Posted by: GeekHiker | March 23, 2012


I’ve been trying to like Auckland, really. As cities go, its not a bad one: it’s relatively clean, the people are nice, there’s a decent public transit system (with the notable exception of the lack of a good link between the airport and the CBD).

It’s just… there’s not a hell of a lot to do in Auckland.

Still, my traveling luck has been pretty good over the last few days. On the expensive shuttle bus from the airport I met Roller-Derby-Girl, and we started chatting. As it turned out, she’s in NZ for nearly the exact same amount of time I am, and we have similar interests, so we elected to meet up a couple of days later to chat about the potential backpacker busses in the country. Next thing I know, we’ve signed up on the same route and it looks like I have a travel partner for most of the next few weeks. The funniest part is that, in many ways, we couldn’t be more different: she’s a chain-smoking Roller-Derby-Girl from England who could probably beat the ever-living crap out of me if she chose to. You just never know who you’ll run into while traveling, I guess, eh?

My hostel in Auckland, Verandahs, was also spectacular, with a clean kitchen and nice people with whom I would spend time exploring the city. We went to the wonderful Auckland Museum, with it’s extensive displays of Maori artifacts, totems, houses, etc. Upstairs were displays on the natural world of New Zealand, with information on the birds, plants and animals of the islands. It was a good introduction to the country, though it did make me want to get out of the city even more to explore the countryside.

The next day, three of us caught the ferry across the bay to Rangitoto Island, a nature preserve that sits in the middle of the bay. There we did a 10k hike (I’m on metric for the time being, I suppose, which I rather like as it makes all my hikes sound like much longer distances), looping around the island and climbing to the top for a spectacular view of Auckland itself. The island itself is young: having only sprung up in the middle of the bay 600 years ago, it grew through a series of eruptions over 200 years, then fell dormant. Reminding me of life along the Pacific Coast, New Zealand is very active volcanically and has the same earthquake concerns as back home.

All in all, good stuff. So, why the urge to get out of the city? I think because, after Melbourne and Sydney, I’m a bit tired of large cities. I feel the need to get out and explore the countryside since, let’s face it, being in the city and seeing yet another McDonalds or Starbucks? I may as well have never left home.

Tonight, I’ve moved from Verandahs down to a YHA hostel which, while not nearly so homey as Verandahs, is at least a pick-up-point for the backpacker bus I’ll be starting on tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to getting out of the city, and seeing if New Zealand really is everything I’ve been told it can be…



  1. Sounds like you’re having an amazing trip. Thanks for sharing. Will you upload some photos anytime in the future? Would love to see them.

  2. I’ll make a note of that one: go to New Zealand and complain about seeing a McDonalds and a Starbucks. NOT.

    You have an incredible opportunity at amazing experiences, enjoy everything! Even the familiar McDonalds! I bet the people inside it are extremely different from the ones back home. There’s always something new to see.

  3. Yeah, I’d agree with you on Auckland, it doesn’t really have much of a sole. Start moving south though, and you start to see the real heart of the country 🙂

  4. or soul, even, whoops! Well it doesn’t have a sole either, so I guess that the statement remains true!!

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