After two weeks around Auckland, it’s time to have a look at this bustling metropolis. I’ve already given some first impressions in my previous article, make sure to have a look 🙂
The first thing that struck me was the vegetation: green, everything was so green! When I left France, it was summer, and the grass was yellow after weeks of drought and high temperatures. I arrived in Auckland in winter, but winter here is obviously very different from the one I experienced in Finland.
With temperatures between 8 and 15ºC and a lot of rain, trees and grass clearly flourished.
Once in the city, I went to the seafront, and entered the tourist info desk. It turned out there was also a desk belonging to the Department of Conservation, the government agency dedicated to nature management. They had bird books, and I needed one. Initially, the woman there tried to sell me the very small one, and when I asked for something more complete, she didn’t take me seriously.
After some time, though, I chose a more appropriate field guide, and she suggested me a few places for birdwatching, including Tiritiri Matangi Island, which I would visit at the beginning of the week after.
I checked in at the hostel in the afternoon. I’ve stayed several nights there by now, getting to know the many youngsters who live there for weeks and months. I don’t intend to be here that long, but I appreciate the relaxed atmosphere and the hostel policy that prohibits alcohol and emphasizes calm and respect. It’s the Newton Lodge, and I recommend it.
I took care of some necessary chores in the first days (bank, taxes etc), but I also walked in the city, enjoying some beautiful late afternoon lights. Unfortunately, the sun always hid behind low clouds, depriving me of my beloved sunsets. Finland is still in the lead in that regard 😉
I went to the Westhaven marina, the biggest in the southern hemisphere, with more than 2000 boats moored there. In my opinion, there were too many motor boats, and not enough sailing boats. Nevertheless, it was a sign of the relationship this nation has with the sea, a relationship I learnt more about at the fascinating Maritime Museum.
One last thing: with its high towers, its wide streets and its heavy traffic, Auckland is a city made for cars. There’s quite a networks of buses, but downtown, they get stuck in traffic like anyone else, defeating their very purpose. In the suburbs, many crossroads don’t even have pedestrians crossings, and when there are, better be cautious for motorists won’t stop for you. That’s a dangerous place for someone who’s spent four years in Finland and Denmark.
In the end, I’ve liked exploring the city, walking long distances, taking pictures, but I now find myself longing for wild places. I’m working on that.