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Published: September 19th 2011
Well, it has been a crazy first week but thought I would update a couple of days at a time. Apologies for the lack of updates as we have had very little downtime in which to sit down and put pen to paper (or text to screen).
Well after my cousin's 30th in Brisbane on the Friday night, the trip was off to a great start with a 9am flight out of Brisbane. Getting into Auckland it was evident how many fans were here from all countries with hundreds of French fans all decked out on their way to their game that afternoon. There also fans from every other country just showing their colours as they made their way around the city.
For the first 3 days we were staying at the Base Backpackers right on Queen Street in the City and only a 5-10 minute walk to the Fanzone down on Queens Wharf and the Viaduct Harbour full of waterfront bars and restaurants.
My travel companions Doppo and Danger had already checked in and were struggling from a large night in Sydney the night before. Doppo therefore was having a first day sleap (poor form) while Danger
and I checked out the rooftop bar of the hostel. The bar was fairly small and was essentially a large balcony with a few tables, a small bar and plasma screen on which the rugby was on. Everyone we met there were very friendly and we soon met a few other Aussies who had been in town the previous night when 100'000+ people lined the streets for the opening night's celebrations (See Photo).
My Cousin Gareth arrived in Auckland later in the evening and we then met up with him at the Globe Bar, an underground nightclub under the hostel with a reputation of being the loosest backpackers bar in town. While at this we met Tom, an English guy who had just moved to New Zealand after finishing uni and hadn't met many people yet. Tom loved his rugby so joined us for the evening when we headed down to Queens Wharf to check out the Fan Zone.
The Fan Zone is a massive area built on a converted wharf in the city, with all the gimmicky highlights as well as dozens of large screens and sponsor promotions. The highlight though is the World Bar, a Heineken
filled building approximately 100m long lined with bars down one side and plenty of big screens. The World Bar was packed and had a live band playing so the atmosphere was great after a day of rugby on day 2 of the tournament.
We then ended up back at the Globe Bar under the hostel where we finished the night off with far too many cheap drinks and partying with all the other backpackers.
Day 2 was our most anticipated as the Wallabies played their first game. We were all a little tired after a big night the night before, but that quickly wore off as the excitement grew. Donning our Wallabies gear, we headed off down Queen Street and were amazed at the number of Aussie and Italian fans about. We made our way to the free buses heading out to North Harbour Stadium on the northern side of the bay, about a 20-30 min bus ride. At the Stadium, we found our seats which were quite good and then headed to the bar. The bars were fantastic and very easy, with all beers being Heineken cans which came in handy 4 pack carry packs for an
even $30. Getting to our seats just before the National Anthems, we were pumped. I was wearing a yellow afro wig, Wallabies jersey, Australian flag cape and waving a Wallabies flag whilst belting out the Anthem and the camera man must have thought it was quite a site as they zoomed in on me and was beamed around the world. I quickly started receiving phone calls and text messages from friends back home saying how they saw me on tv.
A great win by the Aussies made the day a big success and we jumped on the buses back into town where we proceeded to paint the town red. Later that night Doppo and I went into McDonalds across the road from the hostel to grab a late night feed before heading to bed and ended up meeting Wallabies stars Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Will Genia and Digby Ioane who were all kind enough to pose for photos with us. Then as we were leaving we thought we spotted James O'Connor walk around the corner and so quickly followed to try and find out where the Wallabies might have been staying. We didn't find him but ended up at
Me with Kurtley Beak, Will Genia and Digby Ioane.
the Sky City casino, where we proceeded to lose $200 New Zealand Pesos (about $20 Australian haha) before calling it a night.
On the Monday we were all feeling a bit sore and sorry for ourselves and decided to head into the Viaduct Harbour for lunch and a few cheeky beers. Tom the Englishman from the first night joined us and we then proceeded to a great Irish bar on the water, followed by a few more drinks at the World Bar in the Fan Zone and dinner at a steakhouse on the walk home. Upon arriving home we thought it only fitting to have a few last drinks at the Globe Bar before we left the following day for Napier. The Glove bar was going off and there was a game of Strip - Blindfolded - Musical Chairs just about to start. We managed to avoid being entered ourselves but managed to persuade a couple of Scandanavian girls who we had met on the first night to enter to the delight of the crowd. They unfortunately refused to strip off any of their clothes when they were left without a chair and were therefore eliminated.
Me with Quade Cooper.
a night at about 2 am, we had a 6 hour drive in front of us the next day to look forward to. A hectic 1st three days in Auckland and promising more good times when we returned later in the week.
Thanks for reading my first installment. Please feel free to leave any comments or requests for more details. I will get to the next 3 days in Napier hopefully soon.
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