Saturday 21 April 2018

New Zealand - Auckland

We made it! And it's raining...but at least its cooler than the Philippines at about 24 degrees! The flight was 11 hours...still all the fancy food, but no TV :(

We caught a bus to Auckland Centre and made our way to Surf 'N' Snow Backpackers hostel which we had booked for 2 nights.

The first sign that the place was a massive shit hole came when we arrived an hour after check-in time but were made to wait another hour for the receptionist to finish whatever crap he was doing. The second sign was the receptionist telling us to go and look at the room before we paid because everyone else complains and it's in the basement with no windows.

So, off we went to have a look...and this is the shit heap of a room we had ended up with. It stank to the high heavens of mould, the sheets hadn't been washed and there were bugs and other people's hairs in the bed.

Under the bed and the side table were covered in mould. It was gross. So we frantically looked and looked for somewhere else to stay - nowhere under £200 a night on this short notice. So we said that we will have to stay the 1 night and find something else for the next. We obviously mentioned how rank the room was to the receptionist who basically nodded with a laugh and did nothing. We managed a $10 discount and were charged no cancellation fee for the second night - hardly a compromise!

All the above happened before mid-afternoon and so we left our room as soon as we could, getting our NZ phone sims sorted then went exploring :)

We came across some kind of arts, theatre and music festival. Lots of bars, restaurants and stalls. We couldn't afford to see any of the big acts but we could look around a cool arty venue. This was in a disused silo on an old industrial unit.

We found our way to a free outdoor gig!

So, NZ is ALOT more expensive than the Philippines, but I gotta eat! We found a pub with cheap(ish) pizzas and beer. Pretty much drank ourselves silly on happy hour Heinekens to try and get through the horrible nights sleep ahead. After reading disgusting reviews on bed bugs, we spent a good couple of hours contemplating spending £200 on somewhere else to stay and searching every single option possible. In the end, pretty drunk and tired, we gave up looking and decided to sleep next to the bed buggy bed on the cold and dirty tile floor after watching Forrest Gump on the iPad. Not the introduction we had hoped for or expected.

No hours sleep later at 6am we decided to get up and go sit in the "communal" area to research where the hell we were going to stay the next night. Birds seem to like this place more than people.. Jack had a good old row with the laughing receptionist and managed to stop him charging us an extra $20 to print two proof address forms we needed to open our bank accounts, then we buggered off. Moral of the story, LOOK AT REVIEWS.

Today was a busy day. We did our first wash of the holiday at a local laundrette while eating breakfast bars and drinking tropical juice from the corner shop. We bought, wrote and sent a postcard for a special someone's 30th!

We then ventured to the bank to try and get our NZ bank accounts sorted. No appointments available but managed to find out everything we needed to know and get some things scanned.

I had a coffee and an itch...very exciting.

Then we got on a 10 minute ferry to Devonport where we had managed to find a £60 airbnb...still way too expensive but was the best option available!

We've arrived!

And there are some crazy trees here, I couldn't get enough of them! Are their roots growing up or their branches growing down?

We headed to our airbnb which was amazing and exactly what we needed...see pictures later :) we chatted with the owner of the house for about 3 hours, left our bags then went for a wonder.

So green here, just look at that hill!

A graveyard.

We climbed Takarunga/Mount Victoria and got some pretty spectacular views.

Anyone for a folk jam night in a bunker on a hill?

A seagull.


*Jacks voice* Aleeeeee....

Where does this lead...?

There just happens to be a canon up here.

We grabbed a beer (of course) and after our long chat with the host (and a bit of snooping around) we realised we'd come to one the weathiest places in the North Island...damnit. Although I'm happy we did because its beautiful. Anyway, this meant not being able to eat at a restaurant, but... god they do some flabbergastingly good fish and chips!

With a view.

You see that chip in the corner...that's jack...and guess what happened.

Seagulls everywhere. The one on the right in the picture above...we think we were in his territory as he would hunch down like this and zoom after all the other seagulls if they came near us.

Oh and then more seagulls...I do not share food.

Not bad eh?

But that doesn't look too good.

After a shitty sleep on a tile floor the previous night and a busy day, we headed back to our room and slept...for a long time!

In the morning our lovely host Monica cooked us some breakfast and made me some damn good coffee and we had another 3 hour chat about life! Very interesting lady. She's been to something like 50 countries teaching and lived in 15! Her home is covered in pictures taken by herself from all over the world.

Our room, beats the crappy hostel room any day!

Our airbnb from the outside :)

We headed to catch the ferry straight back to Auckland to get to our next airbnb in Ellerslie.

Via a doner kebab favourite!

After a 30 minute bus journey, we arrive at our next room :) lovely place with a very comfy bed and awesome hosts Zahn and Addison!

We had some spare time and it was time to find a car...we knew that there was a car fair down the road the following day but jack did some calling around and we went to test out a car in Onehunga...a short train ride away.

Here it is! AUTOMATIC...WHAT IS THIS!? Most cars in NZ are automatics apparently, as a lot are shipped from Japan. Nice little car but we thought that we'd check out the car fair before going crazy.

Google maps said we were near water so jack made me walk for this...a motorway next to the sea that we can't get near to.

Because it's expensive and we had an airbnb with a kitchen, I offered to cook the hosts some good ol' spag bol. We went to a shop and oh my they have walk in beer fridges...which we later found out IS THE NORM IN ALL SUPERMARKETS!

Addison was out playing full on competitive board games at a friends house, so it was just me, Jack and Zahn. She provided the beer...good on her! We chatted, drank and ate alllll night :D

Here is their lovely living room.

The remains of last night...

Jack making toast before our walk over to the car fair.

Not sure why but we took no bloody pictures of the car fair! It was in the car park of Ellerslie race course and was awesome! There must have been 200 cars there...which made it quite tricky. But luckily they'd arranged them into sections depending on off to the cheapest section we went.

And we found this beauty...with my name on it!

Time for a drive to check out some beaches :)

St Heliers beach.

Achilles Point over Ladies Bay beach.

Karaka Bay beach letter boxes.

Bit of a steep wander down...

...with a chopped down tree.

Sooooo many shells!

We headed back to our place, where Zahn told us it was her turn to cook and she's making PIZZA!! She also bought a crap load of cheese after finding out about Jacks obsession but we didn't manage to have any, we still have no idea how that happened!

Zahn had also mentioned they had a pop up globe theatre on at the moment at the race course where we bought our car! Tonight was Macbeth and she asked if we wanted to go. So we of course said HELL YEAH and paid the €10 each entry...bargain! The seated area cost €80 and above, but if you stand (the traditional peasant way!) it's cheapppppppp!

So off we went after some beautiful homemade pizza.


Looks just like the real thing in London! Awesome.

Addison and Zahn :)

3 creepy witches.

FIGHT!!! For every fight, slit throat, stabbing, the cast had pouches of fake blood and they would make it go everywhere! We walked out covered in the stuff...gruesome...but great!

After heading back for another drink and a hilarious kiwi vampire comedy on Netflix. We headed to bed.

Mother's Day in England!! Gave my mum a call before getting into our new ride and heading to our new home in Kerikeri 3 hours North of Auckland to start our new life as grape pickers :)

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