18.04.2011 - 24.04.2011 17 °C
Left Rotorua in the morning and arrived in Auckland around midday. Got a bus to the road the hostel is on, it started to rain so finally had use for my backpack rain cover. Hostel was only a few minutes away though. Didn't do much else during the day.
Walked around the city today. Auckland is the only truly large city in New Zealand, its home to one third of New Zealand's population, with two thirds living in the north island. Its nicknamed the 'city of sails' due to its large population of yachts, more per capita then any other country. It also has a surprisingly large Asian community. Got a map and found my way around, working out where things are. Wasn't too difficult, there's one main street that everything is either on or just off of.
Went up the sky tower in the afternoon. Its 328 meters high, taller than the one in Sydney, and the tallest in the southern hemisphere. You get a good view over the entire city. Also saw some people doing a walk around the tower on the outside platform, other, braver, people were also bungy jumping off the tower. Afterwards I just had lunch, looked around a few shops and made my way back.
Got up early today for a bus tour around the city and other near by areas. Its a day pass so you can hop on and off at the different stops along the way. Unfortunately its not summer any more so they weren't running half of the route, so it probably wasn't worth the price. Didn't know this at the time. Stopped off at a look out point over the city and harbour area, had some lunch there. Got back on the bus when it came back round, it went round a few sites providing commentary on them. Got off again at Auckland museum. Not as big as the one in Wellington, but still has three floors. A lot of Maori stuff which was interesting, plus you're actually allowed to take photos which is a first. Also got a ticket for a Maori cultural performance while there. Its basically just their traditional dances and performances, including the Haka which was good to see. After looking round some more I got the bus back into town and walked back to the hostel.
Got up late as I didn't have to be out till midday. Walked down to the harbour for a dolphin and whale safari. The tour goes out into the Hauraki golf, a marine national park where dolphins are often seen all year round. As its a safari you don't know if you'll actually see anything, the crew have to go out looking for them. They look for the Gannet's (large birds that dive into the sea to catch the fish) which are often flying around a school of fish of sitting on the surface. Once they found them the dolphins were close by. We saw groups of hundreds of common dolphins as they often hunt and feed in large groups. They would often come up to the boat and ride the waves created at the front or back of the boat.
Later we found a group of them feeding and stopped to watch. Despite what people think they are very violent animals, herding up the fish, and have even been known to attack each other. We also saw a whale while here (Bryde's whale). It often surfaced so you would see its back arch as it dived down deeper, before reappearing again somewhere else. We spent a little longer out there then they usually do as it takes a while to find them so we stayed around and made the most of seeing them. On the way back there was also a good sun set, got a few photos. Arrived back in Auckland at 6.30pm, got a good view of the city lights as we came in.
22nd - 23rd April
Had a couple of days resting (got a few blisters that wont go away), washing clothes and getting stuff sorted out for America, fly out tomorrow. Also walked all the way to the supermarket on friday, only to find out that it was closed on good friday. The only two large supermarket chains in the country were both closed, seemed strange.
Got up early, filled up on the hostels free breakfast, packed and checked out the room. I'm now waiting around the hostel today. Will be getting a bus to the airport just before 6pm and then fly out to Los Angeles tonight, arriving seven hours before I left.... an extra long Easter. That concludes 35 days and a night in New zealand.