The combination of a 14 hour flight and sitting beside two babies could have been disastrous. Luckily, both Miranda and I were able to watch a few movies and fall asleep for most of the flight. In the end it didn’t seem as long as it was.
Arriving in Auckland around 6:30am, customs and immigration was a breeze (despite the fact that in her half-sleep, Miranda had checked “yes” to all of the customs questions that she should have checked “no” to).
Since we arrived at the hostel so early, we weren’t able to get settled in right away. So we stowed our bags, and decided that a hike to the highest mountain (ie hill) in Auckland. Up Mnt. Eden we went! I had my eyes peeled for the infamous cows and sheep of Mnt Eden, but I think they’re an urban myth because I didn’t even see the remnants of a cow patty.
The view from the top was beautiful! Mnt Eden and most of the other mountains in Auckland are volcanoes, so at the top there was a huge crater that’s all grassy now – a pretty cool site. I climbed down to the bottom and managed not to fall… too many times.
Later that afternoon, we headed downtown to check out Queen St and the Sky Tower. The Sky Tower is the tallest building in the Southern hemisphere, and an adrenaline junkie hot spot – we saw at least three people jump off the top! Again, the view was spectacular, and a great way to check out the whole city.
Obviously, it’s winter down here… little did we know that we arrived in the “cold snap” that happens for about a week every winter. GAH! SO COLD! The kind of cold where you wake up in the morning and everything is damp like you’ve been camping. At least it’s sunny during the day and warms up a lot!
The next day we headed to Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World – you know how I love aquariums! They had a “Sting Ray Bay,” which was really cool! The Sting Rays were at least 1m across, and I think the biggest one was 2m…. EEEPP! They also had a Penguin excursion… which was kinda cheesy but still cool to see my first real penguins. We all gathered into a Snow Cat that was set on tracks through the “Arctic Fields”. As we rounded the last corner and left the penguins behind, everything became dark, and then a spot light shone on “the king of predators in the arctic seas” …. A big fake killer whale with a seal in it’s mouth popped it’s head out of the water and growled! LOL! So funny… so wrong!
On the way back to the bus stop we wandered up a few more hills, and decided that rolling down would be far more efficient way to get back to the road...video will be uploaded soon.
One of the people in our dorm was leaving for South America, so they left us their SIM card, which was really nice! So, I’m looking for a cheap second hand phone at the moment, and I’ll be hooked up soon.
My conclusion on day 2: there are no sheep or cows in Auckland.
Miranda’s back was feeling better at this point, so we figured that we could head north out of Auckland to…. Northland! Yay! On our last day in Auckland we went to the museum, which was huge. I guess it’s been a while since I went to the museum in Victoria, so I forgot how easy it is to get lost in there for hours. Maori culture, natural history, volcanoes, and more!
After playing in the leaves – i ❤ autumn – we wandered through the Auckland Domain, which is a big park. It was beautiful, and reminded me a lot of the Whinnie the Pooh books because of all the big Oak-esk trees.
I was pretty happy to leave Auckland, but I think it would have been a lot cooler if we had a local to show us around – so that’s on the list for later!
For now – Adios Auckland!