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Published: April 13th 2012
Don't know why we have such bad luck with airports! There was atone hangs before we left Chile so wewent about early to the airport. Did that help a bit, no. We wanted to leave our stuff and go browse but unfortunatelafoot us the gate wouldn't open until 7 o clock, no one knew what gate exactlyso we were of waiting in a line, anyhow in the end weblog there afterspoke time butwehave to say that LAN dI'd not impress us, there was one counter serving our flight and there wereabout 10 ppl outside to "help" customers!
We arrived in Auckland a bit early, we were waitgnt for our host to pickups up, it was our first time as couch surfers. To those who are not familiar with it, you go to someone's house free of charge !!
Hamish was great !! As a first time host , as a personhe was lovely. First night he cooked us dinner yumm! Auckland was fun , we went to see the main establishments and the museum which was hilarious, some of the contemporary art was real fun!For us it was the most prepared oh try for tourists, they even had a free sim card for you- how nice! They really care about their tourism.
Hamish was kind enough to drive us to both Mount Eden ,and one Tree Hill, which were volcanoes once upon a time. There was no tree in One Tree Hill sadly because one activist chopped it down and it could not have survived aftr that cut. He also educated us about the Haka, a special intimidating war dance that they usually perform at rugby games.
On the friday , Hamish was going to go to a Music festival and had asked us before hand if we would have liked to go, we werent sure, so we said no, on thursday evening feeling bad that we wouldnt have seen anything but Auckland he told us about a crossing, the Tongariro Crossing (19km hike) that was not very far from the place that he would go, only a 2 hours detour, he was the sweetest ever host.Tongariro is actually one of the places from LOTR, they filmed Mordor there, it was a very cool experience, the scenery amazing, it was also very scary , especially when we were at the peak of the red crater, facing the Emerald Lakes which are also craters. The smell was that of rotten eggs- due to the minerals but it wasnt fun as it also happend with small shakes and the steamy ground. Going downhill was not fun at all, first of all you had the height and the slippery (gravel) terrain. All of the 19 k were done in a day we had stayed overnight the day before at a Hut called Mangatepopo. The Hut was comprised of 2 rooms sleeping about 14 ppl in each room. It was pretty unusual, plus the shower and WC were outside and the water was ice cold.
We were i think pretty much the only earlyu beds from that Hut. we were up by 6 o clock and by 6 30 we were already on the trail- still in the dark i have to add. The path was easy in the beginning, as it was mostly straight , so we were fine until there.The straight road reached to the foothills of a huuge mountain, and from there you could see ur way up!!! This is an exciting part, its quite torturous to see how far up you have to go but once you are there you forget the distance that you have already passed.Having done the Macchu Piccu our timing was not bad, we were planning to be at the Ketetahi Car PArk(i.e. The End) by 3, and we were there before 2 so we had some time to spare.The only place that was a bit long was the end, as we were at a Jungle terrain and you could not see anything but wildlife, the path had said 45 minutes for the descent but it seemed like we were walking for ages!
Luckily we made it to catch the first bus to Turangi, the town from where we were taking the Naked Bus to Auckland. our reservation was made for 1 o clock in the evening. and we arrived early with a lot of time to spare. A kind lay at the customer service point advised us to go to a hostel around there and [ay a small fee until its time. So we did that, had a shower and waited- for our devices to charge ....read our books...even slept a bit, although it was strangely prohibited.
The Bus Ride!! OMG, so imagine that you are dead tired and all you want to do is sleep, you enter the bus and all the seats are taken by people who sleep in both seats, and its cruel to wake them up, we wentalmost at the end of the bus and we got our seats. I chose a seat next to a sleeping person that only occupied one seat and thank god in the same row the guy was not sleeping and joanna could sit there. So that was that. Very smelly but what can you do but ignore!😊 we have been through worse.
My Suprise, was that Kiriaki would come to Auckland. I knew that she was coming to meet us in Australia, not expecting that she would come to meet us earlier. It was not a suprise though, from hints and Kikis unwillingness to give clear date info, and some peeking in jo's emails. It was all great though, having a close person from home visiting. We cooked for Hamish and another couple of Couchsurfers that arrived the same day with Kiriaki, who also came to stay with us at Hamish's. We did meatloaf, and stuffed vineleaves, and stuffed peppers, along with scrabble egg and zucchini, another cypriot meze plate.
We went to the Auckland Museum, where they had an amazing display of MAori art and buildings/ architecture. It was a really nice historical Museum, there was even an earthquake installation! Another ecxperience that we hasd done with K was that we took the Ferry to Devonport, and were planning to go further but the weather did not cooperate much. The next day we were supposed to go skydiving, but for some reason the plane was going to be ready in the afternoon and we would be catching the plane to Australia then.
So that was our NZ experience.Next Stop Melbourne Australia!😊
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