Right, I didn’t want to do this, but I’m going out of sync because I’ve still not finished the Melbourne adventures with Kat McEvoy! So, I’m going in with the first bits of NZ action and will follow up with Melbourne. Sorry about that…. Let’s get on though with my first week in NZ :-)
My first week in New Zealand has been in Auckland and I’ve mostly been sorting myself out. It’s probably not going to make for vey interesting reading, but I’ll summarise for my own sake as a something to refer back to next year…
I arrive into New Zealand from a Melbourne around lunchtime even though my flight from Melbourne was at shit o clock in the morning. This is because NZ is 2 hours ahead of Oz. I decide to get the shuttle bus to the hostel I’m staying at which is more expensive than the normal airport bus, but it drops you right to your door. Convenient or what?
The only drawback with this is that there are several people in the bus and they all get dropped to their door. In my case I was the last to be dropped off and so I probs didn’t get to the hostel till around 3pm, but that did mean I had a little drive around different parts of Auckland.
Once I’d been dropped off I went in only to find reception was closed she it should have been open and no one around to ask about it… Bums. I try calling the number in the poster on the wall that says call this number if no one is in reception…. But I can hear the phone in reception ringing and there is clearly nobody in there! Another guest joins me as she needs a token for the washer and so we wait together and then another girl joins us who wanted to stay at this hostel but it was full so she had to go to one down the road which she doesn’t like so she wants to book in to this one as soon as she can…
We try the number again but no joy. Eventually, Campbell, the manger appears and seems surprised that we’re waiting for him… ‘Why didn’t you call me?’ He asks. ‘we did.’ I reply, ‘several times’ Then then picks up the phone and dials and fate about 27 rings the reception phone diverts to his mobile…. Clearly we weren’t letting it ring long enough, but when you can hear the phone ringing in a locked office you kind of think it won’t get answered… I might leave that on my feedback form, maybe amend the poster to say you have to let it ring a long time before it’s diverted…
Anyway, as there are several of us waiting and the other two have seemingly quick things to do I suggest they go first. Eventually I get checked in rather hurriedly as other people have arrived that need one thing or another.
So, key in hand I make my way downstairs to the room I’m sharing with 3 others… It’s small. For 4 people it is small and there is absolutely no storage, at all. It’s dark a raining outside and I’m feeling a bit flat and what with being tired and a bit disappointed with the hostel, missing Kat McEvoy after we had such a lovely time in Oz, I do a little cry :-( Just as I do one of my room mates comes in so I’m quick to wipe away the tears and pretend I’m ok. I think I get away with it and chatting to room mate one helps lift my spirits a bit. So I pull myself together, it could be worse, I think, so I decide to arrange my stuff as best I can and head to the nearest supermarket to get supplies for the week I’m here. I know this is really silly, but I love a new supermarket experience :-)
So, supplies in hand I walk back up the hill and along the Ponsonby Road back to the hostel. I find a spot in the food cupboard and fridge and set about having a cuppa and some biscuits in the lounge and catching up on the emails while making a plan for the next day…
It’s all going to be ok I think. The NZ adventure is underway…
I don’t want to skip over Tuesday completely but it wasn’t a very exciting day!
I have a lie in, I must’ve been tired!
Once I’m showered and breakfasted I take a walk into town to get my bearings.
First stop on the list is the library. Hurray for the libraries. If find out what I need to join and then I spend the best part of the afternoon writing myself to do lists and letters home, which felt nice.
Back at the hostel and I’ve figured out I need to get all the stuff I need for the next day ready the night before so I don’t disturb sleepers if I’m up before them. After tea I have a bit of time in the lounge before heading to bed so I’m ready for the IEP orientation tomorrow.
I’m up early and try to dress nice for the orientation at IEP Work New Zealand. I don’t need to dress nice for it, but it feels nice to make a bit of an effort rather than the usual stuff I’ve been wearing. I’ve time to go to the post office before the orientation, I’ve got souvenirs from Australia to post! Needless to say when the woman at the counter tells me it’s going to be $72.50 I nearly do a sick on the floor, but hand over the money and hope that people like them!!
I make my way over the road to the orientation which is not too far from the post office. As I’m part of the IEP working visa crew I get to make use of their office space, with computers, free wifi, free printing, help with travel and employment.
The orientation takes around 3 hours and we cover all of the things; culture shock, New Zealand chat, New Zealand history, how to buy a car, how to apply for a job, doing the CV, how to apply for the IRD number for the tax, which meant another trip to the post office, that sort of thing. They fed us choco throughout and even though they’ve had to do this presentation a lot of times, they are still really friendly, encouraging questions and ready to give advice on pretty much anything. Once we’d done the orientation I started to take a look for a help exchange for the next couple of weeks before my sister Tor arrives. I spent a lot of time going through all sorts of profiles and sent messages to the ones I was most interested in, one a llama farm :-) After a few hours doing that I headed back to the library to join proper. You get to choose from a range of membership card designs :-) I went for this one…
I spend some time at the library checking for help exchange replies and I’m pleasantly surprised as I already have several replies, a couple of offers and some to say they couldn’t give me anything for the dates I wanted. I thought it would be sensible to leave it overnight to see if I got anymore replies.
I took a walk down Queen Street and stopped in at the bank of make an appointment of validate my bank account. I applied for it while I was still in the UK. I spoke to a really lovely lady and she booked me in with her colleague Connie tomorrow. Another tick off the list :-)
The library closes at 8pm and before I log out I see I have another message from a help exchange person, which sounds promising as the dates are perfect, I reply and suggest a phone chat which is agreed for tomorrow. Eeeeekkk!!! I’ll expect a call from the help exchanger host around 9am tomorrow :-)
I head back to the hostel to make tea and catch up with how the day has been for some of the hostel crew. There’s a really sweet Welsh girl, Lisa, who has just started working at the university and she’s always very friendly.
I’m feeling like I’ve had a pretty productive day :-) Bedtime!
I’m up earlyish as I want to speak to Mr & Mrs Illingworth, before I speak to the help exchange host circa 9am. I’ve got the appointment at the bank at 10.30 so it’s all go :-)
Roberta the help exchange host called just after and we talk about what she would want me to do and for how long each day etc. Tasks include household chores, help with the 4 children and help in the restaurant they have in Russell. So, pretty varied and doable hopefully. Having spoken we agree that I’ll come to them from Monday 7th through to Saturday 19th July. Eeeeekkk!!! I’m excited and scared and pleased that I’ve got something organised. Another job added to the list is to sort out travel up there. It’s about a 4 hour bus journey up from Auckland and then a little boat trip over the water from Paihia to Russell. Next task though, the bank!
I arrived for the bank account appointment early and ended up waiting a bit longer than anticipated because Connie’s appointment was overrunning. Once I was in though things went smoothly and I validated my account successfully :-) it will take about 10 days for my real card to come through, in the meantime I’ve got a temporary one. Timing wise it should be ready for when I get back to Auckland to meet Tor :-) Hurray!
Another job ticked off the list.
The next thing is to organise transport for getting to the Bay of Islands. I did a quick search and then settled on getting the 0745 bus from Auckland Central to Paihia and then the boat across to Russell. Coming back to Auckland on the bus on the 19th ready for fun times with sister Tor :-) YEAH!
Back to the hostel and another good organising day :-)
Friday morning was a chilled one and I took my time getting ready to go out to meet Alex Allan who used to work at work :-)
After a right old fanny faff bags of me getting the wrong boat Alex finally found me stuffing my face with delicious ice cream – a maple and pecan and a creme brûlée scoop. Yum! We head off for a little adventure which involves a drive to One Tree Hill, amazing vistas!
We then head back to Auckland and have a walk to the Wynard Quarter to get some tea. I had a big old fish burger and Alex had an even bigger meaty burger! We enjoyed a couple of beers. It’s been lovely to spend some time with him, but a shame his wife couldn’t make it… I’ll meet her one day!
After tea we had a walk up to the sky tower and a mooch about and then we walked back to the car and Alex dropped me back at the hostel. What a gent!
It was good to see him, thanks for looking after me and taking me for tea :-)
I’m feeling more organised for the coming weeks and so I’ve decided I’m going to be a tourist doing the coast to coast walk. YES!
Another gentle start to the day and I get myself sorted out for doing the Coast to Coast walk. I’m excited. The sun is shining and I’m off! The walk starts down on the wharf/port front at the bottom of queen street and takes you through some reall lovely bits of Auckland; the university bit, domain, Mount Eden, One tree hIll… Some amazing vistas to be had as well as a bit of a nose at houses in the different neighbourhoods. The end is a but uninspiring – electricity pylons, public toilets and a bit of an industrial estate! It’s probs got a different feel in the summer…
So if I was to recommend this walk to anyone I’d say get the bus to Onehunga and do the walk back to the city. Still, I really enjoyed it and I reckon I did about 20km all in, although the official walk route is 16km I defo had more on either side…
Oh and I like this dog poo bin in Cornwall Park..
Saturday evening was pretty chilled, chatting to Lisa and Nicci at the hostel. Highlight included eating a Moro gold with nuts! I love trying the new choco and sweets but need to ration it! Naughty! So far I’ve tried a picnic, a Moro normal and a Moro gold as well as some party mix which was no where near as nice as Oz Cole’s party mix :-( Need to try pineapple lumps as they are pretty NZ and some fush things… The confectionary opportunities are endless!
After a pleasant evening I head to bed only to be woken up by two of the dormers doing smoochy sexy time!!! Now, I’m not sure what the etiquette around this is.. I find myself in a bit of a quandary for two reasons – I really need a wee so will have to disturb them at some point but the second is how I actually feel about having to share a room with this situation… Here’s what I concluded.. I needed a wee, I especially getting really desperate so I went for one, needless to say the smoochy time stopped after that and I couldn’t help feeling bad :-/
Here’s the three things that were going round my head
1. How inconsiderate!
2. Aaah, I hope they are having a nice time. Smoochy sexy time is nice :-)
3. I’m probs a bit jealous because I like smoochy sexy time, but defo not in shared hostel dorm and boy Joe isn’t here :-(
So in end I thought, the only way this is affecting me really is disturbing my sleep. While it’s not my bag, it’s clearly there’s so they should enjoy it. I did think though to is just something you hear about, but I can confirm it is actually a true story!!
My last day in Auckland for now and I sort myself out for the help exchange, find where I need to get the bus from, which is actually really near the hotel I go back to to meet sister Tor :-)
I decide to get a Daiso/Countdown love gift to leave at the hotel for when Tor arrives.
After that I have a bit of library time and head back to the hostel to pack. I did have plans to go to the pictures later, but I just ended up getting tea at the metro centre instead, I had a nice katsu curry from a very chatty and polite Japanese man.
Belly full I head back to the hostel to find a new girl in our dorm. She’s just come back from Fiji and is heading back to Germany tomorrow. She goes on to tell me she has bed bugs, brought with her, in her stuff from Fiji. Nice. She then asks if she can borrow my flip flops to go over to the kitchen. I’m not comfortable with this situ. Can bed bugs attach themselves to flip flops? Still, I agree… I settle in for my last night at the hostel, paranoid the bed bugs are going to invade my stuff and I’ll end up infesting the help exchange house! How awful would that be?!
In my paranoia I decide to leave my flip flops there!
An early start to get the bus tomorrow so it’s an early night for me. Fingers crossed for a successful help exchange experience for both parties :-)