It was so nice to wake up with an open schedule and open day. Nothing was planned except for a walk around the city to begin whenever I was ready. But since I was excited for the day, I definitely didn’t get up too late. I didn’t even have breakfast before I left the hostel. Breakfast tickets were $8 and I wanted something really delicious.
I left the hostel with my blue backpack, walking shoes, and an open mind. Breakfast was at a little cafe called Fort Green located in St. Kevins Arcade on Karangahape Road. Their French omelette on sourdough toast… yum. That hit the spot.
Moving on, I walked along Karangahape Road heading east towards Grafton Bridge and Park Road to go to the Auckland Domain park. In the park, there is the Auckland War Memorial Museum that I walked by at about 9:20am (which opens at 10am). I could have waited for it to open, but I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to still walk further around the park and head back towards downtown to catch my transportation to the Auckland Harbor Bridge.
Anyway, I continued walking to see the reflecting pool and Valkyrie Fountain; both were really quite and really nice to see.
I took a little trail back towards Grafton Road and walked up through the University of Auckland campus which is really nice. In the campus is Albert Park which is a really nice spot to chill out as well.
Back down in town, I got drawn into a couple of outdoor stores; Bivouac Outdoor which I’ve never seen or heard about before) and a Kathmandu store which I’ve also never seen but heard about from a travel couple I follow on Facebook (NOMADasaurus – Adventure Travel Couple).
I accidentally left my pretty blue titanium spork (spoon and fork) in the little fridge at my place in Ubud, Bali. I knew I was going to do that since I didn’t grab it out of the fridge as soon as that thought crossed my mind. So, I wanted to get a new one of those to have so I don’t have to use plastic silverware. Also, I decided while packing for this trip that my enamel cup that I had bought at REI was not a critical item and left it home but had a couple of opportunities to use since I had been traveling so decided it was worth the investment to get a new one. So now I’m excited to have some items from another awesome outdoor store! I also joined Kathmandu’s Summit Club. I can apply to be sponsored by Kathmandu and get free gear/equipment that would help with my traveling adventures. Something I’ll look into at some point in time.
I had to be at a pickup point right near the Maritime Museum to be picked up by Auckland Bridge Climb and Bungy. I climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge back in March 2016 and that was incredible so I decided it would be just as cool to climb the Auckland Harbor Bridge. It was pretty cool because it was just me, another guy from India that was here on holiday, and the our tour guide. I really do like small groups. While we were walking under the bridge, we stood still and put our hand one of the bridge beams and felt the movement of the bridge and the foot-bridge that we were on; the movement was amazing! It was pretty cool!
After the bridge climb, I went back to downtown and went back to hostel to do a couple of things and change clothes. I bought a ticket to go up in Auckland Sky Tower. There are two viewing decks (both enclosed); one on the 52nd(?) floor and one on the 60th floor. Both were pretty amazing. There were some clouds blocking the sun after a certain point in the sky and so I didn’t actually watch the whole sunset because I was hungry and didn’t want to be out long after dark.
Today was the day to catch my first Stray bus to go to the northern area of the north island of New Zealand. I had to be up early because the bus had a pick-up time of 7:20 and I wanted to give myself at least half an hour to walk there from my hostel (since I would be fully loaded down with all my gear and wouldn’t walk nearly as fast as when I’m not carrying anything).
Right by the pickup point, there was a restaurant (Ima Cuisine on Fort Street) that had just opened (for the morning) and got breakfast (a bagel with tomato and avocado) which was so yummy!
I knew I was in the right place when I saw a bunch of other backpackers start gathering in front of the Stray Shop on Fort Street.
The drive became more and more beautiful the further north we went. As we drove, the bus driver told us about the activities that we could do and little did I know that I would go SKYDIVING later in the day!
We had to wait to go skydiving because it was pretty overcast. But we finally were able to make the jump at about 5:30pm. Don’t get me wrong, it was a spectacular skydive as they usually are; however, it wasn’t my favorite because the main point of the skydive was to get a fantastic view of the Bay of Islands and also it was a lot more expensive than I was expecting. Our Stray bus driver kept saying $299 for the jump and the folks at the Skydive Bay of Islands place didn’t call any attention to the fact that the jump from 16,000 feet was $100 more NZ dollars than what we had been told. And, we didn’t pay for the jump until after we had actually made the jump. So there was no chance to back out of paying. Very underhanded and unappreciated. But it’s my fault for not paying closer attention to the pricing they had posted high up on the wall. I’ll be much more careful next time I go to skydive.
After the skydive, we got back to the hostel just in time for the nightly BBQ which was decent. The vegetarians had samosas. I started my time in Paihia at the Base Hostel (Pipi Patch Bay of Islands) which was quite nice. They do have an awesome kitchen which dishes, cooking utensils, a good-sized fridge, stove tops, pots and pans… etc. If you know me, you may know I love a good kitchen!!