Auckland,New Zealand

We take back what we said about cities. Auckland is fantastic.

We arrived exhausted after an epic 20 hour journey from Singapore which included an overnight stay at Brisbane airport. We had booked into The Oaklands Lodge Hostel in Mount Eden which transpired to be a large hostel in a residential area which looked as if it could cater for about 40 guests. The hostel had a large kitchen which at meal times was hectic and at night the garden was a gaggle of smokers.

Mount Eden is around 3 miles from Auckland City Centre and twice we walked the whole 3 miles and back. The main purpose of our time in Auckland was to sort out a hire car for the 4 weeks we plan to spend on the south island. But after wandering around the various car hiring firms we decided to just hire a car for the whole 5 and a half weeks. That said it took 2 days to finalise everything and we didn’t pick the car up until the evening of our second full day.

In the meantime we explored Auckland. The city is a real gem. It’s small, clean and the people are friendly. We did some shopping and Claire even managed to get a long awaited hair cut as a prelude to the glorious arrival of her hair straighteners which heroic Nick will be personally delivering from the UK in the next few days.

(We couldn’t find the Skytower)

In the evenings we sat at the hostel eating, reading and chatting to some of the typical characters one finds at hostels. The most notable being Geordie Jim, who seemed to be some kind of self appointed representative to the used car market. His insistence that we buy a car fell on deaf ears and we chuckled as he took 2 calls from people whose newly purchased cars had broken down.

To try and keep to our budget we decided to camp as much as possible here. So some of our time in Auckland was spent looking for a tent and some camping gear. We eventually found a tent for $80 and reserved it to collect the next day. When we told Geordie Jim later that evening he immediately suggested we track down Janus from Switzerland. Janus it transpired was selling his camping gear and by chance he was selling exactly the same type of tent we had reserved. He then mentioned that he had some other gear for sale. The upshot was that we bought all of this for the almighty sum of $55…which is about £26…

2 man tent – used only five times
Inflatable Mattress with pump – used less than five times
2 Chairs
Gas Cooker

He actually only wanted $50 dollars but I felt guilty as he hunted for extra change and insisted he keep the extra $5.

So armed with our camping gear and lot’s of enthusiasm we set off North in search of a camp site…

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