After two weeks in Sydney, we do a quick hop over to New Zealand. We arrive in Auckland, where we have a couple of nights before we pick up our campervan and start exploring.
First stop was the national museum. New Zealand doesn’t have a lot of history, but it does have a lot of natural history and the natural history floor was definitely the best. They had a huge skeleton of a moa – an extinct ostrich-like bird that was 3m tall, and also some pretty big model penguins.
There was also a good exhibition about volcanos, because NZ is all volcanic. There is a simulator you go in where you are supposed to be in a house in Auckland harbour and you can see a volcano erupting. The house starts shaking and on the screen you see the whole city being completely levelled. Then a man comes on TV and tells you to be prepared for volcanos. The whole city has just been annihilated – I don’t think that having plenty of spare batteries and drinking water would have helped in this instance.
Across the park from the museum there is also a very pretty winter garden.
It’s a nice walk through parks into the city and we pop into the art gallery.
On our second day we get a ferry across Auckland harbour to the small volcanic island of Rangitoto. It’s a one hour climb up to the crater, for great views back over the city. It’s funny to see people who have obviously come to NZ for a walking holiday tackle the one-hour climb with walking boots and poles, being overtaken by small children in flip-flops.
We decide to take the long route back down and around the island. My map says this takes three hours, which means we will get back for the last ferry of the day in plenty of time. However, on the way back the signposts we pass suggest that the walk will actually take four hours – which means missing the ferry and spending the night on the uninhabited (apart from a few campers) island. Not knowing whether my map or the signpost is right, we proceed at top speed. Fortunately, my map was right and our brisk pace means we actually arrive back at the harbour with an hour to spare. Good exercise though!
After checking out of our hostel we pick up our campervan to start exploring the islands. The van is called Ivor (the Engine) because of the noise it makes going up hills.
More pictures of Auckland on Mr Beet’s flickr page.