The Kiwi Experience

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August 19th 2008
Published: August 19th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

Auckland, New ZealandAuckland, New ZealandAuckland, New Zealand

Cityscape... I'm not sure what the big tall thing is. In the foreground is the crater of Mt. Eden, the largest dormant volcano in Auckland.
Last night I was reminded why I haven't stayed in many dorm-style hostels on this trip. Throughout the night, my seven roommates kept coming and going, stumbling in (most of them were drunk, I'm sure), clattering about, and occasionally turning lights on (in the middle of the night, mind you). On top of that, the fire alarm in our room kept going off at random intervals, despite the complete lack of fire. I don't think I slept more than 20 minutes at a time the entire night!

Got up this morning, had a bit of breakfast and coffee, and somehow nearly missed my bus for the Kiwi Experience - the "adventure trip" I booked for 6 of the 8 days I'm in New Zealand. I had to run (laden with a 45 lb backpack) a long city block to catch the bus as it was stopped at a stop light. Thankfully, they let me on, and I wasn't crushed by oncoming traffic. There are only 5 of us on today's trek: 2 guys named Chris, both from the UK, and Cian and Charley from Ireland (the Republic). All are quite friendly, though we haven't really had the chance to get
Cathedral CoveCathedral CoveCathedral Cove

Picturesque, isn't it?
to know each other yet. Our driver is a Kiwi woman named Lauren, and despite being an excellent guide and very knowledgeable, has the annoying habit of adding "guys" to the end of every sentence, and interjecting "It's all good" at inappropriate moments. It would be endearing if it wasn't continuous.

Our first stop of the day was at Mt. Eden, the tallest mountain in Auckland, where we had absolutely gorgeous 360-degree views of the city, the surrounding bays, and several of the dormant volcanoes that created the New Zealand Islands. From there, we drove an hour and a half to Cathedral Cove, which was quite lovely but not terribly thrilling.

After Cathedral Cove, we drove to Hot Water Beach, which is awesome. There's a hot spring directly under the beach, and if you dig a foot or so down, you can create a pool of warm water, even in the midst of winter. The water that bubbles up is scaldingly hot, but if you let a bit of ocean water in, it can be a delightful little personal spa. Some of the other guys on my trip decided to do hot/cold intervals, so took dips in the
Hot Water BeachHot Water BeachHot Water Beach

There's a hot spring directly under the beach, so you can dig a big hole in the sand and lounge about.
ocean between dips in their "spas"... frigid!

From there, we drove further to our overnight accommodations in Whitianga (pronounced "FIT-ee-ung'-guh), which is a quaint little town with little-to-nothing in it except a few hole-in-the-wall shops. An excellent place to sleep.

Additional photos below
Photos: 4, Displayed: 4


My own homemade spa!My own homemade spa!
My own homemade spa!

It takes a bit of effort, but lounging about in your own hot-tub is luxurious!

19th August 2008

vacation at last
So sorry about the sleepless night. They are miserable! But the hot springs and other sights you described sound like a vacation where you could relax and enjoy yourself. Thank goodness! Your guide reminded me of Chuck, the tax guy. Remember him? Well since he has gotten married he doesn't say that phrase (whatever it was) over and over any more. :-) Love you, Mom
19th August 2008

9am tues, 8-19
hi: dorm-style: yuk! neat photos!! fun reading. I'm glad you'll soon be back to USA. (tho' adam says you'll then have a pretty hectic/hurried re-location trip?) please be careful. love dad
21st August 2008

Yeah, that's the easiest way to piss me off. Interfering with my sleep, since I'm lucky to get 3 hours a night. Sorry about the lack of sleep. I woulda probably cried. I like the hot tub DIY approach. You know you're always the first one to lie in it. Loves it.

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