34 Hours in Auckland

Before I came to New Zealand, I was making a lot of plans. I spend hours, if not days, trying to find a good way to travel around the two islands inside a month. I looked at car rentals. I read extensively about the various backpacker busses. I compared prices. I even looked into where I wanted to go and what there is to see.

But in the end, I didn’t book anything except two nights’ accomodation in Auckland. And I didn’t make any real plans, set any itinerary. I decided to just come here and see what would develop. After all, travelling without any plans or ideas is still the best way of travelling. Just wing it, I told myself.

And so I did. I arrived last night and went straight to bed. But since I was suddenly another two hours ahead of my regular time, I didn’t sleep until well after 2am. I still managed to get up quite early this morning and was filled with good intentions for what to do.

But what I mostly did was take a walk through the city centre and get a SIM card for my phone and try to sort out some  mobile internet for my netbook. After all, being in touch with the world at home is the most important thing when you are travelling, right? I got a USB modem from Vodafone, cleverly nicknamed the “vodem”. That was the only clever thing about it, though. I spend an hour trying to get it to work and then another hour in the store, watching them trying to get it to work. Finally, one of them said that they often had troubles with German computers and that it wouldn’t work. You can imagine my joy at that. Luckily, the wonderful people of Telecom NZ let you use your smartphone as a modem, so I can simply use my incredibly cheap prepaid SIM there to go online.

But between trying to set it up myself and going back to the store, I also enjoyed the city a little bit. I followed Dave’s advice and took the ferry to Devonport, the oldest part of Auckland and quite a nice little village. There I discovered that the incredible affordability of just about everything in New Zealand, at least compared to my long-term home Australia, did not extend to gourmet chocolate. Oh well.

And then, this evening, I started to at least made some plans. I had secretly hoped to meet some people to travel with straight off the bat, but no such luck. The hostel is filled with young German backpackers of the most annoying variety. I’d rather eat my hiking boots – freshly cleaned by the BioHazard department of NZ Customs – than even talk to these empty-headed blighters. So I was determined to book a bus pass and then decide on where to go tomorrow.

But luckily, while I was listlessly browsing away, I ran into Karo, whom I’ve mentioned before on this blog – back around the end of last year, on facebook and lo and behold, she is in Wellington and just preparing to leave for the South Island. And since I had no better plans, or any plans at all, and the weather is supposed to be quite dire up here for the next few days, I decided to make my way to Wellington immediately and travel with her for a while, something which should be both entertaining and instructive. Tomorrow morning I’ll board a bus for a dreadful 11 hour trip to Wellington. But once I’m there, things will be better.

And I’ll just return to see the rest of the North before I fly out of Auckland on December 1st. But I shouldn’t say that too loud. It sounds suspiciously like a plan.

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