Arriving in New-ZealandWe are taking of on February 20th, morning from Taipei with a grey sky. First we are flying to Bangkok, it takes four hours. Then we need to wait seven hours before our flight to Auckland, located on the North island of New Zealand. In total, the flight time is 15 hours to do 12,369 kilometers.
We land in Auckland for lunch time. In France, it's midnight (12 hours difference) and in Taipei 7 am (5 hours difference). The first thing we do upon arrival is to get a SIM card for our time there. We go for Spark that offers 3 Go of Internet, 200mn of local call and 200 minutes internal call for 43 NZD.
We now need to go through the customs... Before getting to New-Zealand, I read that having some sports or camping equipment, we need to declare. New Zealand is very careful with what you bring on their territory, especially in term of animals, food and plants. We declare our tent and the small quantity of dry food we have. After few questions from the customs, they need to inspect our luggage. They want to check closely our tent, and verify in a lab the dust that it might carry. After 5 minutes waiting we can get our tent back - cleared. Here we are in the middle of the arrival hall, packing up our tent!
We now need to get to the Air BnB where we will spend our two first nights. We take a bus and then the local trains. The trains are very similar to the one we had in Sydney, Australia. They are new and clean. Once arrived, we load off our bags and we are out to the city center of Auckland.
Visiting AucklandWe go around the city to visit the main spots: the harbour, Aotea square, the St Patrick Cathedral, Sky tower and Albert's park. We don't go too much in details as tomorrow we will do a Free Walking City tour that goes through the same spots.
I definitely recommend the Free Walking tour if you go to Auckland. The guides are acknowledgeable and you will learn more about the history of the city and New Zealand in general.
Geologically speaking, New Zealand is very young and the island is mainly due of volcanic activity and earthquakes. Around Auckland we can see many hills that are in fact old volcanos. The next afternoon we go on one of them, the Mount Eden to have a 360 degrees view.
We then go to the art gallery Toi o Tāmaki and visit the Gallipoli exhibition, and look at some pantings. The most impressive is the paintings from C.F.Goldie and his maoris portrait dating back of late 1800.
On the morning of February 23th, we go back to the city center to get our rental car. For 43 days, we will drive around the North and South island. At first, the company do not look well organized. Our appointment was planned for 10am and they though it was 12pm. So.. they give us the only car available for this period of time. A Mini Cooper S! From what we pay we should have got a more entry car, like a Suzuki Swift. At first I am sceptic because the car is new, and the car is flashy. Well, we accept and here we are seated in a brand new Mini Cooper S.
And who says brand new... says, it needs a little scratch to start the adventure! Not used to the driving on the left anymore, and not used to the car, the rim get scratch while parking along the pavement. GG Adeline... Hopefully, they will not take it into account.
Plus de photos...