredible platter of fresh fresh fresh fish and a cracking burger. And we had our first sip of wine since we set foot in one of the most famous wine producing countries in the world. A local bottle of sauvinon blanc washed it all down blissfully.
Full to the high heavens Vick and I waddled back to the train station to catch a ride back 'home'. I was still full by 5.30am the next morning. It felt like anyone does after Christmas lunch. Lying down was even troublesome. Didn't stop me waking up and having breaky though. Not a full breakfast this time (I don't know where I would have fit it)! Oh, and then we even had elevensies because Jane had bought us freshly made pastries, chelsea buns and doughnuts. Yes, ok, ok, I am a fat pie. But seriously, after a month of an apple for lunch and soup/pasta/porridge for dinner I was loving life.
Vick and I left in time to head down for a small bite to eat (yup more food) after dropping off our beloved Hugo. That little camper has taken us a very very very long way. Vick isn't here at the moment (I will have to do the proof reading myself) but she has written down just how far we travelled. I know it's well over 4000km that's for sure.
And before we knew it, Vick and I had checked in at the airport, and were whizzing down the runway in an A380 for our four hour trip onto our next destination.
Bye Bye New Zealand. Hello Australia.