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Published: August 28th 2006
This week, on the blog.
Alex carried on with her law work for the week. Thankfully she's feeling more settled and is gaining confidence as she picks up all the skills and experience required for most of her work. I carried on at my office job where I had to ring customers for large portions of the day. Unfortunately this work ran out on Tuesday so I was back to the building site for the rest of the week. I think I would go crazy if it wasn't for our Australian friend called Mick, who has also moved into our hostel which makes the walk to and from work more pleasent.
Weekday evenings have been spent trying to save money but we have made a couple of ventures around town. One night we went out for pizza with Mick. Three Dominoes large pizzas for seven pounds in total, great value. This was followed up with a beer in the Queen's Head with a couple of English lads that Mick had met in his last hostel which was good fun. Friday night was also spent in the pub. Alex and I made our way to an area called Parnell to
have an evening stroll. The area was really nice and has a cafe culture during the day but the number of people about on a Friday night was really pathetic. I think the fact that uni is out for holidays and the fact that a lot of people live in the suburbs doesn't help the inner city nightlife.
No wwoofing at the weekend which gave us a much welcomed lie in on Saturday morning. After a lazy start to the day where we could check out at a leisurly pace, we made our way to an area called the Domain. The Domain was a section of land set out for the city when the land agrement was signed between the Mauris and the settlers. We spent a while walking around the gardens and the sports pitches before making our way to the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Here we spent the rest of the morning checking out the Maori history, Volcano section and some of New Zealand's wildlife - including the skeleton of a 3m high giant Moa (the flightless bird made extinct by Maori and Pakeha (European settler) hunting in much the same way as the dodo). The volcano
section was very apt seeing as Auckland has several active peaks around it. The scientific prediction about Auckland being likely to suffer volcanic activity in the next fifty to sixty years was also a bit worrying. There was a room which simulated what would happen if there was an eruption in the harbour and one little girl was overcome by the shaking floor and flashing lights, so much so that she burst into tears!
Lunch time came too quickly but we had plans to accommodate it. We had seen a burger chain advertised on TV called burger fuel with the motto "Life is too short to eat bad burgers". Seeing as we had spotted a store in Parnell the previous night, and it was in walking distance, we decided to head there. We had a burger each, a drink and fries which all came to $30 (10 pounds) and it was well worth it. We had one portion of normal fries and one of kumara fries which were really nice. The burgers also didn't disappoint and you can use a doofer, which is a bit of cardboard which when carefully folded can be used to hold your burger and stop
it all falling out of the back (Ric, Mary and Becky W - you'll have to check it out when you're here!).
After a rest upon finishing the meal we made our way back to the museum to try and see more of the exhibits. The afternoon was taken up checking out Auckland in the 1860's and the history of the wars between settlers to New Zealand and the Maoris. We were kicked out at 5pm and we still have more to see so we may have to go back in summer.
The evening was spent picking up Max and making our way over the harbour bridge (a poor comparrison to Sydney or the Tyne bridge) to the North Shore area of the city to stay in a camping park in a town called Takapuna. Since it was getting dark we made our tea and settled in for the night while experiencing torrential rain and a few cracks of thunder.
The weather had thankfully cleared up on Sunday morning and we had a nice walk around the town and some of the way around the beach which was busy with runners, dog walkers and families. We also stumbled upon a nice little farmers market where we decided to buy most of our fruit and veg for the week which was a bonus. We then headed down the coast to a town called Devonport which is a really nice area and easy to commute across the harbour to the CBD. Here we looked around an area called North Head - a volcanic cone. This is one of the old volcano areas but is more interesting for the views over the harbour and the old army positions which took advantage of the good views in the World Wars to defend Auckland. We had a good time exploring the area before cooking on our camp stove and enjoying the sunshine. Despite it being winter over here it gets warm enough in the sun to just wear jeans and t-shirts but if you get a blast of wind it can be chilly again.
After lunch we drove back into the town and had a walk amongst the shops, including a really good, if slightly pricy, second hand book shop and a pint by the side of the road watching the world go by. As the afternoon wore on it was back in the van for the short ride back to the hostal, via the supermarket for the rest of the provisions. We are certainly getting well settled in here now, but also looking forward to our work finishing and heading off on our road trip: first stop Mt Ruahapu for some skiing. Incidentally, we learnt in the volcano section of the museum that the mountain is one of the most active volcanoes in the world...but no fear, it has a hi-tec early warning system, so we will be long off the slopes before the frozen-lake crater ruptures and we get covered in lava!
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