NZ10+ : Day 05 : AUCKLAND

Friday 21/03/08

Only way to put my mind at ease was to ask for a private room. I can’t afford this for the whole trip, but with my bag paranoia, bag being so badly packed anyhow, and with idiot potential, I maybe sorely tempted. Again, I hope getting in a group and/or being out of the cities will alleviate this paranoia.

But this part of Auckland does look crap. Run down, horrible. Can’t wait to leave. Put bag in paid locker as I can’t check in until 12:30, so just spent the morning wandering around. Everything is shut due to it being Good Friday. And my phone cards won’t work either.

Really, really want to speak to Hazel, I miss her so much.

So far, I hate being a back-packer. I hope NZ itself outweighs the shittiness I've experienced so far. Must get over bag-paranoia; it will mess me up. Gonna try and get on a cruise later, then maybe cinema for a film. Nowt else to do, and don’t want to drink at the hostel in case the idiot (pill-head) is there. I would much rather chill out and get ready for the bus tomorrow.

SOUNDTRACK: “Where Did It All Go Wrong?” by Oasis




Okay, the private room more than paid for itself. Furthermore, the budget may stretch to a private room every night if I really need it to. Have to remember that I have to pay at least a possible £2000 of this off when I get back.

Knowing I had the room, I moped back to the hostel, had a quick shower and legged it to the harbour only to find that I had set my watch an hour behind. Luckily a different boat tour was running just a few minutes later, and so I got on that boat and enojyed a beer.

After the boat, I found a bar and chilled out on Princes Wharf with two more beers. Auckland looking a bit livelier at this point. Went for a Nandos, cheered right up. As soon as I got back to room, I went to bed without even getting undressed.


I distinctly remember trying to do the maths of the time-difference, and waiting for a sensible time to try and ring Hazel or my Mum. I think I got through to them eventually, and definitely scared the hell out of a very worried Hazel by moaning from the other side of the planet that “it was all s***, I nearly got mugged, and I want to go home. Gotta go now, Bye.”

I must have spoken or emailed them not long after on a subsequent day, so they were not left on this cliff-hangar for too long, but I know it must have worried them a bit.

Auckland is a big City, but in that pre-Google Maps era, it never occurred to me to look at jumping on a bus and exploring anything beyond the city centre, which I wasn’t too impressed with. The heat and a combination of most things being closed due to the Easter weekend just made me feel a bit desolate. Things were much livelier around the quay, and that’s where I spent most of my time.

Interesting to note that I set my watch wrong, but I suppose further evidence of the quite shocking lack of sleep I seemed to have been suffering from. The diary reads as if I’ve had only one day’s sleep since leaving Manchester!

The boat trip was a really nice memory actually, and similarly to the Singapore bus that took us to the Safari and back, a small commentary was provided that told us a little bit more about Auckland and the various islands around the bay.

I also took what has to be one of my favourite ever photographs whilst on that boat. A picture of two couples, all with that beautiful old ‘leather’ skin earned by spending their later years either being native to such sun-kissed lands, or having one heck of a retirement world tour. All four of them were soaking in the sights, not saying a word to each other, evidently all comfortable in each other’s company, and totally chilled out. I found them quite inspiring, and that picture gives me something to look forward to emulating in my later years!

All joking about my Nando’s spicy sauce obsession aside, a decent and familiar meal evidently did a lot for my morale. I remember having those drinks back at the quay in a nice quiet bar, and actually for the first time since I'd left I was enjoying the solitude. As the sun went down, I got a wee bit merry!

I distinctly remember getting back to my private room, and a wave of tiredness approaching on the mental horizon. I saw it coming, had time to put my bag down and say to myself, "I’ll just rest here a minute" and then boom – lights out. I’ve never been that tired or slept that well ever since!