New Zealand
Auckland

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  • Day72

    Tongariro crossing. 20km of epic walking

    December 10, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Up at 4.45am. Scrubbed the teeth and shovelled some coco pops down. Took our packs to the side of the main road for our bus which was due to arrive at 5.20am. The forecast was for wall to wall blue sky, and it was exactly that. A perfect day for doing the 20km Tongariro crossing. We started the trail at 7am.
    The hike is relatively easy with a few steep parts thrown in. Passed Mount Doom from the lord of the rings on the way up. Then onwards to a big plateau, a red crater, emerald lakes and a blue lake.
    The decent down after the red crater was fairly tricky with slippy little pumice rocks underfoot which were nice and round, perfect for rolling your feet on.
    The last 2 hours were down a gentle slope leading into a forest. Back by 2pm.
    Made it down and got straight onto the first bus which was there. This dropped us back at the campervan and then we headed straight to Napier on the east coast. Napier is a wine making area, so I wonder what the activity for the next few days will be.
    Easy drive, picked up some steak, mushrooms and creamed corn for dinner. This was way more hassle than it was worth in such a confined cooking space, made more difficult by the fact that we ran out of water whilst Hannah was having a shower. Making washing up a bit tricky.
    Legs feeling tired we were ready for bed by 9. A good walking day.
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  • Day50

    Day 48 ~ 17,300 Miles

    February 23 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 70 °F

    Day 48 ~17,300 Miles
    It has been a jam packed two days in Auckland and I enjoyed every moment. I’m sitting in my cabin tonight watching this part on New Zealand float away and know that I will miss this place.

    After arriving yesterday we set out on an aimless stroll through the Central District which is directly across the street of our Auckland home, Princes Wharf. There is a great deal of construction in many areas of the city due to hosting the sailing world in defense of the America’s Cup in 2021 and the wafer-front area is by far the biggest recipient of the improvements. Auckland is a vibrant, beautiful, walkable, and energetic place.

    Last night we were guests to a World Cruise Event celebrating the Lord of the Rings series held at the War Memorial Museum. It was also an opportunity to say a temporary goodbye to our Captain. Captain Aivo has been wonderful and I look forward to his return from his vacation when he takes the helm again in Barcelona to guide us home.

    Today we spent a lovely day touring the North Shore and Devonport. The North Shore is high tech companies, modern condos, restaurants with amazing outdoor seating options, and marinas including one for the mega yachts.

    Devonport is on the opposite side of the bay and equally opposite in almost everything else. It’s a typical charming seaside village complete with all of the coffeeshops, restaurants, and local shops one could want. It’s also a much slower pace and is family and dog friendly. We used the ferry to transport us back to the wharf area.

    Just as Auckland is fading on the horizon I too am fading fast and am ready to call it a night. I hope I dream of beautiful Auckland but before the sunlight fades away I want to share the sculpture shown in the video. It is so graceful as it moves in the ocean breeze and I am in total agreement with the Artists statement:
    “...showing people things they’ve never seen before and the more extraordinary things we see the richer we become”. -Phil Price 2004
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  • Day23

    Halcyon Hobbiton

    February 12 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    We arrived at our penultimate (meaning ‘beyond the ultimate’ according to the real Jean) port of Tauranga very early this morning. Another beautiful sunny day - the weather has been warmer in the North Island of New Zealand. Once ashore we decided to go on a tour to Hobbiton, where the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies were filmed. (Again this trip was half the cost of the ship’s version).

    Again we had a lovely, friendly and knowledgeable local guide - Garry - who stopped off at a couple of interesting spots: a local viewpoint; a Manuka Honey shop (with free honey flavoured ice cream), and a kiwi orchard 🥝.

    It was great to visit Hobbiton and see the familiar Hobbit holes. Everything was well organised and we had our own young guide, Caleb, on our 2 hour tour, who amused us with anecdotes from the movies, and pointed out where key scenes were filmed. We had one LOTR nerd in our group who kept interrupting and correcting the guide: ‘You see I was actually in the movies’ he explained. It turned out he was one of several hundred Orc extras. I took great pleasure in telling him that I was friends with Billy Boyd who played Pippin, one of the main Hobbits. As Jean would say, ‘ten up ye!’. The nerd’s Goth daughter and boyfriend subsequently took the opportunity to get engaged outside Sam Gamgee’s cottage, much to everyone’s delight. Our tour ended up at the Green Dragon pub where we were refreshed with complimentary Hobbit sized ‘pints’ of cider. Ah, just the job! 🍺

    Hobbiton is a great place to visit and highly recommended if you are in the area.
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  • Day70

    Day 70/72: Goodbye Van

    January 5, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    We woke up in our van for the last time, and got the last of the things put away. Mended the velcro window blinds, and tried to give away a variety of things from crackers to an umbrella! It didn't take long, and soon we were on our last drive. We were mega early so stopped off for some great brunch in a quirky cafe (pulled pork eggs benedict, and a full English style thing with slow poached eggs (45 mins at 65°C apparently?!).

    We then drove to the Britz drop off, and said a sad farewell to the campvan, with vows that we were going to get one in the future. We'd done 6838km in total, and enjoyed every single one of them.

    The flight was still 3 hours away, and the airport transfer didn't take long, so we had a while to wait at the airport for the flight to Auckland. It was all very painless, and our bags went through okay, stuffed to the brim as they were! We got to Auckland and went back to the hostel we were at before. It was so strange being back there again, being in bunk beds and having people crashing around. We sat in the gloriously sunny park for a while, wondering what on earth we were going to do with over 24 hours in a city that we'd exhausted at the start of the trip! We went out for some lovely That's Amore pizza for dinner and went for an evening run in the park. It had all gone so quickly, we couldn't believe we were back already, but felt like ages since anything had happened. Time flies when you're having fun, and oh boy we had the time of out lives.
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  • Day33

    Day 33/72: A day in Auckland

    November 29, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    After the events of the night before, we managed to get into the hostel and sleep at about 0400! Blimey we were tired, and ended up crashing until about midday! We decided to head out for some lunch, which was more of a breakfast anyway, lots of eggs and bacon.

    After breakfast, we headed to one of the cities parks to sit and plan some of what we were going to do in NZ. This was a great idea as the park was lovely and felt/smelled very British. We sat in the sun and moved quickly to the shade as it was a very hot day. We planned our 10 or so days in the North Island, before planning where we were going to stay over Christmas and NY. Everywhere around Queenstown was booked, and after ringing around, we got some advice. The site receptionist said "right, I can hear you're not from here so let me tell you how the Christmas thing works. Through the year we limit our site to 100 guests. Over Christmas and NY, ie the NZ summer holidays, we have over 5000 Kiwi's decend on our site alone, and spend it there with their friends and families. If I can give you any advice, get out of the most popular areas, you'll be swamped by people if you try and stay in these places, and tbh most of them will be booked up months in advance" (she was right). "If I were you, book somewhere quiet with fantastic scenery inbetween the coast and the city, so you can still move around, but enjoy Christmas at the same time!" Strong words, but we took heed and hopefully it'll pay off!

    Feeling much better after having some structure to the next couple of weeks, we headed down the main street looking in shops and generally taking in the city. We wandered down to the harbour and had a look at what day trips Auckland had to offer. We were enticed by the whale watching safari, something we were both really keen to do, so booked that for the following day (writing this in retrospect, it was sadly cancelled due to weather conditions, but not to worry, we have something planned for later in the trip!). We then headed back to the hostel, a strange place where the reception and pool/table tennis area is occupied by loads of people, not just hostel guests. We had a few games of pool, then trash talk turned to bowling so we went up the road and had a game. Interestingly enough in NZ, the barriers can only be raised for under 12's no matter how hard you protest, which put Izzi at a great disadvantage.

    After the bowling, we headed for dinner and came across a very small pizza place, tucked away in a corner. They served brilliant pizzas though, and we enjoyed an extra cheesy margarita and a carbonara pizza, they were lovely. We then headed back to the hostel and played another couple of games of pool to finish off the day.
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  • Day79

    Rainy day

    December 17, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 21 °C

    The forecast was for big rain, so the plan was Gold Mine, followed by Cheese Factory.
    Gold mine was run by an old engineer. Told us all about how the Cornish used to mine in the area for bullion-gold and silver. Very cool process and proper industrial engineering from the 1940s. This included a walk around an old mine shaft. I think I would be too tall to be a miner.
    Off to the cheese factory. This turned out to be more of a cheese shop, with only a tiny factory behind that you could not go into. So had some cheese with more cheese for lunch. Brielliant.
    After 30mins on trip advisor, we conclude that there was nothing to do in the local area, so headed to auckland to go round their art gallery. Not much to my taste apart from some very realistic Maori portraits from 100 years ago. A lot of the other stuff looked like a drunk child could have done it.
    Booked into a campsite close by, the proceeded to sit in Auckland traffic for 30 mins. Rush hour is rubbish!
    Made it to the place and got ourselves prepped for Waiheke island tomorrow.
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  • Day3

    A sleepy wander in Auckland

    December 23, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    We managed a very sleepy walk in Auckland, had a little dinner, we’re now back at the hotel and just planning our day tomorrow. We‘ll be up nice and early to go to Paihia 🚗 now off to sleep!

    Wir haben uns gerade kurz (ziemlich übermüdet) Auckland angeschaut. Nun sind wir jedoch schon wieder zurück im Hotel und planen den morgigen Tag. Unser Ziel ist es morgen recht früh aufzustehen und in Richtung Paihia zu fahren 🚙 nun wird aber geschlafen!Read more

  • Day81

    Waiheke Island - day 2 wine and beach

    December 19, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Up and out to walk to get ourselves some breakfast. Found a coffee shop called Found and had a pastry and a coffee. I got my hair trimmed whilst Hannah had a second coffee.
    Just about ready for some more wine tasting we took a hop on hop off bus towards the north coast beach called Onetangi. Glorious beach with a few restaurants overlooking the water.
    25 min walk along the beach took us to the first vineyard called Capita miro - 5 for $15. 6.5/10. Bean bags outside on the grass. Very Mediterranean vibe.
    A 5 min stroll through the vines brought us to Obsidian - 4 for $15. 5/10
    Tastings done we went back for lunch at the highly recommended Three Seven One restaurant. Had a fab lunch including deep fried cabbage and a few glasses of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Then proceeded to soak up some rays for a few hours on the beach.
    Got one of the last hop on hop off buses to the ferry. Windy trip back to Auckland.
    Back on dry land we did a small bit of Christmas shopping. Didn't find anything fun. Then off to the Sky tower. Hannah wasnt mega keen as had been up before, but we got a nice views and sunset when we got up to the top.
    Got to the bottom and just missed our bus. So had to wait around for 30 mins. Made it back to the van and finished off the last bits of food we had.
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  • Day37

    Day 37/72: Hot Water Beach/Cathedral Cov

    December 3, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

    The rain was on its way out as we got up and breakfasted this morning. An exciting day was ahead! The plan was to go to Hot Water Beach in the morning, head over to Cathedral Cove, and then drive to Raglan for a day of surfing the next day.

    Hot Water Beach was brilliant, and we're so glad we went all this way to see it. We arrived and parked up, rented a little spade and headed for the beach. At low tide, there in an area on this beach, which must be a couple of hundred metres long, where hot springs bubble up through the sand. This only happens in an area of about 40x20m and some areas are much hotter than others. You'd step on one bit of sand, cool under your feet, and then the next stride you'd jump in shock as you scalded the bottom of your foot! We found an area not currently occupied and dug our waterhole, mixing an area of very hot water and cold water. It created a nice bath like temperature and we settled down, watching the sea and taking photos, laughing with everyone else at how bizzare this experience was and trying not to rest our heels in the boiling part of our hole. As the tide came up, the water got cooler and we abandoned our morning bath. As we handed back the spade, the cafe owner said that today was a great day for it, as there was only 30 people or so in the area. On some days, if the tide falls at a popular time, the beach is known to have thousands of visitors in one tide, all crowding around this small area of sand. Very pleased, we went on our way to Cathedral Cove.

    Cathedral Cove is a beach with a huge rock archway leading to another beach, all in a cove. Its very impressive and we got the impression that you could only really get there by boat or kayak. As the water was choppy, neither were running but we found out you could do a few hour round walk and get there along the coast. We prepped with suncream and a couple of cheese toasties, and walked along the cliffs, admiring the scenery and jumping at goats that stuck their heads out of the bushes on the sides of the track. The cove was impressive, with huge waves crashing on the sand and against the rocks that stood resolutely in the middle of the bay. We walked along the sand, taking photos, walking through the archway and being blasted by wind and salt off the sea. It looked like a beach you might see someone stranded on, on a large desert island. The walk back was just as enjoyable and by mid afternoon we were back and ready to drive to Raglan.

    The drive was easy and apart from a landslide that blocked the road we were on, high above a raging river, very safe. The driving was just as good as the day before and we saw the best rainbows of our lives, so clear! We arrived at Raglan and booked to have a surf session the next day. We again were situated right next to the sea so went for a walk along the black sand beach past people fishing and a woman playing the diggerydoo as the sun fell over the land. We made tortellini for dinner, and as it started to drizzle (learning more and more not to predict NZ weather) we got ready for bed with Buble's Christmas album playing through the van.
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  • Day63

    Auckland, New Zealand

    December 1, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    Landed about 10.30am, declared our muddy shoes to the customs man, who then waved us quickly through. Took a free transfer to get our lucky camper. Home for the next 3 weeks. Self contained with shower, toilet and only 500,000 km on the clock.
    Picked ourselves up some bedding and costed up getting camping kit from a local shop called warehouse. We decided that hiring would be cheaper as and when needed.
    Scoffed a dirty burger and went to a very overdue laundry spot. I think the pants must have made their full way around the back to front, inside out, back to front inside out cycle. T shirts were becoming as my dad describes them 'full'.
    The air con was not working in our not so lucky camper so went back to the rental place to negotiate some money off. Money saved will pay for a few NZ wine tasting tours I'm sure. 🍾🍷
    Knackered, we went to the nearest campsite for showers and route planning. Since Hannah has been to New Zealand before she fell asleep, so I have now planned the whole route for the next 3 weeks. Whoop. Tomorrows first activity, camera shopping 😁.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Auckland, أوكلاند, Окланд, Ώκλαντ, اوکلند, אוקלנד, Օկլենդ, オークランド, 오클랜드, Achelandia, Oklendas, Tāmaki-makau-rau, Град Окленд, Окленд, ئاۋكلاند, 奧克蘭市

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