Auckland – and so it begins…

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The first stop on our New Zealand adventure is the MegaCity of Auckland.
By far the biggest city (~1.4 Million) – it holds about 1/3rd of NZ’s entire population!

Upon arrival at the airport, we were not (at least overtly) accosted by security looking for terrorists or weapons.    Instead, we were grilled about bio-security which (understandably) is taken very seriously.   Are you bringing in any invasive plants?  Dangerous fruits?   Hidden cats?    It was then that I discovered that my favorite Vibram five-fingers hiking shoes had been forgotten…  🙁    It was also then that I remembered the small trowel in my backpack which I take camping for those times in the deep woods that you just have to dig a hole in the ground…    I confessed to said trowel and it was neatly wrapped in plastic and returned.   (with sincere apologies to the bio agent that day…)   The refreshingly friendly attitude of everyone at the airport was so surprising it caught us a bit off guard.

We stayed at our first AirBnB with Babbs and Sandy at the “Garden Studio Near the Beach” in a suburb called Point Chevalier.    They were fantastic hosts and made us feel very welcome in our new strange environment.    It was a nice walk from town center and the park nearby was absolutely beautiful (including a mini zip-line!).   Laura in Auckland HarbourPublic trans is excellent and buses with a simple tap on/tap off card can easily get you around the city.  (ferry and train service also exists, but we did not need them)

We learned from a taxi driver that, in an effort to reduce the rapidly growing population and resource stress, there is currently an initiative in NZ where they are paying folks to move out of Auckland (to basically anywhere else in the country).    I couldn’t help but imagine how a proposal like that would be received in the US for a city like New York…

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Everywhere – absolutely everywhere – we were asked about Hillary and Donald.    We’ve had to start deflecting the questions because we can’t speak to that lunacy.   One of the many reasons we are here is that we want nothing to do with it….

It is rather embarrassing though…

Unfortunately, Auckland is the sort of place that you can only afford to purchase or rent a house if you have a fairly sizable bank account.    Since that does not describe us currently and we are short on time, we decided quite quickly that it was time to move on.    We asked where most folks go and the answer was ‘South’ – so we headed North!   Next stop, Paihia / Bay of Islands!

Included in this gallery are pics from around the city including a host of wonderful ornamental architectural elements from the University of Auckland and some sweeping views of the city from Point Chev.

Click here to see the full Auckland photo album.