Friday, 10 February 2017

Week 43.1 - Auckland, and the end of our New Zealand road trip

The good news is, we sold Eric for more than we paid for him and the guy who was rehoming him said we could keep him for our last few days in Auckland. The bad news is, Eric got stolen 2 days before we were due to complete the sale. Unfortunately, we noticed that the car was gone on Thursday morning with no signs of a break in, it was clear that some “professionals” had targeted him in the middle of the night. The police were called and a report filled out, 9 posts were shared in car theft groups on Facebook…though the fact that theres 9 groups speaks volumes, and leaves me all to sure that we won’t see Eric return before we go. Having to look on the bright side of a really shitty situation, (and ignoring the fact that we’ll be living on the streets in America), we are really lucky to have removed all of our bags and personal items from the car, leaving only the camping stuff inside and at least it happened at the end of our journey, not the beginning. We’re both understandably pissed off but are determined to not let it affect the memories and the time we’ve had in New Zealand, and I’m sure one day we’ll be able to laugh, just not yet. Oh and it’s made us hate Auckland. 

With no car we caught the metro into the CBD to explore what Auckland has (or doesn’t have as is the case) to offer. A city so far apart from the rest of the country, Auckland CBD is busy, dirty and filled with rude people in a constant rush, I just don’t understand why they don’t set off 5 minutes earlier and at least attempt a little fake politeness. We tried to enjoy our walk around, and did visit the Sky Tower, Aotea Square, The Viaduct and the Civic Theatre (which was absolutely stunning) but all in all Auckland is little more than just another city and not what people should come to New Zealand for. We did have good evening though when we met up with Kyles football friend, James, and his girlfriend Chelsea for a few drinks at a very nice bar called, Everyones. Having lived in Auckland since November James and Chelsea are now getting ready to embark on a 5 week road trip around NZ before heading to Canada. It was great to meet them both and exchange travel plans and future dreams, and I think the boys had a great time catching up…it certainly helped us both to forget about the shit morning anyway.

The next morning we took the good old bus to Titirangi, a small village 20 minutes from Auckland filled with fancy cars and designer houses. A 30 minute bush walk took us from the main village to Titirangi beach, a shelly beach with questionable water, so after a quick snack we continued on our way to French Bay. French bay was a lot nicer, with actual warm water, that looked clean and fresh we enjoyed playing on the rope swings and relaxing by the sea, before trekking back, uphill, to Titirangi and an iced coffee.

Despite a twisted ankle, a chipped windscreen and a stolen car, the last 3 months have been brilliant. We’ve caught up with old friends, made new ones and created over a 1000 unforgettable memories. Unlike trying new foods in Asia, we’ve tried new things instead like bungee jumping and surfing. We’ve tackled a completely new country solo, with a road map and a shitty phone sat nav and pretty much conquered 90% of the country. Without a doubt New Zealand is undeniably one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with a bit of something for everyone it is essentially the gift that keeps on giving. Whether it’s in the car, on a bush walk or just waking up to a sunrise there’s always something new to see. I’ll never forget driving around the corner and setting eyes on Lake Hawea, a scene so perfect it felt like you’d stepped into photoshop, or riding on a horse over the Baton Valley with the snow capped mountains in the distance, laughing along with Fiona and Melodie. The endless perfect beaches in the Far North and The Coromandel. And of course we’ll always think about the unpredictable weather and the savage sand flies of the South Islands West Coast. We've even learnt how to sleep semi comfortably in the back of a car too. So despite our crappy ending, this definitely is not goodbye to NZ, I’m sure we’ll be back and next time we’ll have a car with an alarm and insurance (they really should make it compulsory). 

In our humble opinion we would highly recommend getting a car to travel New Zealand. It not only allows you more freedom to explore, but gets you a little off the beaten track, to those hidden gems that a bus or a train cannot quite reach. Not only that you’re spared the ball ache of working to someone else schedule and wasting precious times waiting for your next ride…its also a damn site safer than hitchhiking, just don’t get a Subaru Legacy (still bitter? just a little). New Zealand is not a country to be rushed, though if your time is short make the most of it whilst you can, this country is fucking far from everywhere. 

Today we have done what we do best and enjoyed a relaxing beach day, followed by laundry and packing…proper packing too, which is a nightmare, even if we have both gotten rid of some stuff. Tomorrow we get to experience time travelling as we embark on our new adventure in the United States of America. So I suppose it is here that we should thank Auckland for being busy and at least getting us used to people again. I cannot wait to see my mum in 2 short weeks and meet her Texas family, I’m sure that we will have more than a few unforgettable experiences with those guys. An advanced request to all Americans…please be as friendly as all the people that we’ve met in NZ. Next stop, San Fransisco!

*Update* we have just learnt that Eric has been found, he's in a compound miles away from we are, but all our camping gear is still inside and he's intact...the poor lads just got a broken ignition. The issue we now face is repair and sale, the garage is closed until Monday and we leave tomorrow. We're currently waiting for a call back to arrange for the garage to sell on our behalf, we're preparing to be totally ripped off but at this stage anything is better than nothing. Fingers crossed guys.

Love Carrie xxx