23.05.2017 - 30.06.2017 10 °C
So, our flight from Christchurch to Auckland took all of one hour 10 minutes and it flew by ;P. Once we had gone through customs, we headed to pick up our hire car, which again was really simple as we were with the same company as in Christchurch.
Melissa had booked our second couch surfing place months prior. After having such a great experience with the Tregurtha family on the South Island, we were both looking forward to meeting our next host :-). So after driving directly from the airport to the address we had, we walked up to the door and I knocked several times but had no joy with any answer. I attempted the door and noticed that it was actually left open, so I shouted 'Hello, anybody home?' and I received a frail reply 'Hello, just come in' and out popped a staggering male in his mid 20's called Henry who pointed us to where we were staying. He took us in to the lounge, didn't turn the light on, then pointed to the dirty carpet which was supposed to be our bed. Well I looked at Melissa and she looked at me in shock. It was one of those moment when you don't even have to talk, the look says it all. 'drug den, get out!' The house was extremely dirty, dark and damp. We said to Henry politely 'ohhh thanks' and he replied I haven't got a spare key but all you will need to to do is jump through the front window to get in and out the house, feel free to come and go as you please. At this point we were both in shock!
We got back in to the car, looked at each other and agreed that, no way on earth would either of us stay there. We both consider ourselves to be pretty open minded people, but there is a line and that was it. So we went to find wifi and book alternative accommodation. After pulling up at a McDonald's and using there wifi, we spent the next hour there charging our phones and searching for accommodation, we luckily found a pleasant place to stay around a 20 minute drive away from Auckland City Center. We headed back, climbed through the window and got our bags, right after Melissa took some photo's. :D
After we left, we sent a message to the woman who was supposed to be hosting us and lied, saying that I was suddenly unwell, so we didn't want to pass it on and had booked to stay in a hotel. We didn't want to be mean, the woman had just offered to let us stay at her place for free after all, even if it was horrific. 💩
After dropping our bags off at our alternative last minute accommodation...
we decided to head straight into the center of Auckland for a wonder. We took a nice long stroll around and headed to the bottom of the Sky Tower for a few pictures, we then decided to have a walk around Albert Park as it was a beautiful sunny day.
After chilling out on a park bench for a while, we decided to head for some drinks, then headed to the local library to update you (the blog) and to research the North Island further to help plan our next 6 days. After a long day, we stopped off at a supermarket, picked up some bits and headed back and hit the hay, ready to explore the following day.
The following day, we woke up around 08:00am and headed to the North Head Tunnels, an extinct volcano, which was turned into a military base in 1885 and was funded by the British Government. We took a walk through tunnels, learned about the battery's and watched a short movie at the summit which taught us about the military history in Auckland. Luckily for New Zealand this base was not needed during WW1 and WW2 as New Zealand was never under attack. It was just pretty much there just in case. It was also used for military training in later years.
Whilst at the top of the previous military base we had a great view of the sky line of Auckland and we took many pictures. We also headed to a small town (Devonport) nearby on the way back. It was truly beautiful there. We walked around for a little while and had some lunch. Part of us wished that we had stayed there for how lovely it seemed and the great views, however, it was pretty far away from Auckland town centre.
In the evening we were planning on going to 'One Tree Hill' for another view of the city skyline but the weather was rubbish, so we decided to stay in and watch a movie (Life Happens). Melissa also cooked a beautiful Spaghetti Bolognaise.
The next day we were up early and were back on the road, heading to Hunua Falls, this was located in Hunua Ranges Regional Park just on the outside of Auckland. This spectacular 30 meter waterfall was breath taking and over the years has carved through the extinct volcano making the waterfall wider and wider. Neil was also pleased to see this great waterfall.
We then got back in the car and drove two hours to the iconic Cathedral Cove. After driving for what seemed like forever, we finally pulled up into the car park of Hahei Beach and looked down at Cathedral Cove. From the car park it was a 45 minute walk along the cliff top, which slowly descends towards the Cove & Cave. Melissa and I found the walk down very easy, however we both cannot say the same for the walk back up lol. Once we got to the bottom of the walking track we Found the gigantic cove, along with a huge cave. It was very impressive. Once again the cameras came out and we took plenty of snaps.
We then headed to our hostel for the night in Taupo, it was just shy of 3 hours 30 minutes from Cathedral Cove. It was a pleasant drive and we got to the hostel around 18.30, we literally put our bags down, had a bite to eat. Mel made the saltiest pasta I have ever tasted, so we dumped it and had a cheeky McDonalds instead, not just any McDonald's, the 'worlds coolest McDonald's' site, which was based on an aircraft. After, we did our laundry, and finally, went to the land of nod.
The next day we woke up to crazy weather conditions and so we looked at the weather forecast and it was due to rain like this for the rest of the day, which ruined our plans a little, so we didn't really do a whole lot. We only stayed at that hostel for one night, so moved out things from that hostel on to the next one, but it wasn't far,so didn't take long. The new hostel was pretty cool. It had a snooker table and communal area, so we just killed some time there and later, headed to the local library to catch up on our blog again. Whilst at the library we got a parking ticket for $12.00 for staying in the car park just over an hour. So I went back into the library where I paid the fine online which was pretty simple. Just one of those annoying little things. Also, at the library, it was hard to get anything done as there was a Maori guy sat next to us, chatting away in such a load volume to himself like a mad man. Anything he wrote or read, was out load. A few of his friends popped in and they were the same. It seems as though, that is just the way they were. Nothing wrong with it I suppose, unless you're in a library and supposed to keep the noise down. Lol, just different.
The following day we woke up and the weather was looking much better, therefore we decided to venture out. The first place we stopped off was Taupo bungee, where we watched some people doing some silly things. It was exactly a week since Mel had done her jump and she loved the fact that it was over and that others were now doing it. After that, we decided to visit the hot pools nearby. We took a walk around a near by park which was recommended to us by the guy who ran our hostel. Well, we did not expect what we found. The pools were amazing. They weren't just little pools with tepid water. They were big pools, full of people and led on to a freezing lake. We felt the water and it was actually really really warm, like a hot bath.
After that, we decided to head to the Huka Falls. When we got there, we could hear the water roaring and we were pretty excited, however, upon reaching the waterfall, we were both disappointed as we had seen much nicer waterfalls upon our trip. The waterfall was more of a rapids really.
We then headed to the Huka Dam which was due to be opened up at 12:00 so we drove to the Dam and waited for the water to come through which was pretty impressive, water rushed down the stream and we saw the water rise around 12 meters from literally nothing. You had to be there to really get it.
After the dam, we headed back to the car and decided to visit an attraction known as 'Craters of the Moon' the largest geothermal field in New Zealand, it cost us $8.00 each to enter the site. The Craters of the Moon site consisted of a wooden path through a weird other-worldy, landscape with bubbling craters and steaming vents. The walk took around 40 minutes, we looked inside many craters with lots of hot steam coming out feeling the warmth on our faces. It was genuinely a fascinating albeit very smelly place to visit.
In the evening we both relaxed and played a few games of pool with a couple of drinks. We had a pretty Early night, as the following day we were heading back to Auckland, For an early flight the following morning to Hawaii :-) Ahhhh Sun again!
The next morning, it was time to leave Taupo, it was a lovely place to visit and we felt like we got a bit more of an insight to the Maori people and how they now live.
On the way back to Auckland, we stopped off at the library once more, to check-in to our flights and print our boarding passes. About 2 hours in to the trip, we decided to pick up a hitchhiker, which was something we had never done before. There were loads of them around and we thought that it would be nice to do something like that for somebody else. We stopped for a young German lad called Ben and he was grateful that we helped him out. It was our good deed for the day.
We arrived at a small homestay near the centre. Mel cooked a better pasta dish from some leftovers we had and we pretty much prepared everything for our very early morning start and went to sleep.
In the morning, it was a bit of a pain,trying to drop the car back at the airport, as the office was supposed to be open 24 hours and nobody was there to even open the electric gate for us to leave the car. We also needed a lift back to the airport from where the car rental place was. FYI
the company was called driveNZ. After quite a while of a mini panic, some guy in a van arrived and said that he had been doing the airport run. That was fine, but a sign or some kind of heads up would have been helpful. Luckily, we had given ourselves some time to spare and were okay.
All in all, our trip to the North Island in New Zealand was great. As a whole, if we were to come back though we would visit the south Island as it has a lot more beauty to offer. That being said, we never managed to visit Wellington (NZ capital) Maybe next time 😏😉 xx