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Saturday, 4 September 2010

Auckland City 4th September 2010

My first impressions of Auckland are mixed, a lot like the weather!

As we descended into the Airport at 12:15am local time - precisely 11 hours ahead of the UK; the plane was bullied by the gale-force winds and we landed with quite a bump which woke Mel from her slumber with quite a shock. Speaking of shocks, as we landed; a 7.something earthquake hit Christchurch and from what I can gather, the damage is severe down there. We'll fill you in with first hand tales as and when we arrive there, or hook-up with fellow travelers who are there as I write this.

By 2am; we had managed to find our way to the inner-city YHA via a shuttle bus and after a good nights sleep, set about starting the next chapter of our lives 17,000 KM's away on the other side of the world. We have set up bank accounts, bought a new Sim for our phone, collected some new camping gear and even had a free lunch - courtesy of walking past Domino's Pizza at exactly the right time!

Auckland is a blend of architecture and culture, both European and Polynesian. The buildings flanking Queen Street which leads from our hostel down to the harbour area show the influence European settlers have had on the city. We have walked past Victorian, Art Deco and contemporary designs. There are plenty of sky scrapers - you can even bunji-jump off the tallest of them if you've got a loose screw or two!

There are massive Internet cafes which are open for 24 hours and from listening to those around me, an enormous number of foreign visitors frequent them, Facebooking the world, whilst the South-Eat Asians continue to play war games with every sinew of enthusiasm as those we have witnessed elsewhere in the world. If 'big brother' had designed computers to control the masses; to keep us all inside, to stop us from thinking too much, to fry our brains in order that we wouldn't start the revolution that 60's hippies foresaw back in the day, then 'big brother' is winning! There is a 50hr special membership card for this Internet cafe and it would be possible to stay here for the duration. You can buy snacks, use the lovely toilet and never see the light of day, as it is underground. Those reading may think that this is far fetched, but there are people in here who have been in here for an age - there hair has started to entwine with the fabric of the chair they are sitting on it seems!

We walked down to the harbour earlier today in the sun, rain and wind to investigate what to do tomorrow. We think that we will go over to one of the neighbouring active volcano's and have a little look at it's active centre, because we're sensible like that, what with all the earth quakes and stuff, you know? It is a short trip, we will take a ferry across, hike up to the top of the volcano and then hike back before taking the ferry back to the main harbour. Hopefully we will be able to see whales or dolphins on the way over. I hope it doesn't rain too much! I bought a new fleece today, it's much warmer than the clothes I have already, so it should suit the colder climate down here. It was 28c in Brisbane and it's 15c at best today.

The next few days will be fun, we have to find the bicycles, as that will be our main transport here in the early stage of our time in New Zealand and we will also have to figure out exactly where we are going to start cycling from. It is most likely that we will start by heading north, the temperature is pleasant up there in early spring. We will eventually work our way south to investigate the rest of the north island, before crossing to explore the delights of the south island. We can't wait!

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