Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Kia Ora! Welcome to Auckland!

A short trip across the Tasman Sea, or the “ditch” as they refer to it here, and here we are.  I had no idea what to expect when arriving here. As we flew in I saw the coast and beaches and then some trees and suddenly it was the city and we were landing. I had done next to no research on New Zealand before coming here, relying entirely on what Julie knew from her last trip here. So I didn’t even know where Auckland was situated, which would’ve explained why we saw beaches and then landed. Auckland’s located on a narrow isthmus of land between the Manukau Harbour and the Waitemata Harbour, or the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.  Realistically, if you flew in to almost any Kiwi city you’d land soon after seeing the beaches since the country’s just not that big. 

We were booked into a downtown hostel (Nomad’s Fusion Backpackers) and were treated to another uber-tiny room with a bunk bed. We’d also learn quite quickly that we were right above a couple of bars, so at night you either roasted in the sealed room, or slept with earplugs depending if you had the window open or shut.  Julie wanted out of there pretty quickly so she got right on task for finding us a place to live.  New Zealand’s answer to eBay – www.trademe.co.nz – provided most of our leads while scanning the bulletin boards at the surrounding hostels also gave a couple of clues.  In order to visit these places we did get to see a variety of neighbourhoods, learned that Auckland’s public transport system is annoying to use as Winnipeg’s and had to smile while backing out of a couple of places.

IMG_0014 It’s New Year’s Eve tonight.  We didn’t plan ahead and therefore missed going to the big party out in Gisborne. The Rhythm & Vines Festival is where you go if you want to be the very first in the world to ring in the new year.  Beyond that we couldn’t really find much to do and did feel quite isolated since we didn’t know anyone.

* “Kia Ora” = Maori greeting, literally “be well”

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