Arriving In Auckland

We’re in New Zealand! Hooray! It’s been quite a busy day travelling wise, obviously not as much as our initial arrival in Australia, but we’ve finally made it and I’m ready to explore.

* * * * * * *

When the alarm burst alive this morning at 9am, I leapt up ready to get sorted and checkout. I was very excited to leave Brisbane again and explore somewhere new, even more so when I remembered we would be exploring a different country all together. Australia is such an amazing place and I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far but the thought of travelling somewhere completely new to us again, is an incredible feeling. Of course our flight was only at 16:30 so once we’d wandered downstairs to check out and shoved our things in the luggage room, we settled down for quite a long wait. As my mac charger had decided to play up we did briefly nip across the road to the Apple Store but just like most things, it decided to fix itself when we got there. Grrrrrrr. Back at the hostel and we went and passed a bit of time in the TV room. It’s always a lovely place to sit and sort things out and with the weather being so bad, there wasn’t much else for us to do. I’ve been wanting to enter the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition for a while now and with it closing in a week or so and not knowing whether I’ll be able to have access to the internet, I decided to make the most of the time we had and submit my entries. I’m not sure whether I have a chance at all but I’m really pleased with the pictures I sent in so I’m keep my fingers crossed! It’d be nice to even get through the first stage so I’m really hoping that I do!

Codie on the Air Train
Codie on the Air Train

After a couple of hours we nipped into Woolworths for a quick and easy lunch of buffalo wings, potato cakes and dim sims before heading off to catch the Air Train to the airport. It’s great to be able to just hop on from the centre of Brisbane and reach the airport in no time at all and without any of the hassle that goes with trying to get there in a taxi or a car. No traffic definitely makes things a lot less stressful which is perfect when you’re facing all the fun of baggage control! About half an hour later and we had arrived in the pouring rain and we quickly jumped off and made our way inside. Dragging our bags up the escalator and into the Departures hall, it felt quite strange being back there. All of a sudden if didn’t seem that long ago at all since we had first arrived and it also felt a bit weird knowing that the next time we’d be there, apart from getting back from New Zealand, we’d be on our way home. It’s definitely going to be quite weird going back to the UK and I think to begin with I might struggle with being in one place for so long though I do think that it’ll be nice to have some of those creature comforts again. Who knows. I’ll just have to wait and see.

Confiscated Customs Items
Confiscated Customs Items

Eventually, after I’d double checked my bag to make sure that I wasn’t carrying anything I shouldn’t be (the usual routine) we wandered over to the Air New Zealand desk to check in. It was quite quick as we’d done most of it online last night and so it was really just handing over our bags and that was it. Very simple. Well, it would have been if the machine hadn’t taken a dislike to Codie’s passport but even then it didn’t take too long to sort and we were soon off to wander into the depths of the airport. The next couple of hours were spent getting through security and pacing up and down the terminal, desperately looking for something cheap to eat and drink as we knew that by the time we got to Auckland nothing would be open. Everything seemed to be such a ridiculous price thought that we just ended up with a bottle of water and hoped that there would be some cheaper food available on the flight. Yes ok, it was a long shot but we definitely did not want to pay about $10 for a little sandwich so it seemed that risking it was the better option.

Waiting to leave
Waiting to leave

At 3:50pm it was finally time for us to board the plane and I was excited to just get going. The excitement went up a notch however when we saw the plane had screens on the backs of the seats and let you order food from your seat. Amazing! The last plane we’d been on had been the Jetstar flight from Cairns to Adelaide and that had been dirty, the flight attendant had yawned all the way through the safety demonstration and our pies had taken so long to heat, it felt as though we’d almost arrived at our destination by the time they’d arrived. This plane was definitely loads better and as we sank into our comfy seats, we sat back ready to begin our New Zealand adventure properly. That’s when it got even better. As the plane began to move and we went to take our place on the runway, a short video came up on the screen explaining all the safety procedures. You might think that “that’s not very interesting, most planes have that now” and yes they do but I’m pretty sure that theirs isn’t Hobbit themed. It was great! They had Elijah Wood, who played Frodo in Lord of the Rings, along with the guy who played Radagast and a couple of other people dressed up to explain what to do if anything happened. Every last bit of it was centred around Middle Earth and it really was the best one I’ve ever seen. New Zealand is well known for it’s links to Tolkien’s world and so it was perfect.

Leaving cloudy Brisbane
Leaving cloudy Brisbane

Ok, I say perfect, I was too distracted by what was going on to pay attention to the safety information so ended up having to read the sheet in front of me. As the flight progressed, things just got better and better as we discovered we could order a tasty snack on the screen. It was great! We opted for ham and cheese toasties which were absolutely delicious and well worth the money. Yum. I’m glad we went with Air New Zealand!

By the time we landed in Auckland at 22:45 (3 hours ahead of Brisbane), we were happy and ready to explore a new country even though we were absolutely shattered. Unfortunately, however,  I’d been taken over to one side to be questioned before being granted my tourist visa unlike Codie who’d managed to get away with doing it electronically. This meant that by the time we’d left the airport, my happy mood had faded a little bit and I just wanted to get in bed. I really hate airport security after watching programmes like Border Control as they’ve just made me so paranoid about it all. I know I haven’t done anything wrong or anything like that but I always think I’ll be denied and sent back home (damn you TV!). Luckily I was only asked where I was staying, thought I managed to forget that and ended up telling the woman the wrong place though she granted me my tourist visa and let me pass. Phew. A short while later and once we’d gone through the usual security procedures, we found ourselves outside and waiting for the Air Bus. It was the cheapest way to get to the city centre but also meant that we had quite a wait until it turned up so we perched on a bench and settled down.

At just before midnight (NZ time), we finally reached our hostel, the Queen Street Backpackers, and headed inside to check in. The Air Bus had stopped just across the road so we didn’t have much of a walk, which was good as we were shattered, though we did get to see the little green man on the crossing. Now, I hear you say, what is so great about the little green man? The answer to that is…he walks! He actually moves! None of these stationary little green men telling you you can go and then standing there lazily. Oh no. These ones actually moved as if to say “hey, follow me. It’s safe to cross now.” I loved them.

Plane view
Plane view

I’m not sure whether that was down to sheer exhaustion or not be I really thought they were great. Good old Auckland, at least someone’s trying to make crossing the road more interesting! Anyway, after climbing some very unwelcome steps, we made it to the reception and checked in ready for a rest. Annoyingly we were told that we’d been put in different rooms on completely different floors and so even after paying for two rooms, we ended up just staying in one. After the busy day we’d had, I really couldn’t be bothered not having anyone to talk to or annoy so it seemed like the best option and I was more than happy to do that.

So, with one key in hand, we climbed up some more steps and eventually reached our room. Gingerly opening the door so as not to wake anybody up we carefully stepped inside in the dark and were hit by the most powerful smell ever. It was so grim. A combination of sick and sweat, it smelt as though the room hadn’t been cleaned for weeks and I really, really did not want to go inside. Ew. Sadly I didn’t have the choice so holding my breath, we ventured inside. I have to say, my first impressions of the hostel weren’t looking too great and I was quite looking forward to leaving for the Bay of Islands. Shame really as I was hoping that our first night in New Zealand would have been really fun.

Auckland
Auckland

Once we’d located the bed and survived the intense heat (there didn’t seem to be any air con), we realised that we really needed to eat and so went back to reception where we’d spotted a vending machine completely forgetting that it wouldn’t accept Australian dollars. Grrrrr. We ended up wandering around Auckland on a little late night tour to find somewhere and luckily found a little corner shop which sold crisps and drinks. It wasn’t the best meal in the world but it’d have to do. When we got back, we devoured our packed-full-of-nutrients snacks then headed off to the room to try and get some rest. It wasn’t easy with the heat, with sick smell wafting around and the noisy music drifting through the window but we managed and it wasn’t long until we were both fast asleep.

The hostel wasn’t quite what I’d been expecting and I kind of wish I’d booked somewhere else however Auckland looked like a lovely little city and I was really looking forward to exploring some more. Of course with us heading off to Kerikeri pretty much straight away, we didn’t have the chance to then but I’m excited to get back and have a proper look around. So far New Zealand seems like a great place and I’m glad we’ve decided to pay it a visit. It would have been such a shame not to!

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