Auckland, Auckland, Auckland. Despite your concrete buildings and industrial harbor, I quite like you. has this bizarrely relaxed atmosphere that makes you feel completely at home. After spending the previous two days flying, this was exactly what I needed.
My hostel was distinctly average. Staying at the ‘Attic Backpackers’, just off of Queen Street, the location was fantastic; the people however, were not. The staff were great but the other backpackers were rather rude and kept themselves to themselves. So I did too. I spent my first dull day in Auckland exploring an inactive volcano called Rangitoto. The walk to the summit was pretty tough going, with steep hills and rocky segments, but it only took about an hour up and slightly less on the way down. I stopped for lunch by the water before getting the last ferry back to downtown Auckland and grabbing some Fish and Chips at a little restaurant in the harbor for dinner.
My second day was slightly less successful. The ONLY thing I had planned before leaving for NZ was a whale and dolphin safari: and it was cancelled.
Luckily by this point I had made a friend (a lively and enigmatic Scot named Stephen) who kept me laughing every other minute as we then decided to spend our day playing mini golf, before getting lost in a sensory maze (we were crawling along the floor in the dark holding hands – that’s one way to break the ice with a stranger) and exploring the Auckland War Museum. Whilst not quite as intriguing as some whales, Stephen the Scot certainly kept me entertained for the day. The pair of us then spent the evening trawling the streets for a decent, and cheap, sushi restaurant – a great day all in all, so hopefully we will bump into one another again.
My final day in Auckland was probably my favourite. I took the train from Britomart to Panmure where I was met by my cousin. I’d been invited over by my cousin and his family for the weekend for a BBQ and to watch the Rugby (anything to get out of the hostel!), and so after showing me around their home we had a relaxing evening filled with food and good company. After a week of stilted conversation and a stifling hot dormitory, it was amazing to be looked after in a family environment. A night in my own room, with my own space, was complete luxury.
The following morning they took me swimming and for lunch, before dropping me at the bus station in central Auckland – ready for the next phase of my New Zealand adventure…