I am now among the Kiwis! New Zealand is absolutely beautiful and the people I’ve met here are all so nice! The shuttle driver that delivered me to downtown Auckland informed me that Kiwis are lazy at heart so I wouldn’t need to worry about my safety. He said that, because of their laziness though, theft was possible so I would need to watch my belongings. So far so good!
Checking in for my flight from Sydney to Auckland seemed like it was going to be a breeze! However, I quickly found out that it wasn’t going to work out that way! I had researched visas for most places I intend to visit and there was nothing where New Zealand was concerned. It turns out that you must have your departure flight booked before you can even check in to your flight going TO New Zealand!! Thankfully, Sydney International Airport has good wifi so I bought a coffee and surfed til I found the cheapest and quickest flight to Cairns, my next destination!
My shuttle driver delivered me to Sky City where I was to meet my Couchsurfing host once he was done refereeing soccer. That same night, there was a Couchsurfing get together at TwentyOne Bar on the third floor of Sky City so I left my backpack with the concierge and went up to meet whoever I would meet and have a couple of drinks. I adore Couchsurfing and the people on it! If you haven’t tried it and are a traveler, DO IT!!
I spent my first day wandering Auckland then met up with another Couchsurfer for dinner and a visit to the Sky Tower for sunset. The next day, I caught the ferry to Waiheke Island to wander and take a wine tour. Waiheke Island is absolutely beautiful and I plan to go back before I leave if at all possible!! Of course, the wine was amazing as were the views!! Before I left, I went down to Oneroa Beach and the water felt like absolute silk on my feet!! The sand was so fine and felt like silk too!! Yes, I want to go back for more!!
My Couchsurfing host, Roberto (a transplanted Italian), had plans to go camping over the weekend and invited me. I had my camping gear so said yes! We headed to the “bush” on Friday but the campground he always stays at was booked up for a wedding so we made a leisurely drive up toward Coromandel and ended up camping in Hahei. Absolutely beautiful beach, campground, and hiking (to Cathedral Cove).
I’m loving what I’ve seen, the people I’ve met, and the journey so far! One of the backpackers at the campground is headed my way so I’ll move forward ridesharing for now (ie. he has the car and I’ll pay for the gas). So far, North Island wanderings have been fabulous!!
I eventually left the North Island and spent quite a few weeks on the South Island. Then I traveled to the North Island’s west coast and back to Auckland. Before departing lovely New Zealand, I visited the Waitomo Caves to see the glow worms. What a sight!! It shouldn’t be missed if you can fit it into your schedule!! Unfortunately, no photos were allowed.