Hi everyone! As you know, we are currently in New Zealand traveling around on a 12 month working visa – hopefully we can make you all jealous with the odd blog post and some pics!
With an early start, we arrived at Heathrow to meet our fellow nervous (and excited) travelers. With security dealt with and bags just under the weight limit, we did what all nervous and excited people who don’t know each other do. PUB!
This theme continued on the plane, and by the end of the 11.5 hours, there was actually no booze left, we had drunk it all. Not just us – all 45 of us! This was a bit of a theme for the weekend!
As we arrived at the hotel at 9.00am, we of course could not check in. So, with a mountain of rucksacks abandoned in the hotel carpark (safe???) a large group of us headed for the large Buddha statue on Lantau Island – via Hong Kong public transport :S ! Fortunately Andrew’s map skillz meant that we navigated bus, train, cable car replacement bus and steps successfully! It was indeed a big Buddha!
That evening, we planned a quiet one – needless to say this led to a 4am drinking session (for Abby). Andrew went to bed after falling asleep at the table!
Not feeling very refreshed, we enjoyed a buffet breakfast and a morning by the pool, before heading out on a tour of Hong Kong island. Highlights included Victoria Peak, Stanley Market, a sampan boat ride, tennis courts (worthy of note to the tour guide at least) and the Chinese tradition of only stopping with time for one picture and a loo stop that we enjoyed so much in Yellowstone (see previous!). This was followed up with an unusual but lovely Chinese meal with 11 taster courses and strong aircon! The evening then devolved into a very drunk night of street drinking in Lan Kwai Fong involving pseudo monks, a pink tiara, and a good bit of group bonding! And a 5am bedtime……..
After three hours sleep, breakfast was less fun. Today’s tour (or excuse for bus snoozes) went to temples and gardens (at least notable for their quiet!) and a market (more notable for strong smells and a lot of noise – not a hangover cure!). It was then on the airport for the next leg and to say goodbye to the guys going to Australia.
After another sleepless (but less boozy) flight, we arrived in Auckland around lunchtime and checked into the hostel, before going for a little explore and a food hunt. This turned into a craft beer and hotdog session, which was more effective than expected due to jetlag. Dinner was then followed by a second dinner (local favourite BurgerFuel for Andrew, the SLOWEST Subway in the world for Abby) and a trip to the happy hour at the hostel bar/club. Which we defeated. Seriously, they ran out of beer.
Abby and two of the girls (Ashlee and Carolyn) were challenged to a game of beer pong by three NZ navy sailors while Andrew and another of the travelers Josh tried to think of ways to get away from them. Wide as they were tall – we’re not stupid! The night finished in Father Teds Irish Bar.
On Tuesday was our orientation and we spent the day on chores like setting up bank accounts and getting tax codes, before cooking in the hostel and getting an early night.
Wednesday dawned, and sightseeing was in order! We and some of the group climbed Mt Eden in the middle of Auckland – tiring but great views, if a little windy on the summit!!
Having managed Mt Eden, Andrew celebrated by falling off a kids zipline and breaking his glasses again! Fortunately, there is a SpecSavers in Auckland – $60 later and they are all fixed. The pride may take longer to repair!
For the afternoon, we took a wander round Ponsonby, a trendy (and expensive) neighbourhood of Auckland and stopped off for some beers. We then moved back into Central Auckland for a bit of dinner and a surprise bingo session with Bitchin Bingo at Cassette Nine (great teapots!) – a loud, rude and very un PC bingo evening run by what we initially thought to be a drag queen, but was in fact a genuine woman in a very big beehive wig.
Next day (Thursday) we headed to the fishmarket in the sunshine to pick up dinner – an 18 inch fillet of lemonfish. Then, it was a chore day of CV writing, bank account sorting and Facebook uploading (hope you liked the pics). That evening (after our lovely lemonfish with lemon risotto), we went off to the notorious Frenzi Backpackers Barcrawl with Chris and Josh. We quickly realised that it could only end one way…….. At 3am in Burger King!
And so we reach today. We have just come back from a FREE tour around Auckland with Stray, including a bushwalk through a city park, a beach BBQ and walking over the terrifying (for Andrew) underside of the Auckland Harbour Bridge to watch bungee jumpers.
We are currently trying to purchase a camper van on a very slow internet so pictures will have to wait until next time – hopefully of the van!!!!!!