A Travellerspoint blog

Auckland - Day Two

sunny 13 °C

First things first, we scouted out the post office where we picked up a box so we could ship part of our accrued collection homeward bound. It was a bit touch and go trying to figure out if the box was greater than or less than ten pounds (our target weight) but when they weighed it back at the post office we came in at 4.92 kg (10.8lbs).

Checking that off our list, we walked back down to the ferry wharves where we caught a ferry to Devonport. It was a quick ferry ride that took us across the Auckland Harbour and beside Greenpeace’s boat parked randomly in the harbour. When we got to Devonport, we decided our first point of action was to get some lunch so we wandered into a little café called ‘Manuka’ Chrissy was very disappointed in her fish and chips here but Tom loved his ‘Bangers and Mash’. After lunch, we decided to walk to North Head, a former military headquarters.

We spent a good part of the day exploring the tunnels, which seemed to run everywhere, the barracks, and the lovely walk around the base. It is interesting to imagine how soliders wandered around here in the late 1800s and up until the 1950s and just want exactly they did in their (extensive) boredom. North Head’s claim is they never fired their guns in anger.
After a walk in the rain, we arrived just in time to catch a ferry back to Auckland where we decided to test out another movie theatre to see if it rivaled the one in Upper Hutt. While the seats were not as comfortable, the Sky City (think Metrotown and all its accessories) did offer the one bonus of allowing food in, provided it wasn’t hot. There is even a ‘premium’ section where one gets a lazy boy armchair and bar service to see the hottest movies. We were scared to ask how much it cost to go in there as it looked quite plush. But ‘I Love You, Man’ was hilarious and we enjoyed the night out.

The night is not all fun and games however; we still have to pack everything up. And so begins the painstaking task of putting everywhere BACK into our bags but it didn’t take that long. Its an early start tomorrow so we made sure we were in bed early(ish).

Posted by tc2009 15:02 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Auckland - Day One

semi-overcast 13 °C

Today we return our beloved van-a-ram although to be honest, neither of us are too torn up about it. Tom assumed the role of handyman and hammer in hand, proceeded to try to bang out step. Unfortunately, both our attempt at fixing the step and making pancakes failed miserably so we wandered over to the busy little café close-by. By and by, it was the BEST breakfast we have ever had!!! It was also tremendously busy with people and dogs.

After breakfast, we headed off to drop off the van-a-ram with a pitstop at Chrissy’s first house in the suburb of Mt.Albert. After filling up at a nearby gas station, we made it to the drop-off point. The van-a-ram was sad to see us go but we were welcome to abandoning it as the smell of dead things whenever we turned the heat on was beginning to get to us. As luck had it, apparently it is quite common for people to take out that dreaded step so we were not charged for it! YAY!!

Our shuttle back to the city arrived and before long we were at the door of our hotel. It’s quite nice and is a cross between a hotel and a hostel – the rooms were spacious and came with our own bathroom and in the basement, there was a full kitchen complete with couches & TV. Not wanting to waste the rest of the day, we made up some lunch and headed out to explore.
We walked down to the SkyTower where we rode the glass floor elevator up to the viewing deck and checked out the building roof tops and the crazy people who were jumping off the top of the tower. After wandering around the viewing deck, we grabbed the next elevator up to the next level, which had equally stunning views. We were lucky and it was clear, sunny day so our pictures are quite breathtaking.

After the tower (and a quick tea break), we caught the free bus down to the ferry wharfs where we wandered around the mall and stocked up on those last minute NZ souvenirs. Making our way back to the hotel, we stopped off to get some dinner at one of the many food-courts but discovered that we were $2 short and they only took cash. Odd in today’s obsession with plastic but we needed dinner so out comes the iPod touch, latch onto the free wireless, and voila! We have Hell’s Pizza delivering us some delicious pizza in less than 20 minutes and straight to our door!!

The impact of our wanderings became apparent the minute we sat down so we were quite content to munch on our ‘Brimstone’ pizza and watch more than one television channel!

Posted by tc2009 15:01 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Tekapuna

sunny 14 °C

Our craving for bacon & eggs for breakfast failed as the bacon was past the point of being edible unfortunately. We did deliberate catching the bird that had become trapped in the kitchen shelter and having it for breakfast but instead we helped it escape and had toast instead. It is a good thing we paid last night as we had our first experience with the DOC park keeper who showed up this morning to collect the fees and check out the site. As it turned out, the car campers didn’t pay. We decided to take the beach route to the outskirts of Auckland, which led us, straight to the City/Town of Tekapuna.

It’s a lovely beach city/town and quite bustling. A quick stop at the I-Site determined our campground for the night as ell as some free postcards for filling out a survey. Chrissy also had enough of her chipped toenails and searched out somewhere for a pedicure and manicure. Tom headed for the bookstore in the meantime where he landed some excellent deals on books. Nails gleaming and books in hand, we headed to the campground, which was right on the beach!

After a couple failed attempts at packing, we decided to make life easy and just get another duffle bag which turned into a goose hunt around the outskirts of Auckland. Fourth bag in hand; things began to fit in nicely enough. We had a mishmash for dinner of all remaining food before settling in to watch ‘Blues Brothers’.

Posted by tc2009 15:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Rawene

overcast 13 °C

Surprise surprise, our grey water tank is not draining again this morning. Our usual drainage of the tank isn’t helping either and we can’t find draino anywhere! Who would have thought it was so difficult to find Draino in a variety of stores. After the fourth store, we gave up and got going. The roads are super windy in typical NZ fashion and a maze of construction everywhere. The construction workers showed their intense interest in their jobs as the sign guys did their duty by picking up scoopfuls of dirt with the stop signs.

We caught the ferry over to Rawene, which was a quaint little fishing village. We also passed thru a town where there was a fisherman tipped upside down on top of a grocery store. We stopped in the Giant Kauri forest where we marveled at the massive ‘King of the Forest’ – a massive kauri tree which is thought to be the oldest tree in NZ coming in at a whopping 1000+ years old. The road thru the Kauri forest was fascinating as well considering the road has been built around the kauri trees. One such example of this is the stretch of roadway that is reduced to one lane because the road cuts right thru two towering kauri trees.
We decided to make it an early day and stopped for the night at a DOC site, which has hot showers? This is not a trick of the mind; the site really does have powered sites and hot showers, albeit they are a little bit prison like. Our fellow campers don’t quite seem prepared for the elements, as there are three guys who are perma-camping in their car. We watched them for a bit and they just sat in their car and didn’t move too terribly much from that spot.

Off to bed and listening to the kiwis calling to each other, they are really quite loud for such little birds!!

Posted by tc2009 14:59 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Ahipara - Day Two

semi-overcast 13 °C

We’ve decided to spend another night here so we can take part in horseback riding along the beach this afternoon. So we spent the morning vegetating and catching up on miscellaneous tasks before setting out in the early afternoon for our horse trek. We were introduced to our partners for the afternoon; Tom was on ‘Honey’ while Chrissy hung out with ‘Star’. After getting settled in we set out for the beach. Tom’s horse quickly passed all the others to get in the front, a trend that continued for the remainder of the journey. Chrissy’s decided it was hungry and didn’t want to go for a walk so instead the two of them munched on some grass.

When we all (eventually) made it to the sand and surf, we set off along 90 Mile Beach. Honey led the group confidently while Star was skittish of the incoming surf and was more intent on eating the sand than continuing. Before long, our guide decided it was time to trot, which Tom did so enthusiastically, and the rest of the group (Chrissy plus the couple from the UK) cowered at the thought of our horses going any faster than a plod. Star however had different ideas and sporadically would break out into a canter and left Chrissy freaked at the thought of falling off. Tom is happy to report however that Chrissy did eventually tackle her free of cantering and did let Star go faster than a plod.

The next obsticle came when we had to leave the beach to get to the sand dunes behind. This entailed heading up a steep embankment and then down the other side. It was an almost vertical climb (Man from Snowy River) to which Star was pysched to gallop up (Chrissy was terrified) and Honey was choked that she was the last horse to go up and promptly had a fit. The ride amongst the dunes was punctuated by one of the guide’s horse getting away from him and galloping towards the rest of us. We made it back to the beach sans injuries or any more escaped horses where Tom got to live out one of his dreams: galloping flat out along the beach. Chrissy was completely content with her plod. Star was happy later on however as Chrissy allowed him to canter for longer than 30 seconds while Honey regained the lead.

Once back at the pasture, the pain began to set in and we hobbled back to the van for the drive back to the campground. Once back in our site, we hit up the hot showers before settling in for dinner & a movie courtesy of TV 2. On a side note, we are both totally in love with televised movies here as the network doesn’t cut anything out and shows the movie as a whole (with some commercials). As well, Tom is trying to break Chrissy’s tea addiction that is being met with little success. Will keep you all posted on that success rate as it progresses….

Posted by tc2009 03:10 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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