And into a new country – New Zealand… and Auckland

23 Nov

So, back on a plane and off to Auckland after a VERY uncomfortable night in departures at the airport (not much point getting a hostel room when I need to be up at 4am).

 

The flight is only about three hours, but I still feel a little trepidation as I fly.. Not sure what that’s about – perhaps missing people back home, perhaps not sure what the next part of the adventure will bring, perhaps worried about finances.. But it will pass.

 

And, suddenly, I am in Auckland.  Another country, another city.  This time I REALLY have no idea what I am doing, as I haven’t bought the guide yet. The hostel, which is out in the suburbs in Mt Eden, a nice, quiet area, is busy, which is a complete change – I’m invited to someone else’s birthday party, and chat until far later than I expected!


Since I’ve got a few hours to spare, I decide to climb Mt Eden itself, or, more properly, Maungawhau,to give it its Maori name.  The mountain is tapu, or sacred, and it’s not allowed to descend into the crater itself, known as The Food Bowl of Mataaho (god of things hidden in the ground).  It’s the most perfect volcanic crater I’ve seen.  Auckland, by the way, is built on 50 volcanoes – and not all of them are inactive.  The views from the top of Maungawhau are spectacular, and it’s possible to see One Tree Hill, which inspired the U2 song of the same name.. Sadly, the tree is missing, as the locals chopped down the non-native pine that had been planted to replace the sacred tree chopped down by settlers in 1852.

The next day, I take a thoughtful walk back up the volcano again – and then walk into town – to buy a travel guide and make a few plans!  It’s quite a walk into town but pleasant enough… I discovered this rather disturbing sign on the way…

…and this shop that sells nothing but different types of bottled water… a bit like a low alcohol wine shop

… and yet the most interesting thing in town is a public display of ‘earth from above’ photographs by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, most of which have an ecological theme – a soundtrack playing encouraging our ecology.  Very, very impressive pictures.

A wander round town, an hour planning where next… and back to the hostel for veggie noodles and a chance to help someone with some pretty severe mozzie bites. It’s odd, because it’s nearly Christmas – but Auckland have only just got round to putting their decorations up.. and there’s not that many of them either.  It’s all very low key compared to the UK.

 

Sunday – well, I started out at the local church, which was a 2000 people service run 3 times each day – great fun, quite thought provoking for all sorts of reasons – and then visited the local ceroc to dance a while.  Wow… the beginners classes here would really rock your socks off – leans and everything. Not, I have to say, the friendliest dance venue I’ve ever been to…

Ah well.. off to Taupo next…

 

And then, in the evening, a fight with technology – but that’s another story entirely….

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One Response to “And into a new country – New Zealand… and Auckland”

  1. Fran Lowery December 3, 2010 at 3:13 am #

    I could have given you some pointers about where to find the friendliiest dance venues in Auckland!! Ah well! Glad you are enjoying New Zealand though!

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