Sat 16 Sep 06 15 °C
Thursday - (14th September)
Arrive in New Zealand at a really stupid time - 1am.
Can't check into my hostel, and can't catch a bus to the city until 6am, so I have to hang around for 5 hours.
When I finally get to my hostel at 8am, I just crash out for a few hours.
In the afternoon, I get the ferry to Rangitoto Island, which is a dormant volcano.
Auckland is surrounded by about 50 volcano cones, and Rangitoto is the most recent (600 years old).
The ferry ride is fun in itself, and takes about 30 minutes. It's sunny, but still pretty cold and windy on the top deck...
There's not much on the island (no one lives there), no shops, no toilets, not even a bin !
It's 3 hours until the return ferry arrives, so I decide to take the 1 hour walk to the summit of the volcano.
The walk doesn't actually take an hour (more like 45 minutes), but gets quite steep at the top. It's well worth it for the view, though.
When I get back to the city (after the walk down, and ferry ride back), have a quick wander around Aucklands shopping centre.
After splashing out on a new zoom lens, it's off to a nice Belgian Bar, where they sell huge plates of grilled mussells with the obligatory fries and mayonnaise. The mussells are great, and so it the mayo !
After my feed, it's back to the hostel to crash out.
Friday - (15th September)
More ferry action today, as I pop over to Devonport, which is on a peninsula north of the main city.
The dominating feature of Devonport are the 2 volcanic cones - Mt.Victoria and North Head.
I wander up Mt.Victoria to take in the views and get some pictures.
There's not much else to see around Devonport (although it does seem to have lots of secondhand book shops, which I make a purchase in), so I get the ferry back to the city.
In Auckland, I visit the Sky Tower, which is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere. The view from the top is pretty cool, and they have the glass floor panels (just like the C.N.Tower in Toronto) which are very wierd to stand on.
Every 10 minutes or so, a paying nutcase sails past the windows, as they take the 'Sky Jump'. This is a 'controlled descent' down a couple of wires outside the building. As 328ft < 14,000ft, I feel no obligation to try it !
Pop into the local Irish bar, for a lovely pint of Kilkenny, and wander back to the hostel to read my new book for a while.
Saturday - (16th September)
Quite an early wake up this morning, as my room mate is up at 6:30am, so he can get some bus, to some place.
I do manage to get back to sleep for a while, but eventually the Saturday morning traffic gets me to take some positive action (having a shower in this case).
After a nice brekky (porridge with plums, cream and brown sugar), I go for a walk to Albert Park to grab a few piccies.
Then it's off to pick up my car, which I have for the next 13 days.
It takes quite a while to get my car, because it needs a wash when I go to pick it up.
While the guy is washing my car, 4 (very cute) Argentinian air hostesses arrive to pick up another car, and I have to wait for them (who would YOU serve first?).
Wonder if all Argentine girls are so nice ? Must go and find out, one day !
When I do, finally, get my car I just go for a drive along the coast to the West of Auckland.
Driving here isn't a problem, except for the facts that -
a) no roads have numbers, except for about 5 major roads.
b) the roads that DO have numbers don't seem to be signposted
c) in fact, nothing is sign posted
I have a road atlas, but it's bl**dy hard work finding your way about in the suburbs.
I drive back to Auckland before it gets dark (I know I'd get lost), and make a visit to Mt.Eden, which is the tallest of the volcanic peaks around Auckland.
The view is pretty cool from the top, but it starts to get windy, and begins to rain, just before sunset, so I head back to my hostel.