Aukland – Saturday 28th January 2012


It would be the easiest thing in the world to stay at Lianne’s. But we have agreed to stay at another Aukland house, belonging to my friend from Melbourne’s dad.
The original idea was to pick up some basic camping equipment and stay the night. Turns out, Ross has gone fishing up in Doubtless Bay but he has left the key and all our camping equipment ready, and offers us his empty house.
I’m anxious not to intrude too much on Lianne. I remember only too well, what it is like to start a new academic year. It takes it out of you. Having house guests,however lovely, can be very distracting!
So we move down the road, to the harbour. Walking round is very interesting. It’s a holiday weekend and the place is rather empty. There’s loads of shops and cafes as we walk down to the harbour to get a view of the bridge.

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We spend the day, walking, writing, blogging, and generally enjoying Aukland life.

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Muriwai Beach, Mount Eden – Monday 16th January 2012


Muriwai Beach is a curious black, which shines like gold dust in the sun. If you dig a little, the gold disappears and it turns to fine black sand.

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Up on the top of the stacks and down the cliff ledges 1,200 gannets have made their home. The babies begin life as white fluff and soon molt to juveniles of a striking black and white pattern. Their parents have butter cream yellow heads and greet each other with adoring neck embraces; probably to stimulate regurgitation of fish!

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Mount Eden was one on the many, hopefully, extinct volcanoes around Aukland. They form conical hills, dotting over the flat land. At Mount Eden, the view is spectacular and 360 degrees over Aukland. A massive crater sits in the hill!

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From there is was a short drive to the War Memorial Museum. Our whistestop tour through volcano and earthquake information, reinforces how fundamental this is for New Zealand. They also had great Maori artifacts.
We had also stopped off at a winery for a quick tasting and bought some excellent Pinot Gris.
Ending the day with a BBQ and watching “The Social Network” seemed to make it a perfect day.

Aukland and good friends – Sunday 15th January 2011


Up, pack, drive, drive, have coffee, drive and then drive some more.

It’s all straight forward and we make good time. So much so we stop off in Aukland city to seek the treasure of a mobile connection in New Zealand. In Australia, we bought a device from Vodafone, which was brilliant but a little pricy. As small as a mobile phone, it connects up to 5 devices using 3G. We thought it would work in NZ but no… And worse still it is locked and will not accept the vodaphone NZ SIM card. Naughty Vodafone I say!

We had asked in Wellington and been told there were lots in Aukland, but no luck! The first shop is shut (it’s Sunday) the second looks up on their database and says there are none in the city but one 40 kilometers away, “but you won’t want to drive there!”.
“We have driven 400 kilometers,” we say “another 40 makes no difference!”

As luck would have it, turns out it is not that far from our friend, Leanne’s house.

We met Lianne when traveling in Egpyt nearly 10 years ago. Thanks to Facebook, she has realized we are traveling in New Zealand and offered to show us around. It’s amazing! We feel so lucky! This is the second time friends have helped us out with accommodation.

She has two dogs. When I say I’m not really a dog person, I mean I only ever had one when a child. I really like all animals but have three cats back in England. Hers are wonderful creatures.

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They moved recently to a new build and it is really interesting to look round the houses in progress. Her poor husband! He has never met us and yet accepts us with warmth. I feel this will be a very different part of our journey, but a very relaxing one.

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