Auckland

The flight from Melbourne to Auckland was 3.5 hours plus 2 hours time difference, so I landed around 3 pm.

I got my baggage back in no time and asked at the airport information for a shuttle bus to the city. I was directed outside the terminal to the Airbus Express. Buying the ticket my german visa card didn’t work so I had to use my australian debit mastercard. 16 NZD (New Zealand Dollar) later I was on the way into the city.

20-30 Minutes later the bus driver announced my stop. Across the street was my hostel: Nomads Auckland.

Checking in and trying to pay the hostel, my german visa card failed again. The girl at reception said that german cards are shit and have to be typed in manually. And she was right, it worked. Signed, done! Up into my 4 bed dorm on the 5. floor. Gladly there’s an elevator 😉

I dropped my bags and left straight away to buy a kiwi (nickname for new zealandish) sim card. Paying with a german maestro card turned out to be impossible, but – surprise! – my german visa card worked straight away! I went back into my room to activate the card. Turns out I have to wait for an hour for it to become usable. So I left again, trying to find free wifi i.e. internet.

Well, that turned out to be a hopeless case. For the unencrypted wifi networks you find you need to pay. So I decided to use the wifi at McDonald’s. Bad luck – it was broken. You couldn’t access the page to acknowledge their terms of use, so you couldn’t access the internet either. At least I know that McD is also unhappy with my visa card. To speed things up I used my australian card. That account is quite low though, so I try to use it only for small payments.

Frustrated I went back to the hostel and checked the GlobalGossip wifi. I was positively surprised to find a 3 days flatrate for 20 NZD. Needless to say I bought that! At current exchange rates that would be about 13 euros.

Because I had spent so much time trying to find free internet I could now use my new simcard. Straight away I set up mobile broadband internet!

That is so convenient to use when you are in an unknown city. I had a look into the “explore” functionality of FourSquare and got some great ideas for the next day 😀

I spent the rest of the evening watching TV in our room and using my flatrate internet.

 

Day 2

I slept in, intentionally of course. It was after 11 am that I finally left. On FourSquare I had read that it’s a good idea to go up to the SkyTower first to get an overview of Auckland and surrounds.
So that’s what I did after buying some food at Countdown (the kiwi version of Woolworth’s) and eating it in Albert Park. My VIP Backpackers card reduced the ticket price from 26 to 18 NZD :). Again, my visa card failed me. After putting in the details manually I could finally sign the payment. This is really annoying!
Anyway, up I went. The view was great and I took my time. The elevator had a glass window in the floor so you could see how fast you travel up and down. It also had glass doors so you could look outside.
I had paid 3 NZD extra so I could go from the main observation deck to the even higher SkyDeck. And that was worth it! They had lots of these things standing around that you look through and see a specific site they’re giving you more information about. Here I decided to go to the harbour and take a ferry across the bay to Devonport where I would hike up Mount Victoria Park. And that’s what I did. The weather was really nice and from Mount Victoria I had a lovely view onto the sun lid city skyline.

On the way back to the hostel I had some dinner at Burger King (that’s right, they don’t call it Hungry Jack’s like the aussies do!).

Later that night when it was dark I went out again to take some long exposure shots in the harbour and of the city skyline. I found some nice motives 🙂

 

Day 3

The previous day on the SkyDeck I had made up my mind that I would use this as sunny forecasted day to walk towards and up Mount Eden, Aucklands highest volcanic crater.
Of course I slept in first. I went to Countdown and bought some food for brunch then started walking. It took me about an hour to get there. Once I had surrounded the crater I sat down on a lovely green patch without tourists but a great view over Auckland and had my brunch.

I then decided to do a small detour on the way back and walk through the Domaine Park. That turned out to be a good idea as I saw many lovely things and even walked through a patch of rainforest.

Back at the hostel I had a shower, then relaxed for the rest of the day. In between watching stuff on TV and using the internet I did my washing so that I am all ready and prepared for the 2 weeks contiki tour which is about to start the next day.

 

And now a few things that I noticed and find worth mentioning:

  • Coming from Australia it is amazing how well the Maori people got integrated into everyday life. You see them in all sorts of jobs and the only bogans out there are white people. So different from the Aboriginals in Australia.
  • The kiwi accent is different. Things are not “perfect” they are “pirfect” 😀
  • I find Auckland to be very similar to Sydney. Ugly skyscrapers, no really nice city centre. Nice parks here and there, a high tower in the middle, and a big harbour.
  • The traffic is pretty much the same as in Australia. Signs and lights look the same, they drive on the left side, they drive the same cars.
  • Traffic lights are as inefficient as as in Australia, although the new ones are slightly different. The green light is an animated person crossing the street, and when the red blinking starts the previous green light shows a yellow countdown how many seconds you have left before the cars are allowed to run you over. Of course there is no countdown until the next green light, that would be to easy.
  • There are some really long busses on the road. They’re up to 1/3rd longer than your average bus. Pretty impressive!
  • The free TV programme here is better than in Australia. More good shows/movies and less advertising!

 

That’s it, you are now allowed to see the photos:


“The biggest city in New Zealand”

From 2012-04-16+2 Auckland. Posted by Philipp Hübner on 4/17/2012 (Showing 118 of 120 items)

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Category: New Zealand, Places