Crater and Auckland’s Garden of Eden

I was about six kilometers into the walk back from the bank when I regretted walking.  The detours to Mt. Eden and the gardens had put my total walking for the day around twenty kilometers.  I was still tired from the day before.  I was a little hungover from drinking a few beers with some people from the hostel.  Rookie mistake.

The city’s unique views were my only salvation.  Well, those and the satisfying click pressing the crosswalk buttons.  Mostly the latter, actually.

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Earlier in the day, I hiked up a few steps to reach Mount Eden, a crater located high up in the middle of the city.

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As the city’s highest natural vantage point, Mt. Eden offered spectacular views of the city.

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Not pictures: scores of Chinese tourists posing and flying drones.

I also saw a woman who looked to be about over a hundred years old slowly making her way up the steps.  It was nice to see her being active, but I couldn’t help but think that this could be her last hike.

On my way out of the hiking path up, I noticed a sigh for the Eden Garden, a 5.5 acre garden located near the crater in the middle of the city.  This expansive space was home to hundreds of different types of trees and plants.  Despite not seeing a single person within twenty years of my age, I had a wonderful time.  The garden had an overwhelming number of plants and trees to ponder.

When I got back to the hostel, I felt as though I had accidentally walked into a Jr. High.  I’m only twenty-eight, but the sight of the average age of the hostel goers had me feeling a tad older.

 

Biosecurity Threat #1 and the Cherry Blossoms

“Go around to the biosecurity window.,”

This wasn’t the welcome I had anticipated.  To be fair, it was my own fault.  I brought a used tent and some used hiking shoes into the country.  I should have done more research.

Turns out, New Zealand has some of the strictest protocols regarding environmental safety.  They advised me to clean my gear better before using it, both a helpful bit of advice and a warning.

As I was retrieving my cleared tent, a woman in line told me a celebrity got in a lot of trouble for forgetting about an orange in her bag.  I never fact checked her, but it sounded like a good story.

Waiting for the bus into central Auckland, I chatted with a nice fellow coming back from a month long trip in Europe.  If it weren’t for him, I would have ridden that bus all night.  There were no indicators as to where, or if it would stop.

I crashed as soon as I made my way up the five flights of stairs.  And went through a door.  And got in bed.

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I woke up at 5 in the morning and wanted to go for a walk.  I googled free things to do in the city and noticed a park that looked to be the size of Rhode Island.  In reality, Cornwall park is a 670 acre park that was gifted to New Zealand in 1901 by a man named Sir John Logan Campbell with the stipulation that the park be free, forever.  It was about three miles away from my hostel, so coming off  what could be described as a marathon of sitting, I decided to hoof it.  It was well worth the effort.

The path to the top hill is surrounded by green fields.  In a lucky coincidence, it is also Cherry Blossom season here.  Crowds of parents and their children assembled under the trees.

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And more

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The top, a place called One Tree Hill, offered a spectacular view of Auckland.

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I spoke with an elderly Chinese man much longer than either of us wanted to, and he told me I should go to the bars to look for a wife.

I didn’t know how to respond, so I didn’t.

The rest of the day was spent trying to figure out how to get a bank account set up.  I have an appointment tomorrow that should take care of that.  Then, to get a IRD number (for tax purposes so I can work), and then a van!

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Auckland is an interesting city, but I can’t see myself staying here for more that a week.  Hopefully, the bank and tax number are quick processes so I can head up to a lighthouse at the northern tip of the north island and hit a few rad camping spots.

We will see.

 

 

Aloha Hawaii

Yesterday I had the difficult task of saying goodbye to Oahu.

I think the island itself is a magical place, and full of wonderful, warm people and scenery.  It baffles my mind to think that people who have the opportunity and funds to live there don’t move there immediately.

I am excited about saying hello to New Zealand, but Oahu is a place I could easily see myself living once I finish this traveling stint.

I am posting my last few pictures from Hawaii here to round out this section of the trip.  These were photos taken during Kurt’s photography lesson that I liked.

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More rocks on the shore

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Secret beach

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Next post will be from New Zealand!

Tidepools

We woke up early to see the sunrise.  The colors of the sunrises and sunsets on this island are spectacular.

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After sunrise, Kurt and I hit possibly every beach on the way to the northern tip of the island.

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We went to Shark’s Cove in Pupukea.  Shark’s Cove is a popular snorkeling destination on the north side of the island.  It also boasts very cool tide pools and smaller ecosystems.

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We saw the beach where Lost was filmed, as well as the tree that was used on the cover of Jack Johnson’s album In Between Dreams

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Street Art

Honalulu’s Kakaako district is a place where street artists worldwide demonstrate their talents. Every year, the urban art collective Pow! Wow! brings creatives from around the world for an art festival, including live mural creation.  The district is covered in beautiful colors and is truly a sight to behold.

Afterwards, we explored Honalulu outside of Waikiki and the beach.  Kurt knows many of the side streets and secret beach access routes.

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One of my favorite parts of Hawaii is the ability to stop for thirty minutes and spend some time in the beach.  Traffic?  Pull off and hang out on a beach until it clears up.  Just got Poke and need a view while you eat?  Beach.  Feeling a little warm and need to cool off?  Beach.

Not a bad life.