Back to reality? Auckland, New Zealand

June 16, 2010 at 10:05 am 2 comments

It was with heavy hearts that we arrived in Auckland Airport and applied for our working holiday visas. We had planned from the outset to stop and work in New Zealand for a few months and as the weeks ticked by and the zeros started to disappear from our bank balances, it seemed more inevitable than ever that we would have to make some money if we were ever going to get to South America. Still, we had been dreading the huge change of lifestyle from lazy, good-for-nothing backpackers who flitted about the place living only to please themselves to imported workhorses, slaving for hours every day for an absolute pittance. And the weak Kiwi dollar wasn’t going to help matters either.

When we walked into the arrivals lounge and saw Gary’s old friends Paul and Caoimhe waiting for us with open beers though, things started to look up. Having never met our hosts before I was a little anxious about sleeping in their spare room for a week. What if they didn’t like me? What if I didn’t like them? A week can be a long time. Three hours after our arrival and two beer runs later I knew I had been worrying about nothing. Paul was every bit as funny as Gary had made him out to be and Caoimhe was just as friendly, both of them bending over backwards to make our stay in New Zealand as comfortable and alcohol-filled as possible.

There was really only so much they could do though. After a week in Auckland we had more or less had our fill of the city (not Paul and Caoimhe). There had been some nice distractions – a trip to volcanic Rangitoto Island that had provided some nice views of Auckland and a great walk. Dinner afterwards in a Devonport restaurant was a deliciously comfy affair too, dishing up a fantastic chicken pie and to die for homemade apple and rhubarb crumble – mmmm tastes like home…

The city itself has some memorable spots too. The National Museum for one is certainly worth visiting, the absolute highlight of which is the displays on Maori culture and history and the Maori cultural performance. There’s nothing like seeing the Haka live. It’s also hard to beat breakfast calzone in Vulcan Cafe followed by drinks down at the Viaduct (it was a late breakfast!) and with its fantastic boutique shops, awesome hostels (especially Verandah’s), lively bars and a good quality international food court Ponsonby is a pretty difficult neighbourhood to tear yourself away from.

With no jobs, no prospects on the horizon and no desire to sit around and wait until we ran out of money we decided to rent a campervan and tour the North Island. Sure we’d face reality when we got back. Of course a week turned into ten days and the wanderlust that had been painted over by months of far-too-easy travelling in Australia and New Zealand started to shimmer beneath the surface. Evenings spent urgently digging moats around our hot water hole in the sand, scenic drives through a faraway country and the rare freedom that living in a van afforded us left us secretly crossing our fingers that none of those jobs we applied for would get back to us (full post on the North Island to follow later.) By the time we got back to Auckland we had decided to take the plunge. We would take out loans and head straight to South America for four months instead of two and a half. There would be enough time for worrying about money and jobs when got back to Ireland.

Meanwhile, Gary’s cousin Sarah was waiting for us back in Auckland. In the spirit of offering her the same welcome that Paul and Caoimhe offered us, we escorted her to Cowboy’s and Indian’s immediately for a teary reunion and an full length update on her fantastic trip to South America. The next morning we were more excited than ever about the prospect of the next leg of our journey but a little less than enthusiastic about ever standing upright again.

Our second night out was a little less fun as we squeezed into the hoards of Kiwis in O’Hagans, shamrocks painted on our faces, for the Ireland vs All Blacks match. By half time we were rushing for the bathroom to scrub the paint off our faces and replace it with black eyeliner. A more bitter than sweet goodbye to Auckland to be sure.

To all our readers: We have a massive favour to ask. While we were in Auckland Gary managed to get himself into the finals of a photo competition called ‘My Auckland.’ The prize is a beautiful new Canon 550D which he will immediately be passing on to me. We really really need your support to beat the Kiwi entries because, although Gaz-bag’s entry is beautiful, we’re a little disadvantaged by playing on foreign soil. In return for your votes and all those you can drum up on our behalf, we promise you better photos and eternal love. Click here to vote (you’ll have to register first).

Thanks for reading the blog, hope you’re enjoying it!

There are more pictures from Auckland available in the gallery

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Entry filed under: Travel. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Playing it cool, Melbourne. Australia The tortoise or the hare? The North Island, New Zealand

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Laura  |  June 16, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Maori is the word your looking for xx

    Reply
  • 2. Ceebag  |  June 24, 2010 at 12:24 am

    “Paul was every bit as funny as Gary …had made him out to be”

    Phew! Was worried there for a sec….

    P.S. didn’t get time to read to the end but what’s with the sepia-toned hottie?

    Reply

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Thanks for coming to visit us – stay tuned to watch us argue, punch, kick, pinch and scream our way around some of the most beautiful parts of the world.

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