BootsnAll Travel Network

New Zealand Arrival and Trip Planning

I left the hostel at 3:00 am to catch my plane to Auckland. Upon arrival in customs, I was grilled particulary hard. They either didn’t like the fact that I didn’t have a prearranged place to stay, or I fit the description of someone who did something not so nice. It could also be the fact that I am currently the darkest I have ever been in my life. I actually had to show them that I had enough money for my stay in the country.

After I checked into the Queen Street Backpackers in Auckland, I heard someone hollering “Hola” at me. They thought I was Brazilian as a group of dark Brazilians had just checked into the hostel. I spent my first day in Auckland getting a hair cut and making some phone calls. I also uploaded my Cook Island pictures for those of you who haven’t seen them yet.

On Thursday, I started doing research for the first part of my trip here. I have rented a car for the next three weeks and will be leaving Auckland on Sunday. I went to the Department of Conservation Office to get some information. I planned my travel route with the help of a really nice lady on duty there. This actually involved us sitting on the floor in front of a large carboard cut-out of New Zealand, and getting her to point out various places that were interesting to see. Upon leaving there, I saw that the weather had cleared up some as it had been raining. I decided to catch the ferry to Devonport (a suburb across the harbor from Auckland) and climb Mt Victoria. Auckland and the surrounding area is full of these little mini volcanoes that stick up out of the city at various points. The last one erupted 600 years ago. From Mt Victoria, I got good views of downtown Auckland and all the other mini volcanoes.

On Friday, I did the coast to coast walk in Auckland. This four hour walk is a 13-15 km walk which crosses Auckland from one harbor to the next going through parks and across several of the volcanoes. The brochure that I picked up said that this trail was well marked, but this turned out not to be the case. I completed the walk, but was very frustrated by the end as I spent half my time backtracking. Huge sections of the track were not marked, or marked in a way that required significant hunting around to find out where I needed to go. I did enjoy climbing Mt Eden and was a bit amused by the signs telling people not to go into the crater as it is fragile and easy to damage. Yet, the crater is full of cows eating and munching away. The walk also passed through Cornwall Park which is a working farm, so I had to be on the lookout for the errant sheep. After my walk, I decided to go ahead and convert to my winter wardrobe as it is very windy here. (I was almost blown into Mt Eden with the cows) and somewhat cold with the highs in the mid 60’s. This involved zipping my legs back on my pants and digging out my fleece which has been crammed in the bottom of my backpack for 1.5 months now. That night, I went to a nearby pub with a group of Irish girls and a Scotsman, and no I don’t have pictures of them. I put on my best clothes which were my clothes I was already wearing as they all look the same and switched from sandals to hiking boots.

Today I am doing laundry, updating the blog, and going shopping for supplies for the next three weeks. The car rental company is coming by tomorrow at 8:30 am to pick me up. I get to try to drive out of a huge city on large roads, (on the left hand side of the road). I am starting the trip by myself, but hope to find people who may want to split the cost of the car with me. Most of the people I have met in Auckland are either working here or leaving soon.

I am currently watching with some distress as the US dollar self-destructs in the currency markets. What has been a gradual decline has turned into a free for all sell off. In the last week the exchange rate for the NZD vs the USD has gone from about 1.42 to about 1.35 with, according to the financial news, no end in site. The exchange rate a year or two ago was 1.65 NZD to the USD. It is even worse in Australia, my next destination. The Indian rupee also just hit an 8 year high versus the dollar. This is the basis for the currency in Nepal which is another of my big destinations. If this continues, I will have to find ways to cut down the cost of my trip significantly or cut my trip short.

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2 Responses to “New Zealand Arrival and Trip Planning”

  1. Dogwood Dell Says:

    Not surprised you were questioned extensively upon arrival at one of your destinations. Did we not warn you (via joking and ribbing) that such an event may occur?

    When one young good-looking fella walks up to customs with a dark skin color (tanned or not), they may take you for someone from middle/central Asia.

    It appears you handled the situation well – plans or no plans.

    Nonetheless, I’m sure you are catching the eye of every NZ female on the islands.

    Safe travels!

  2. Posted from United States United States
  3. Joe Says:

    Hey Barry – Just checkin’ in to see how you’re doing. All seems well. Don’t you dare cut that trip short! Had dinner with Preeti lastnight. You were the main topic of conversation! You just don’t know how many people are living vicariously through you and your travels! Stay safe & have fun! – Joe

  4. admin Says:

    I will do what I can. When the money is gone its gone. I am open to outside funding:)

  5. Posted from New Zealand New Zealand
  6. Preeti Says:

    See – here’s a reason to be glad your last name doesn’t end in “-ani.” They might not have let you in at all…

  7. Posted from United States United States

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