We indeed landed in Auckland, but we are a bit of a ways from the inner city. Our Airbnb is about 10 miles from where all the hub-bub is. In our effort to save money and sight-see we decided to walk. Yes, walk 10 miles. Now the thing is we have nowhere to be so our mentality is, "Why not walk"? And a walk it was. The best part was, we got to soak in so much! Speaking of soak, it rained, all day. It was also incredibly windy. But besides the weather, it was a gorgeous day.
Once in the inner city the first most noticeable thing was the ups and downs. Of course at this point we had walked 9 miles so even a tiny hill was noticeable, but still. At some points you can look out over the tops of trees at the street on the other side. The next thing we noticed was the inclusion of trees and and smaller plants. You couldn't walk more than a half mile without seeing a park in the city. The plant life here is something that deserves a post of its own.
Overall it was underwhelming. Our main purpose for going into the city was to get our transportation sorted out for Paihia and to open a bank account. The first was successful, the second… not so much. After some research we found out that we can just hop on a bus that will take us right to the Bay of Islands (Paihia). We bought the tickets which were about $30 US dollars each. We leave at about 10:15AM and arrive in Paihia at about 2:00PM. I'm so excited to get out of the "city" and into the more rural areas, but I'll talk more about that in a second. The banks! Ugh.. the banks… So, first of all, banks being closed on the weekend isn't just a US thing. We tried four times to find a bank called ASB, but every time we went to the location on Maps it was nowhere to be seen, apparently they're not meant for muggle eyes. Next, we decided to go with Kiwibank, but it's not open on the weekend. Defeated we decided to go with ANZ, the last bank of choice. We had went into an ANZ earlier but backed out wanting to go with ASB instead. We were further downtown at this point (mind you, we had walked about 14 miles at this point) so we approached a different branch than before… it was closed. Needless to say, we gave up. We're going to to tackle this bank thing in Paihia.
The city was disappointing for a few reasons. One of the main reasons for coming to NZ was to get away from the madness of the westernized world. We want to live more simply, quieter, more beautifully. Cities don't offer that. Auckland was like any other city, crowds on sidewalks, honking cars (nowhere near as bad as Stamford, CT though), all the hustle and bustle one would expect. We only had one full day here and we're both happy it's so.
If I had one PSA so far, it would be ordering at Starbucks. I asked for blonde roast (first mistake) but they don't keep any blends on "tap", it's all made to order. I can only assume this is because coffee must not be ordered often. She proceeded to ask if I wanted milk in it, to which I replied, "I'll just add it in myself", mistake number two. I guess they don't keep milks and creams for you to add, they have to do it. Also, they don't use half&half, they don't even have it! So I asked for milk, she gave me 20 milk options, I just said "milk" again. I received my coffee a few min later with a cup of milk next to it. I'm going to use this trip as an opportunity to ween myself of coffee, wish me luck!
Until next time!