Finally! On January 2nd we flew to Auckland via Dubai. The second longest flight in the world. The only things for our 6 week trip I booked in advance were:
- the campervan
- a ticket to Christchurch
- a hotel for our first nights in Auckland & Christchurch
- a kayak trip in Milford Sound
In Dubai we have 2,5 hours transfer time, in which we manage to drink the most expensive cup of average coffee in my life – lesson 1: take note of the exchange rates before buying – . After the whole Bridget Jones Diary series, multiplayer Tetris and half of the book ‘A streetcat named Bob’ we landed in Auckland at 11am, yay! When you watch programs like ‘Border Security’ you know how strict Oceania countries are when it comes down to environmental protection – and they have to! Take into account that for instance your hiking shoes and camping gear will be check on bio-hazardous material; make sure everything is dirt-free when you pack it.
Most hotels offer an airport shuttle, so did our hotel and we immediately made the second classic mistake of taking ‘a nap’ upon arrival in our hotel room. This of course became a full sleep cycle and we awaken in the middle of the night. I have to say that the time difference is so big that your body clock is upside down anyway, which makes it quite easy to adjust to a new rhythm. Hotels close to the airport are used to early departures and jet lags, so we were lucky that breakfast was served from 5am onwards.
In the afternoon we were flying to Christchurch, but because we woke up so early, we decided to explore Auckland a little bit. The hotel offered us a cheap taxi service to Auckland city. Auckland is the most populous urban area in New Zealand; one third of the 4.5 million kiwi’s live there. It is also the only city familiar with traffic jams, advantage of travelling in high season is that there are none :). Another advantage, compared to our Dutch climate, was that it was really nice weather. Auckland is situated in the north of New Zealand, on the 36th parallel of latitude, near the sea, a European city on similar latitude is Malaga. Though, Auckland is cooler in summer than this northern hemisphere city because of the moderating effects of the surrounding Pacific Ocean.
We started with a nice, and less expensive, cup of coffee in the Hilton cafe at the end of Princess Wharf. After that we headed to the Sky Tower to see Auckland from above. By the way, bookme.co.nz, one of the websites I recommended earlier, offers combi-tickets for visiting the Sky Tower. When we came down we had a quick lunch and it was already time to go to the airport for our flight to Christchurch. Tip: we flew with Jetstar Airways and when you check in online you can pass on your travel preferences, furthermore you also earn Skywards for your Emirates account (which you can spend on your next trip ;)).
In my next blog I will tell you about our adventures in Christchurch!