HELLO!! Greetings from New Zealand. Sorry it's taken us so long to update but we have been staying at a house where there's no internet connection. So here's the next installment of our trip!
We arrived in Auckland at midday on tuesday after another days travelling, and just crashed out at Doreen and David's, which is in Howick about a half hour outside Auckland city centre. You can see the city and the Sky Tower from there house which is pretty impressive. On tuesday evening they took us on a drive around Howick and into Auckland via the Beach Road, so we could get our bearings and see the scenery-which was stunning!!
After an early night we got up bright and early and caught the bus into Auckland, it only took about half an hour, which wasn't bad. While in Auckland we headed up to Sky City and Sky Tower, which is the main tourist attraction in the city. The tower is really tall-the tallest building in the southern Hemisphere. Sky City is just the entertainment part attached to the tower-we had lunch here before heading up the tower. The main viewing platform is 180 metres up and the views again were amazing-check out the photos. While we were there someone did a sky jump off the platform above us. Which looked slightly scary but also quite cool. Sam and Lau then went up to the next viewing section, 220 metres up, Fi was too chicken!!!
We then wandered down Queens Street where the main shops are so naturally we had to have a look (well we were good in Singapore + think of the exchange rate!!). After spending a bit of money we headed to the harbour front which wasn't what we expected. Although it was nice and all the restaurants there looked good, there wasn't much else there. So after picking up a Subway-Sam's first-can you believe it?!?!, we caught the bus back to Howick and amazingly got off at the right place!!
On Thursday we headed off very early with Doreen and David who told us that we had to visit the Waitomo Caves, which are about 3 hours from their house. We had a guided tour into the bottom of the caves, where we saw stalagmites and stalagtites. Our guide, Blake, was really enthusiastic about the caves, and we were really enthusiastic about him!!! At the bottom of the cave you get onto a boat which takes you along the river out into the bush, but before you leave the cave you look up at the ceiling to see 15,000 glow worms above you. It was a stunning site and something that was well worth seeing, although we couldn't take any pictures, as we didn't want to cause a mass blackout in the cave!!
As we headed back we stopped off at The Kiwi House. Here we were lucky enough to see two types of Kiwi birds. They were literally seperated from us by a single pane of glass, again we were not able to take pictures as it would scare them. Ahh Bless!!! We then stopped off at Hamilton Gardens which is a big free park area, our favourite part of that was the different gardens that they had for each country, as you can see from the pictures they were all very different, there was a Japanese, Chinese, English, American art deco, Indian and an Italian garden.
Friday was a bit of a lie in before going to the Waitakeres, which is a National Park on the outskirts of Auckland, which provided great views of the two seas on either side of New Zealand. We stopped at the visitors centre which had some interesting Mauri carvings before having a picnic and going on a bush walk, around the cascades. The bush walk was about an hour long and it was through proper deep bush. There was some fantastic wildlife and plants. We saw a number of Kauri trees which are huge, they can be up to 6 metres wide, and are used for the Mauri boats.
In the evening we played Scrabble with Doreen, as usual Fi won both games, whilst Lau and Sam got stuck with the crappy letters, J, K, Q and Z.
Saturday was our final day in Auckland, we left early and spent some time posting some stuff home - souvenirs from Singapore, before picking up our hire car. We had booked a small car, (toyota yaris) and we got a huge Nissan thing which was also an automatic!! Ahh!! Needless to say our jaws dropped to the floor! We will let you know how we got on with Norris the monster!!!!!
Thanks for all the messages, they've really kept us amused and we feel like you are all with us on our trip. Glad you're all enjoying hearing our stories, will update again soon.
Lots of Love xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx