Arriving in Auckland is wonderful, the Kiwis are superfriendly at the airport as I have to go through several stations, first get my visa checked, then pick up my bag (already there no waiting, so efficient!), then go declare what goods I have with me. Haribo passes without problems but all hiking gear has to be checked. So next station, unpack my tent, hiking sticks, boots and get desinfection for the boots that they don’t consider clean enough. They see that I am tired and try to be quick. Finally x-rays of my backpack and then I can go. Skybus into the city is rather expensive at 18,50$ but leaves every ten minutes and stops close to my hostel, the YHA International. I have to wait half an hour but then I get my room and take a shower. The 8 bunk bed room has a few small windows high up and only one can be opened a little. It’s bad air and I am not really happy with it. The mattresses are thin and used. A German girl who always stayed at the YHAs says it’s the worst she has seen, the others are better.
It’s about 3pm and I start walking around the town to start getting my stuff organised. Buying a gas canister for example and some food. Around 6pm I cook some pasta with pesto. Then some Wi-Fi session in my bed before passing out at 8pm. As I didn’t sleep at all during the eleven hour flight I was so tired I sleep until 4am, then just lay in my bed for two hours and then sleeping again until 9am. Great. Now I feel much better. I take my time for breakfast and read the trail notes and note down what is left to prepare. I head again to the supermarket (a different, cheaper and bigger one this time) for some more trail food. And as it takes me so much time to check 1) a foreign supermarket with products I don’t know and 2) the trail food that I am not used to buying, I am almost late to my appointment with a friend of my mother who lives around Auckland and has kindly accepted to keep some of my warm gear that I will need for Patagonia (after New Zealand). I am on time and we have a nice chat and a coffee in Olaf’s, a German bakery!
Then I try to buy the hut pass but after not getting it at the YHA (only full year ones are sold), being sent around from the first iSite to the second one which has a DOC (Department of Conservation) office (but which is closed exceptionally) to the Bivouac outdoor store (who only sells day tickets no passes), I give up. Still some time before I will actually need it.
And then it’s time to pack all my stuff. Repackaging my food, putting together my bounce box with everything I don’t need in the next four weeks or so but cannot yet fully renounce on. I leave it at the hostel. It’s expensive but I don’t have time for other solutions. Finally I am done. Dinner at the hostel (yes again pasta and pesto to finish it off) and then I am off for a walk around downtown. The Skytower is nicely lit and I take a couple of pictures before hearing some nice music. Around the corner, a Maori family has set up a karaoke right on the street, chairs,… They are all wonderful singers and I stay for at least an hour, dancing and enjoying this awesome improvised party. The songs are such a perfect fit – from “try everything”, “don’t you worry about a thing cause every little thing is gonna be alright” to “happy”. I stay until they have to shut everything down at 9pm. So happy about the evening I get back to the hostel and in my bed, but sleep will not come before 3am.