Days 93-97: Jess is a Wanderer left Malaysia and began a ridiculously insane journey to Auckland – via Sydney, Australia. Why? Because it was cheap. Thought I’m not sure it was such a good idea in the end…
Landing in Sydney, I’d had a whole row to myself for the nine hour flight and it was wonderful. I’d had a bit of sleep so was ready to go and catch up with a friend in the suburbs of one of my favourite cities in the world. Unfortunately, only having a layover of around twelve hours, I didn’t have enough time to pop into Sydney so I’ll save that for another day.
Before I knew it, we’d chatted, shared some beers and the alarm was going off. I was so tired from not sleeping the night before that I decided to stay sleeping. The knock on the door five minutes before we were leaving was all I needed to shoot out of bed, brush my teeth and head for the door. Fortunately, we hadn’t both overslept!
Landing in Auckland was super exciting. It had been 94 days since I left rainy Oxford on a bus heading for Gatwick airport and ultimately, Tallinn in Estonia. 94 days of strange beds, not the healthiest of food, minimal exercise, mountains, beaches, jungles and adventures galore. 94 days to get me to my potential new home. I tried to feel more excited but after less than 3 hours sleep in 48 hours, I took the bus to my Airbnb, greeted the hosts and fell into sleep for about twelve hours.
My first official day in New Zealand involved heading to another Airbnb where I’d meet Beth. She’s a first-time traveller and joining me in NZ. We’re not sure how long we’ll stay together or where we’ll end up visiting but we’re ready for all that lies ahead. We were staying in the suburbs as anywhere in Auckland city centre was really expensive and we’re paupers. A 10km walk around the ‘burbs got us acquainted with our surroundings, allowed us to stretch our legs and enabled us to make some plans for life. Namely, buying a vehicle so we could explore the rest of this beautiful country. We stayed at a lovely Airbnb house with the most friendly, kind and helpful family – Anita and Siva. They were fab and if anyone wants a great hangout in the suburbs, let me know and I’ll send you the link to their property!
Day two saw the purchase of said vehicle. We basically spent the whole day in the sales office doing test driving, paperwork, insurance research and so on. It was fairly dull but sometimes you need to have a dull day in order to have more excitement later. And in two days time, we’ll definitely be living an exciting life!!
Our third day in New Zealand saw us finally let our hair down and head to the bright lights of Auckland city. The bus from the suburbs took around one hour and cost $7 each (£3.50). We got off in the centre of the city and set off walking. It’s easily walkable as it’s only tiny and we managed to see the main square, busy streets, interesting architecture, parks and harbour in less than a couple of hours.
Auckland Art Gallery is free to visit and has a whole huge range of artwork on display from various local artists. It’s well worth seeing for photography, paintings and sculpture. There are certainly some very talented NZ artists out there!
Wanting to explore a little further, we took the commuter ferry to Devonport – around fifteen minutes from the harbour. This cost just less than $13 return per person and was well worth the money. Much cheaper than the $40 guided tourist option, we arrived in Devonport and set off walking and exploring. You can follow the coastline for a couple of kilometres enjoying the city views. If you go to North Head, there are lovely views from the top of a hill and you can explore the old war-time tunnels. Very enjoyable for everyone and only a tiny bit spooky. The best part is, the whole area is totally free!
Tomorrow we head off in Agatha (the new wagon) to begin our great big New Zealand road trip. Bring it on!