Auckland! Auckland! Auckland!

Auckland is a very unique city! Before arriving here I had hear it was quite comparable to Vancouver, so this is what I was expecting. I guess in some ways it is. there are lots of people, all over the place. There is a beautiful waterfront, right on the ocean. Some of the buildings are really quite gorgeous and the weather can change in a matter of moments! 

One thing that I always notice about a new city is what people wear. There really is no standard here. You'll see tow girls walking together, one dressed to the nines, decked out in sky-high heels and jewels all over her, and her friend will be wearing a messy sundress and converse sneakers. It's a bit random, but it definitely makes me feel better about my backpacker wardrobe!  

The buildings are unique! Really really old character buildings in among brand new all glass towers. There are palm trees all over the place and it is very humid. Their trees are massive!! Not really tall like in Vancovuer, but very very wide and big. It's quite neat to see. The drivers are very entertaining, just honking and honking for what appears to be no reason at all. 

Our hostel, ACB Base Backpackers, was right off of Queen Street, the main strip of downtown. (Thanks for the heads up about Queen Street Sue!) It was nice to just wander up and down the street, looking at all the shops and people. My favourite part of downtown is at a busy intersection. The traffic lights stop cars in all directions and a big mass of people walk in every direction in the middle of the road. It's beautiful chaos. You have to be careful though, this only happens at a few intersections.. and seeing as they drive on the other side of the road, we're still adjusting to which way to look first before jetting out into the street. 

Realizing that we aren't really downtown people, we did some fun day-trip excursions, exploring the outskirts of downtown Auckland. We went trekking to One Tree Hill - a historical monument on top of a hill, Mount Eden - an old volcanic cone, and wandered along the fancy Parnell Village. Everything here is just so BIG!! The green spaces are massive amounts of rolling green hills, all very lush still for it being the end of their summer. 
We saw our first sheep up on One Tree Hill. This was a very exciting moment for the two of us! We baaa'd and raaam'd and ewe'd ... just like on Babe, but the sheep weren't big fans of that. We learned that we haven't quite honed our sheep-speaking abilities yet - all the sheep just got up and walked away from us. Give it time, they will come! We'll make friends.. just you wait!! 

New Zealand, at least Auckland, is definitely more expensive than Victoria. Just a plain, drip-coffee, size small is usually $4! So a latte is a truly delicious and wonderful splurge! Is it wrong that I care more about a delicious cup of coffee than a healthy meal? :s hmm.. priorities.  
Internet is usually $3 for an hour, unless you find one of the few coffee shops that offer you one hour wifi in exchange for buying something. Currently I am happily seated in an Esquires coffee shop, looking at a teeny tiny adorable birdy happily bouncing around the coffee shop beside me.
It is rainy here today, but still very warm!

More on Auckland and Our Next Adventure

I have come to my own conclusion that there is no rhyme or reason as to why New Zealanders do what they do. Prices for things change randomly throughout the day. why? Just because. They never have a reason. They build brand new beautiful buildings right beside old, run-down shacks that look like they'll barely last one more winter. why? Just because. We asked four different bus drivers the same question and got four different answers as to how to get to the same place. And I think they were all wrong.. haha.. Luke just got us there with his own sense of direction. Oh.. turns out, Luke is a great day-trip planner and has a wonderful sense of direction!! I am very very verrrrrry thankful he possesses these skills!! For anyone that knows me well enough knows that , well, I get lost in my own head, let alone trying to find my way around a new city!! 

Today Luke and I begin our "around the middle of the North Island" adventure for at least 5 weeks we'll be trekking around and stopping in a bunch of neat little cities. We'll be busing on this adventure!

Raglan - a little surf town with a cool vibe
Rotorua - a unique town with lots to see and do
Waitomo - to do some underground cave adventuring
Taupo - because we heard that it's cool
Tauranga - to try our hand at working on a farm!
Wellington - because we heard its a lot like our little Victoria

Auckland, New Zealand - Here We Are!

We did it! We made it here to Auckland, New Zealand! We finally made it to our travel day, the day of 18.5 hours of being in transit, sitting on planes, making transfers, passing time... we made it! The travel really wasn't too bad at all, and lucky for me I chose my perfect travel buddy! We laughed and laughed - especially at our ridiculous attempts to get in comfortable sleeping positions on our 13.5 hour overnight plane ride. Our first day has been a good one! Very sunny and warm and beautiful. We wandered around a good majority of downtown Auckland - lucky for me Luke is a bit better with directions and remembering where he has been before. Then we booked into our hostel, had a "short" 3-hour nap and we were at it again. Wandering around the downtown core, enjoying all the people watching. :) Fun Fun Fun! 

Here are a few of my New Zealand first impression observations:
The seagulls are TINY! Like the size of pigeons! Either we have mutant seagulls in Victoria - or New Zealanders don't leave much garbage for them to feed on! 
  • There seems to be no New Zealand fashion - it is purely wear whatever you like! 
  • Internet is very hard to come by and costs for every time you use it! Even at Starbucks!
  • There are lots of hostels to chose from, but we think we made the right decision!
  • Our first hostel meal - rice, carrots & beans! cheap cheap
  • We already think we brought too much stuff! Fail
Luke and I both love sunshine! And Auckland! And being fun-employed! 
Excited for our 18.5 hour travels to New Zealand! Wasting time @ YVR
Where are you New Zealand?
First beer in NZ at a slanted bar 
Thinking of you Tingy
Getting Exciiiited
Sky Tower in Auckland
There's New Zealand!

More About Our Final Day In Canada Below