In May 2008, I went travelling on my own for the first time and was out of England for a month. Along the way I took in Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Thailand before coming home. I kept a journal of my time on the road, so here’s a day by day account of my trials and tribulations that has the undeserved title of Dave’s Odyssey.
Day 15 – Auckland
My leisurely day in Auckland involved very little. The morning began with trying to find where the group would be having breakfast. Sky City has six restaurants but lucky for me I was correct first time.
After breakfast I headed on the long path to Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World, at least that was the idea. I’d heard a couple in our group were going there by bus but I opted for a walk. I must have been walking along the seafront for nearly two hours and still no sign of Kelly or her Underwater World. In the end I gave up and turned back!
The morning wasn’t wasted at least. The seafront offered some terrific views and I even got chance to wander the beach at one point. I chose not to remove my shoes and am grateful I stuck to that. Thousands of shells with a myriad of colours and designs formed a rich carpet on the sand and could have cut one’s feet up pretty good given the chance.
I had planned to go to the Auckland Museum after the Underwater World and I did find my way there at least. I think you were supposed to get a ticket and make a donation before seeing the displays but I did neither. In my defence the ticket staff didn’t stop me when I walked right past them. It’s not as if they were looking the other way either, I spoke to them before I went in!
The Auckland Museum wasn’t as good as Te Papa in Wellington but the displays were still impressive. There were sections on volcanoes, inhabitants on land and sea, the Maori and a whole floor devoted to the conflicts New Zealand has been a part of. Floral tributes decorated the rooms and the seemingly endless names of the fallen soldiers covered the walls. You forget just how many countries were involved in the World Wars.
After the museum I found some forest walks right on the doorstep of the museum so tackled a couple of these. Unfortunately, one of them led me right back to the museum and I found myself covering old ground again.
I chose to head back to the city because my feet were now beginning to ache. I’d left the hotel before 10.00 and it was now mid-afternoon. I must have walked at least four hours and covered a fair few miles in the process. As I closed on the city centre the skies darkened and rain began to fall. I won’t complain because we’d been blessed in New Zealand when it came to the weather. Okay, it wasn’t exactly warm but both our drivers – Dave and Cameron – had insisted a lot of the sights we had seen over the last two weeks were often hidden by clouds for other touring groups.
Taking shelter from the rain I felt my hours of walking justified a takeaway. It hadn’t been an overly eventful day but others in my group were just going to hit the shops all day so I felt I’d branched out a little more than some. A relaxing day I didn’t mind because it was all change next day. The time had come to say goodbye to New Zealand and hello to Australia. We had to be out of our rooms by 11.00 yet Cameron didn’t show till 12.00! We were faced with hanging around the lobby for an hour. I couldn’t see anyone venturing too far with their suitcases in tow!
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