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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Kiwis, Sailing, and Sky towers

NEW ZEALAND | Saturday, 7 January 2006 | Views [989]

Auckland: a very lively city!

Auckland: a very lively city!

Today was the first day of my New Zealand adventure. I got off the plane, went through customs and got my passport stamped. I have three stamps now. While waiting in line at customs I saw a number of people from Niue, which is a dependency of New Zealand. I stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast and got pancakes. It was my first time spending New Zealand money and like in Australia, the smallest denomination is the five-cent piece. I then stepped outside and it was nice and cool. I could already tell you how amazing this place is, and I was only at the airport. I didn’t have a transfer included in my trip, so I took a shuttle to downtown Auckland. I was amazed to see how green the landscape was. New Zealand is definitely a place with my name all over it! On the way I was talking with some travellers about New Zealand’s flightless birds, such as the kiwi and the takahe. I got dropped off at my hotel and found out the tour director wouldn’t be there until 11:00 and it was 8:30, so I put my luggage in a locker at the hotel and ran up to the top floor to get some pictures. I took a picture of the Auckland Skytower, which was my first picture here. I decided to go out and do some shopping. Most of the souvenir stores weren’t open yet, but I stopped for a drink and got some postcards. I went to use the public bathroom, and music plays when you lock the door and the toilet flushes when you open the door. It’s really weird! I then walked up to harbour, which is Waitemata Harbour, and looked across. It’s beautiful, just like Sydney Harbour. The gift shops opened at 9 AM, and I stopped and got a cloth map of New Zealand with a Maori chief on the front. The Maoris know New Zealand as “Aotearoa,” meaning “Land of the Long White Cloud.” I also found a New Zealand jacket that matches my Australia jacket. It was $42. I have to watch my money for the first week of my trip. At 11:30 I had to walk to this tour place down the street from the hotel to start my tour. The driver was very funny and cracked all kinds of jokes along the way. He also pointed out Rangitoto Island, and that it is a dormant volcano. I thought all of the volcanoes in the Auckland area were extinct. There are also two other dormant volcanoes across the bay that have homes built on them. I wouldn’t want to live there! Our first stop of the day was Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World. We saw gentoo and emperor penguins, and we walked through a replica of Robert Falcon Scott’s cabin. It’s sad that he died during his journey in Antarctica, but the cabin was really interesting. I saw some of the clothes worn in the Antarctic on the journey. As we continued on, our guide told us that Auckland is known as the “City of Sails” because 1 in 4 of its residents has access to a boat. Our next stop was the Auckland Zoo. There I saw a tuatara, which is a reptile that looks like a lizard but is placed in its own order and is only found on Stewart Island. We also saw the tigers get fed, watched the orangutans, and saw a crocodile. The third stop was the New Zealand National Maritime Museum. It was so awesome! There were many boats built by the Maoris. I took some pictures, including one with me on one of the boats. Then we went sailing on Waitemata Harbour. The guides gave us some tea and muffins. Once we were in full swing, we each got to sail the boat. Yea, I’m a sailor! We sailed for about an hour and afterward, we each got a free ticket to the Auckland Skytower. It got a meatball sandwich at Subway and then walked back to my room and checked in. I relaxed for a few minutes and then decided to walk down to the Skytower, which is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere. I previously thought the Sydney Tower was the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, but I learned here that it’s the Skytower. I walked along and stopped for something to eat at Burger King. They don’t have chicken tenders here, so I got a chicken sandwich with fries. I gave a homeless man some change, and then I continued along and then got a wooden postcard with a map of New Zealand. I’ve never seen anything like it. I have to remember to get an upside-down map of the world, which I forgot to get in Australia. To me, New Zealand is on top of the world. I entered the sky tower and I was brought way, way up. I have to admit that the scenery of Auckland is better than Sydney. All around me I can see water! With such a diverse landscape, this place is totally a geographer’s paradise! Up in the tower, there was glass you could stand on to look below. I took a picture of the street below from the glass and then took a picture standing on it. Those will be cool pictures to show everyone. I then paid $3 to go up to the Sky deck. I stayed up there for a few minutes to get more pictures. After coming back down to the main deck, I met a very beautiful girl from Germany named Maxi. She was here with her parents and a friend, and had lived in Australia for a few months. It was love at first sight and I got her email, which I will write to her very soon. I spent about fifteen minutes with her and got a picture. She also showed me some pictures of Uluru, which I hope to see someday. We were enjoying the sunset together. She gave me a nice hug before she had to leave but I felt lonely again. I sat up in the Skytower for about an hour and got a night picture of Auckland before leaving. Afterward I walked around the gift shop. There wasn’t anything I wanted though. Auckland at night is so beautiful, and the sun sets at roughly 9 PM. Auckland reminds me of Sydney in a lot of ways, especially with its nightlife. I found some Tim Tam Cookies at the market. I’m glad they have them here, and I still remember Nora telling me about them. I then walked around down the street from my hotel and talked to some pretty girls. This one girl was very nice and she hugged me. She was here with some friends. I hung out with her for like 15 minutes and then said good night and I walked back to my hotel room. New Zealand is so beautiful, even though I haven’t even left the city yet. I’m going to bed; see you tomorrow because I’m jetlagged and exhausted.


Tags: culture

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