Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/twotrave/public_html/wp-content/themes/Builder-Cohen/lib/builder-core/lib/layout-engine/modules/class-layout-module.php on line 499

Arriving in Auckland

After a restless and stuffy 13 hour flight (seriously – we’ve had longer bus journeys more comfortable) we arrived in New Zealand.

It was a quirk of the time zone system that meant we’d left Chile on Wednesday night and arrived in Auckland on Friday morning – skipping Thursday completely. We couldn’t work out if it made us a day older or younger!

It was a quirk of the time zone system that meant we’d left Chile on Wednesday night and arrived in Auckland on Friday morning – skipping Thursday completely. We couldn’t work out if it made us a day older or younger!

Despite being in a jet-lagged haze for the first couple of days, we were both able to appreciate the unique character of the city. Far from the dusty, smoggy hustle and bustle of a South or North American metropolis, Auckland felt new, clean and relaxed.

Even walking down the main shopping street during a Saturday was easy and free from pushing and shoving.

Even walking down the main shopping street during a Saturday was easy and free from pushing and shoving.

We got our first real look of the city from the top floor of the Sky Tower – more than 300 metres high.

We've been up higher towers, but we've not been able to stand on perspex and look down at the ground from 300 feet before! Not sure Dale liked it too much...

We’ve been up higher towers, but we’ve not been able to stand on perspex and look down at the ground from 300 metres before! Not sure Dale liked it too much…

From here, above all the skyscrapers, we could see the volcanic shape of the landscape. We hadn’t realised before arriving that Auckland has its own volcanic field containing not one but 53 volcanoes. Although the field is currently dormant, it is still active and could go off again in the next few hundred years.

The views were pretty good

The views were pretty good

There's one of the bigger volcanoes in the distance - Rangitoto

There’s one of the bigger volcanoes in the distance – Rangitoto

We decided to get a closer look at one of the remnants of volcanoes that still exists in the city – Mount Eden (Maungawhau).

Covered in grass and looking relatively harmless, Mount Eden is now preserved as a park where many local fitness freaks run up and down, young people hang around in groups and children play in the playground.

Covered in grass and looking relatively harmless, Mount Eden is now preserved as a park where many local fitness freaks run up and down, young people hang around in groups and children play in the playground.

Feeling like we needed to see something a bit more dramatic than a pleasant grassy hill, we took a boat out to nearby Rangitoto island – the site of Auckland’s most recent eruption.

The island itself was formed around 600 years ago and looks far more dark and menacing than Mount Eden.

The island itself was formed around 600 years ago and looks far more dark and menacing than Mount Eden.

That’s mostly because the island is made up of heaps of blackish red lava rocks and vegetation has only just begun to take hold. So although there is the start of a lush rainforest-type area, much of the island is barren and black volcanic plains.

That’s mostly because the island is made up of heaps of blackish red lava rocks and vegetation has only just begun to take hold. So although there is the start of a lush rainforest-type area, much of the island is barren and black volcanic plains.

One of the most interesting things to see on the island is its lava tubes, which are huge tunnel-like structures created by the passage of liquid lava during the last eruption.

We were able to walk right through them, but it was a shame we couldn’t see a lot of the detail inside the tubes because we managed to forget our torch, so we had to make our way through them with the use of our camera’s flash and by the light of our phones!

We were able to walk right through them, but it was a shame we couldn’t see a lot of the detail inside the tubes because we managed to forget our torch, so we had to make our way through them with the use of our camera’s flash and by the light of our phones!

Climbing 260 metres to the top of the volcano wasn’t hard, but it was surprisingly hot work because the uneven and crumbly black rock underfoot seemed to reflect the heat from the sun back up at us. The reward was a spectacular view of Auckland’s cityscape and we even spotted a Tui bird along the way!

The view of Auckland's central business district from Rangitoto's summit

The view of Auckland’s central business district from Rangitoto’s summit

Our first Tui bird! These things sound incredible - almost like R2D2!

Our first Tui bird! These things sound incredible – almost like R2D2!

The last stop for us in Auckland was to pick up our means of travelling around the rest of the country – a campervan! We’d decided long before we arrived that the best way to explore New Zealand and make the most of our visit would be to get a campervan and have the freedom to explore the country without worrying about where we would be sleeping every night.

After a lot of careful deliberation, we went with a Jucy Rentals Condo – which has a little indoor kitchen, seating area and foldaway ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ double beds.

After a lot of careful deliberation, we went with a Jucy Rentals Condo – which has a little indoor kitchen, seating area and foldaway ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ double beds.

With our new home on the road and our fridge freshly stocked, we were all set to begin our New Zealand adventure…

Comments

  1. Welcome to New Zealand. Please enjoy the robotic tone of our native birds and don’t mind the threat of volcanic and seismic activity. Too bad you missed out on the rugby sevens. How long are you here for?

    • Thanks so much! The birds really are amazing. I never knew they could make such noises! We’ve actually left New Zealand already – we were there for six incredible weeks and now I’m catching up with my blog posts. The start of our great big NZ roadtrip is on its way…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *