I am writing up my gap year travels from 2006-2007 so that I can self-publish a book to pass on to my niece and nephews. I hope they will read about my adventures and be inspired to explore themselves…and I hope you enjoy my travel tales.
Auckland, New Zealand, March 2006
My last weekend in Auckland was A LOT of fun! Nicole and I decided to hit the town on the Friday evening, starting off in Soul Bar which was situated right on the harbour, and we had a lovely time drinking some amazing NZ sauvignon blanc and eating fresh salt and pepper calamari whilst looking out on the boats and the water glistening in the sun. We were joined there by Nicole’s friend Carolyn and her husband Guy, and with them ventured on to ‘Minus 5’, an ice bar where we donned big, fur lined coats, gloves and fluffy boots to keep warm whilst we drank out of glasses made of ice, served from a bar made of ice, as we admired the ice sculptures (you get the idea!). When we came out we were a bit giggly, and the woman who took our coats back said it was because the oxygen levels were so low in there, but we figured it might have been down to the amount of alcohol we had consumed!
Guy left us after the ice bar and the three of us decided to go on to a club, so we managed to hail a Jafa Cab – were red rickshaws that took you all over the city for free…we ended up at a club called ‘Boogie Wonderland’ which, as the name suggests, played retro music. The dancefloor was made up of squares that lit up in different colours, and plenty of people were dressed up in flares and afros to team with the retro theme…very groovy! Nicole introduced me to feijoa flavoured vodka (which when she described it sounds much like a gooseberry) that we drank with apple juice. It was a great night spent on the dancefloor, and we all felt a little worse for wear the following morning!
On the Sunday we went to see the rugby – NZ Warriors vs. Melbourne Storm – at the Ericsson Stadium. As Nicole worked for Vodafone who sponsored the Warriors we got free tickets. Unfortunately, they lost 22-16, but it was a great atmosphere and I really enjoyed the experience of going to a game.
After my fun-filled weekend in Auckland I commenced my next trip up to the very north of the North Island, to the beautiful Bay of Islands. I booked a ‘3 Day Adventure’ trip through a travel agency in the city but wanted to stay in the area a bit longer so added on a couple of extra nights’ accommodation. As the bus was picking me up very early the next morning I decided to stay in the city the night before rather than at Nicole’s. As she dropped me off at the hostel it felt very much like leaving home again and I felt rather wobbly on my own, but I didn’t have much choice other than to get on with it. I stayed in the Auckland Central Backpackers, which was a nice enough place with a great looking bar called and restaurant. I wasn’t feeling quite brave enough to go in on my own so I retired to my bunk and tried to relax and get an early night, which proved rather difficult in a room full of strangers who were coming and going. However, I figured this was something I was just going to have to get used to over the coming year!
Links to previous Travel Tales
#3: Tug boats, peaks & pandas
#4: Islands, animals & markets
#5: Sunshine & hostels