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A Breath of Fresh Air

NEW ZEALAND | Wednesday, 13 January 2010 | Views [387]

I loved New Zealand before we even landed.  I try not to have too many expectations when visitng a new place, but after my long-time desire to visit New Zealand, the view from the plane was enough to confirm that it would be every bit as beautiful as I'd expected. 

Arriving here was a great moment in my travel memory - a mixture of fulfillment and anticipation of what's to come.  Not to mention that Fijan "travel smell" had infiltrated us and evolved into that of sweat and mosquito coil smoke, so we were ready for a bit less humidity and an acutal shower. 

We'd barely gotten through customs at the Auckland airport when we were approached by someone asking if we wanted a ride into the city.  Normally I would have approached this situation with a bit more skepticism, but this guy was literally Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh as a twentysomething - striped t-shirt with slightly short khaki shorts, black socked pulled up over skinny legs and a genuine innocence about him.  He was there to pick up a German Couchsurfer, but had two extra seats in his car he didn't want to go to waste.  By the time he dropped us off at our hostel, Christopher (appropriately named) invited us to stay at his flat when space cleared up in a few days. 

In the meantime, we explored Auckland inside and out - from the immaculately clean city center and harbor, to hikes in the surrounding range to Fairy Falls, and the 360-degree city view from Mount Eden.  There is more green here than anyone could ask for, and one stroll through the trees was enough to make my day.

Though Auckland is New Zealand's largest city, it is as charming as a city could be - wecloming, smart, fresh, and friendly.  Even the gocery store made me smile - the cereal isle includes products like "Milkies," "Fruitsies," and "Scrumbles".

After two nights in an adorable neighborhood hostel and one at Christopher Robin's flat, we rented a car for the next few days' journey around the East Cape.  Stay tuned for adventures from the other side of the road!

Tags: arrival, auckland, new zealand

 

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