New Zealand

New Zealand Photos

I leave New Zealand tomorrow.  My trip here was really sort of a sampler for the place.  Lots of backpackers and the similarity to Alaska sort of turned me off to it though. Other than that, I really have enjoyed my time here. I actually like Auckland very much.  It’s a clean city, cheap, modern, just generally nice and easy.  I’ve even come to appreciate the convenience of the Giant Hostel that I am staying in.

Anyway, since Tuesday, when I arrived, I have actually managed to do quite a bit.  Very much the opposite of Tahiti concerning level of activity.  Also more spending here.  I definitely went over budget, but it was obvious where that happened, and wont be hard to rectify in future countries.

New Zealand’s appeal lies in several areas for tourists, I suppose.  The natural beauty, the adventure sports, and I’m not sure what else.  English-speaking, hostel/backpacker-ridden, small, easy, cheap country?  Probably all of those, I suppose.  But I’m not so anxious to come back here, because I already live somewhere with amazing natural beauty, I don’t care about adventure crap, skydiving, jumping off things, blah blah etc, as they cost too much and seem gimmicky. And this place that I live is huge, inexpensive for me as a local, and without 50 thousand retard backpackers tramping about.  My next trip when I get back from this one will be to Alaska.

During my stay here, quickly, I went north to the Bay of Islands on Wednesday, took a fast boat out to the “Hole in the Rock” which I’m sure we have somewhere in Alaska.  Probably about 70 of them.  I thought the boat ride itself was what was worth it.  The thing went about 70 miles an hour, it seemed.  That was just a day trip, and I stayed in Auckland that night.  The next day, I got up, checked out of the hostel, ran errands: getting cash, stamps, postcards, sending emails, etc.  Then I caught a ferry over to Waiheke island, about 40 km away from Auckland.  I stayed at a Youth Hostel there, and had an uneventful time.  I walked down the 300-step walkway to the beach at around 10 PM for an amazing view of the Southern Sky.  The stars were ridiculously brilliant. I think I can remember cold winter nights in Alaska that might have been close, but I really was impressed.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the thin ozone layer here.  I could see the Southern Cross, which was neat, and of course, I was looking at lots of other Southern-hemisphere constellations, although I had no idea what they were.  Saw some shooting stars too.

So, I came back today on the ferry, after writing out about 10 postcards in a little cove on the bay.  I got the last bed in the hostel here in Auckland, and then went for a walk to the grocery store.  I had 37 New Zealand Dollars last night after paying for the hostel, which had to last me until tomorrow morning, when I fly out.  3.30 for a bus, 22 for another night here in Auckland, left me with about 12 dollars.  I got 2 bananas, some cookies, pound cake, smoked tuna, and 1.5L of off-brand soda at the New World supermarket for only $6.07, leaving me with 3 dollars for an hour and a half of internet here, and 3 dollars in my pocket for anything last minute in the morning.  There is also a $25 dollar New Zealand departure tax, but I am hoping that was included in my ticket.  If not, I have a credit card.   Off to Australia then.

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