One thing I've learned so far about travelling, is that a ridiculous amount can happen in a very short space of time. I honestly cannot believe how much has happened since I left the UK a little under 2 weeks ago. I've now spent just about a week in Auckland, it feels like yesterday that I only touched down in NZ. I've been staying with Karl (my cousin) and Alice (cousins wife) who have very kindly been looking after me and giving me a bed to sleep during my time here.
My welcome to New Zealand was pretty incredible to say the least. On sunday evening last week, whilst Alice decided to have her nails done Karl and I took the opportunity to head down to his scout hut and pinch a boat to go off and enjoy the last of the weekends lovely weather. However after arriving at the scout hut and failing to find some sails for the boat (a major flaw in our plans) we decided to take a couple of canoes out which proved to be the much better decision due to the lack of wind and the complete stillness of the lake.
We headed underneath a bridge of the lake which wound us up in little river. The mouth of the river lead towards the Auckland harbour. For about 45 mintues we padled down the river and out into the harbour. Where we saw the sunset over the Auckland city skyline from the comfort of our canoes (pictures to follow) before heading back into the lake towards the scout hut.
During the week, with Karl and Alice working hard at their jobs this left me to my own deivces during the day to go and explore Auckland. My first day to myself I spent cruising throught the main parts of downtown Auckland. I headed up the main shopping street (Queen St) and then underneath the Sky Tower the most noticable feature of the Auckland skyline and then across into Viaduct Harbour via the Fish Market, to have a peek and the yachts owned by what seems to be people with far to much money to spare. The two most noticable vessles in the harbour had to be the Americas Cup racing boats. The fastest sailing boats in the world. Pretty cool to look at if you ask me.
The following days I spent wandering around the Domains of Auckland. Domains are pretty much parks, though in New Zealand they can sometimes house a volcano within them which, as I found out, twice, are very worth the walk up for the views. On the morning of Wednesday 15th May with advice from my cousin as a sight to go and see, I decided to get the ferry across to Rangitoto Island, however I missed the last ferry of the day by 15 minutes so headed back the appartment to plan what to do instead. After a quick change of plans I decided to head to the otherside of town to walk up Mt Eden and thus decided to get the ferry across to Rangitoto the following morning.
Rangitoto Island involves a 25 minute ferry from downtown Auckland and with no shops at all on the island, a backpack full of water, lunch and snacks to keep me going.
Having missed the path I was supposed to take due to looking the complete opposite way in amazement at the views over the water back to Auckland I ended up on a much longer route to the summit of the mountain whilst being very confused that I wasn't going up any gradient 45 minutes into my walk.
All I can say about Rangitoto is the views from the top are ridiculous. I was very luckily in the fact that the weather was very kind and the clouds cleared to allow for the incredible views from the summit. I then walked around the crater rim and headed back down to catch the last ferry of the day back to the city.
In the evening with Karl on a work trip down in Wellington, Alice and I headed out to and English bar for some dinner where bottles of Heineken were $3 (about £1.70) and pizzas $5 (£2.70) pretty good eh?
Over the weekend just gone, with Karl and Alice looking to escape the city for a few days they treated me to a road trip up to the Bay Of Islands. When we arrived, feeling a bit peckish we headed to a chippy for some true Kiwi style 'Fush n Chups' before Karl and I booked ourselves onto a jet boat ride out to 'The Hole in the Rock' at Piercy Island finishing in Russell. Russell is a quiet little town with a population of just over 1000. Where we stayed the night in a nice motel over looking the bay. We then headed back to Auckland in the afternoon after a cafe brunch and a wander around Russell and a look at a couple of beaches and a nice viewpoint overlooking part of the bay out towards islands.
Thats about it for now. Looking forward to Charlie arriving in Auckland on Tuesday and hearing all about his escapades in South America and continuing our trip through NZ together.