Another day, another country. We arrived in Auckland, New Zealand (NZ) today.
Arriving in Auckland – the airport concourse
The wake-up call from the Hotel Reception came through at 04:30 as the shuttle bus to the airport was to pick us up at 05:00. We were on time but he was 10mins late. On the way we picked up 3 other passengers and he had clearly been expecting another as he spent some time waiting at another place of accommodation without any sign of anyone coming out. Surprisingly, we still managed to arrive at the airport by 06:00 giving us ample time to check in, go through immigration and get to the gate for boarding.
Being Senior Citizens we discovered that self-check in is quite daunting. We always needed assistance. On the other hand, being a physically assisted passenger, I was very surprised at the poor service received in both Australia and NZ and the best service was at South African airports.
We were met at Auckland airport by a representative of NZ Self Drive Tours who had arranged our self-drive tour through the country. It was so good to feel a bit cared for and have the load of bookings taken from us for a while. They proved to be excellent travel agents and there was not one problem. The representative took us to our hotel and ensured that we were settled in.
As we had the afternoon free we walked the immediate area and discovered that it was fairly steep to walk but there were a number of interesting shops and decorative buildings. As seems to be happening in so many cities and towns these days the number of restaurants was almost mind-blowing. Every second outlet was a food place.
Beautiful art-deco building
At the top of the hill was a large intersection with few buildings to the left but, to the right, was another Chinatown. This time there was no archway as we had seen in Washington DC, and San Francisco. Shop after shop was Chinese food or electronics.
On this street, which intersected at the top of a hill with the street continuing steeply down the other side, there were 2 cute small bronze sculptures. One was a little girl playing with an elephant and the other of a little boy offering a chilli to a pig!
Pig fighting for the chilli
Little girl with an elephant
In the area there were 2 churches, Baptist and Methodist, and between the Central Fire Station. Made one wonder if there had been too much smoke on a few occasions so the fire station was placed there.
The Central Fire Station
Pitt St Methodist Church
At the bottom of the hill things were quite different. There was a movie theatre and the film that was showing was “Peter Pan goes wrong’”. Sounded interesting.
The Movie Theatre
There was a square where small markets were selling their wares. Many were packing up as it was late Saturday afternoon. Up the hill we found the Auckland SkyTower and agreed to asccendthe Tower after we had finished with the hop on/hop off bus the following day. There was an hotel with a very high clock tower and that became our beacon whenever we weren’t sure of directions.
Auckland Sky tower at the back and the Clock tower to the right
We were also looking for a supermarket and eventually found one down a beautiful tree lined street after we had been given a number of different directions so discovered that we had actually walked far further than necessary. We worked out the shorter route back and by then were rather tired having been up from 04:30.
All we wanted was a warm shower and bed but not to be. The water was cold but we had showers anyway. We reported the water problem to the Reception the next morning and they said that they knew about it but, as it was Sunday, it could only be repaired the following day. I don’t know how many others were affected but it was quite annoying that they had said nothing when we had checked in.