Some relevant details not included in the previous post–we ended up deciding to use a cardboard box as our check bag, we ended up using a duffle bag as our second checked bag, the only bus that leaves for the north part of the island leaves at 7:45 a.m., and Kiwis don’t know what the Te Araroa is.
Our original plan was just to each take our backpacks as carry-on luggage. Being Z-Packs, both packs are too fragile to check, but even as we made the plan to carry them on, we knew our knives and liquids would be a problem. In the end, we decided to buy a cardboard box that we could use as a bounce box when we got here. We put our bounce box supplies plus our liquids and knives in this box. We still knew we had an issue with our trekking poles, but we kind of ignored it. Then, the night before we left, we end up deciding to put my whole pack plus G’s trekking poles and other random gear into a duffle bag to check along with our box. We ended up traveling with only Georges’ pack as a carry-on, and we put just a couple things in it.
I’d say this plan worked well. We even managed to fit the huge duffle bag into the bounce box in the end, so we will have it for our return flights as well. If it hadn’t fit, we would have simply donated it to the hostel.
The only bus to get to Cape Regina leaves Auckland at 7:45 a.m. each day. This is an important detail with all things planning as it effects how long you end up in Auckland. For us, having arrived Sunday afternoon, we stayed in Auckland Sunday and Monday night because we didn’t think we could get all our shopping done Sunday evening. This is why we had such a luxurious Monday.
So Auckland, as it turns out, is beautiful. It is one of the very few cities I have ever been to that I really really liked. It has a really cool balance of old stone buildings and modern glass ones. There are lots of people (who all speak English–something I’ve missed living in Europe) and lots of great shops and cultural buildings in the city center.
Georges and I woke Monday morning (still not feeling hungry…that ‘food’ in Paris was so bad) and set off for Queen Street. We needed to get groceries, get a New Zealand phone number for Georges’ phone, get fuel from an outdoor shop, go to the Department of Conservation (DOC), go to the bus company to figure out our cancelation/rescheduling issue and go to the post office.
We left the hostel shortly before eight and enjoyed a wonderful walk downtown (only 2 blocks from the hostel). The city is wonderfully beautiful and the shops are plenty. We found none of the business we needed opened until 9, so we decided to get coffee (G got hot cocoa) and pastries and sit on a bench until nine. At nine we headed to the end of downtown (the ocean) and enjoyed the view. We went to the DOC, which is on one of the piers, got our hut passes and discussed various elements of huts and hikes.
We have a few people joining us later in our hike and we learned that it is cheaper for them to get 6-month hut passes than to buy tickets for the number of nights they need. (Good to know)
We spent the day taking care of each of our tasks. We got a pre-paid SIM card for a pretty good price (19 NZD a month with data and rollover). At the bus station we were told to come back with our boarding passes from our flight and the gal would fax them to headquarters so we wouldn’t need to pay the increased ticket price or the change fee.
We went grocery shopping shortly past noon. We decided (since we had a kitchen) we would cook a substantial meal for dinner. For that we got hamburger meat, rolls, fresh green beans, tomatoes, onion and Doritos. For the trail we decided G would eat 4 muesli/nut bars a day, I would eat 3, we would have hot dinners and sit-down lunches. We selected a variety of high-calorie, high-nutrition bars. We got tortillas for lunch (to be paired with our dehydrated chocolate peanut butter). G also got salted cashews for snacking–I’m still rather wary of nuts since I hiked the Grand Canyon spring 2014 with only raisins and peanuts to eat–so I might eat some cashews, but I’m not sure how many. For dinners, we ended up selecting what I’m familiar with: Lipton Sides. But, of course, they aren’t Lipton Sides here. We selected a variety of flavored, instant pastas and rices plus some dried soups and mashed potatoes. We are currently both overfed, so we are planning on starting with pretty light meals and food intake for now. Our next food reapply is in six days. If we feel like we want more or less food we can easily adjust at that time. (I also snuck in tiny Snickers bars for each day)
In the afternoon we went to the post office to send our bounce box and the the bus station again. Our bounce bow cost 6 NZD to ship (from Auckland to Auckland) and we will pay the Poste Restante fee when we pick it up at the end of October. Also, you have to lick stamps here.
At the bus station the gal worked everything out so we didn’t have to pay anything and we can get on the bus Tuesday morning. Kiwi hospitality already.
The burgers were pretty good. We didn’t have any butter or salt, so it was a slightly creative take on cooking dinner. I used a small sauce pan to cook the burgers and I used onion chunks and water to keep the meat from sticking. Everything was good though, and we were both very pleased with our decision to cook at the hostel rather than go out to eat.
We were packed, organized and ready to go by around 6 Monday evening. So we went to sleep. Alright, we weren’t totally ready to go yet, the blog for example hadn’t been written yet and I have a dozen emails I wanted to respond to, but we were pretty close (and pretty sleepy). Since I went to sleep at 6 in the evening, I got up around 3 in the morning to shower and blog.
Now we are getting ready to catch the bus and hopefully a hitch to the Cape. We are both very very ready to be in a tent sleeping on the beach.
Oh yeah, and Kiwis don’t know the Te Araroa
Georges and I have not yet discovered any kiwis who know what the Te Araroa is. Well, one of the gals in the DOC knew (thank heavens), but no one else. Pretty weird, huh? I like that we are doing something so unknown. 🙂
Also, it’s really cold here.
Next blog pending!! Enjoy your day, everyone!