When I got to Auckland this morning, it was a dreary looking day outside. I got checked into the hostel and wrote this morning’s post, and by noon local time, the clouds had dissipated and the sun was out. It’s currently 67 degrees and wonderful. If you’re curious, you can see my current “office view” on Twitter.
I did some exploring around the area and snapped a few photos. For lunch, I tried a place called Mad Mex, which apparently we have in the States, but I’d never heard of before. Think of it like a Chipotle. Rice, black beans, queso, chicken, lettuce, corn, and salsa. It hit the spot. When I was ordering, I figured out a few nuances about the way Kiwis speak English. Instead of “dine in” or “carryout,” it’s “to stay” or “to take.” Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it caught me off guard. When I grabbed coffee later, it was the same.
Downtown Auckland was bustling with people. Many I’d assume live here, but there were also a good amount of other backpackers sitting out on the sidewalks having a bite, taking pictures, and planning their next trek. That type of culture is one of the big reasons I started my trip down here.
On that note about culture; New Zealand is littered with hostels. I opted to stay at Queen St. Backpackers for my first night in Auckland. It’s a decent place just a couple blocks from the water. As you gaze out over the bay, there are small islands in every direction.
As for my accommodations, I opted for a 6-person dorm-style room. There are three sets of bunk beds and so far, I’ve just one roommate. Out the window of my room is a small balcony with a decent view of the hustle and bustle of the street below. Speaking of which, there are these obnoxious buzzers that sound on the poles when it’s safe to cross the street. Play the Vine below to see them in action.
I considered renting a car for the next leg of my journey, but after looking at the costs, decided against it. They’re similarly priced to what they are in the U.S. It’s not horrible by any means, but I opted for something cheaper and more fun.
I’ll be continuing my travels tomorrow and leaving Auckland. Thanks to Gloria, I found the exact type of backpacking adventure tour I was looking for covering both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The trip takes 16 days and will end in Christchurch, which is where I fly out for Vietnam on April 14. In all, I paid $618 NZD, which amounts to about $525 USD. I”ll still have to cover the cost of the hostels we stay in each night, but that’s to be expected.
If you decide to visit New Zealand, check out the Kiwi Experience. They’ve been in business since 1989 and have taken more than 400,000 people on their tours. I’ll have a more detailed post about them, as well as the tour, later.
Back to the hostel. Several of you have asked what it looks like and what it’s like to stay here. Since hostels aren’t exactly common in the U.S., it’s a fair question. Below you’ll find a few photos from around Queen St. Backpackers. If you stayed in the dorms in college, it might look somewhat familiar.
So, that’s it for now. I’m heading out early in the morning to start this Kiwi Experience backpacking tour, and I’ll keep you posted as I go. Feel free to leave a comment below if you like this post!