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Auckland

Our accommodation for Auckland is a bit unusual. We are staying in someone’s house but we do not know them and they are not here. We found the house through AirBnB because most of Auckland is full this weekend because of India vs Zimbabwe in the cricket world cup. Arriving at the house based on the address sent to us, the key was under the mat and we let ourselves in. We were greeted by Puccini the cat but no people.

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The house is extremely nice. It is in a quiet street close to the trendy Ponsonby area. We have a private room and use of the living space that is all very well finished. Normally the host Tanya would be here to meet us however she had to go away this weekend, as such we have the run of her home instead. Very trusting indeed!

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After a busy day at the thermal site and then Hobbiton we didn’t do much on our first evening here. Just a quick walk to the main street where we had a delicious and plentiful Turkish meal, a wander to look at the local nightlife (no sampling as we were tired and have an early start) then home to bed. Exploring Auckland begins properly tomorrow.

Saturday 14th March

Another Saturday morning and another parkrun! Today we were at Cornwall Park. This is a big park next to ‘One Tree Hill’. This was on our list of sites to see so a run combined with sightseeing seems an efficient use of time! The run was good but hard work – surprisingly hilly, and hot considering it was only 8am. One run not being enough, Rich then decided to run up One Tree Hill to look at the view. The view was very impessive, and gave us a good impression of Auckland, but by the time we got to the top we were distinctly hot and sweaty.

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As always with parkrun, we stopped by the local cafe for a quick bit of breakfast, and got talking to 2 expats who spent the entire time telling us how easy it would be to move to New Zealand. Very tempting based on what we have seen over the last 2 weeks.

Given that it had turned into a lovely hot sunny day, we decided to go a drive along the coast, past some of Auckland’s priciest houses to Mission Bay. It was good to cool off in the sea (which was still freezing) before heading back to Ponsonby for lunch.

We had allocated the afternoon to seeing the central sites of Auckland, and covered a fair bit of ground walking around, despite the fact that there isn’t very much to see in the centre of Auckland.

It turns out that another reason that all the hotels were booked up in Auckland is that we have arrived at the same time as the Volvo Ocean sailing race. This meant all by the harbour front was packed with crews, boats and spectators, which was interesting, but as we know very little about sailing, a little bit lost on us.

Once we had nosed around the harbour (including checking out the biggest private yacht in the world, yours for only $5 million a week) we went on an ice cream hunt, and ended up with some of the most extravagant ice creams I have ever seen. The shop doesn’t let you see the flavours but lets you try them all so that you make a decision based on taste alone – and then adds loads of toppings and extras (mine had gold glittery nuts and a meringue that the waitress toasted with a blow torch). They were amazing!

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Ice creams eaten we headed up the Skytower for sunset, which was a great way to finish off our sightseeing in Auckland before heading back up to Ponsonby, and a mound of Mexican food and margaritas.

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Sunday 15th March

Happy birthday (Vicki’s) Dad & Rob!

Our flight to Tahiti was at 4pm, and so what with dropping off the car and getting to the airport, we didn’t have chance to do a lot on our final day. We did manage to fit in a run around the local area, which is ridiculously hilly, and have a nice brunch at a local cafe. We may not have explored extensively on our last morning but it did make us feel like Auckland locals.

We are sad to say goodbye to New Zealand, as we have really enjoyed ourselves here, but we are looking forward to the next bit of our trip, Tahiti and Easter Island.

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