What a great start to Auckland, meeting my awesome friend Buckles who I used to work with at the University of Southampton and has been living in NZ for 3 years.

Buckles took us for a great evening view of Auckland from Mt Eden (Maungawhau), the highest of Auckland’s volcanoes. It’s pretty sweet, 360 degree view!tmp_9651-photo-2106377121tmp_9651-photo2-745570514

One thing I’ve noticed since being away, you can’t escape Pokemon Go! This was at the Britomart (transport centre). Locals call town/city centre the ‘CBD’ Central Business District. A shopping trolley is known as a trundler.

If you look closely at the second picture below, there’s a lot of post it art on the office windows – can you find Wally?

 

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Buckles took us to Devonport via ferry where we walked up the 2 hills there – North Head and Mt Victoria. Both were used as military bases in the past against the Russians but nothing really happened. One of the guns were fired once but it cracked windows of nearby houses so that was it! There’s a really interesting and free Royal Navy Museum by North Head, well worth checking out. (I’m not sure why there are mushrooms on Mt Victoria..)

Devonport was a nice little place and it was a bit weird how you could see the width of the place from the hills, not very wide at all.

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Inbetween the 2 hills was this weird little shrine of random objects outside somebody’s house.

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The next day Buckles took us to Karekare beach with black sand and a rainforest next to it! It was pretty cool.

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Further fun with Mr and Mrs Buckles, we headed down into Hamilton to watch the NZ All Blacks rugby team play against Argentina and of course All Blacks won although argentina gave them a good run for their money in the first 10 minutes. We also ate a massive pizza.

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Chris and I walked to One Tree Hill (once upon a time, the white people offended the Maori, some tree chopping happpened , wrong trees were planted and now are more trees and an obelisk). It’s a pretty good walk and amazingly one of the few days it did not rain in Auckland, honestly it’s almost like being back in the UK with all the rain.

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Some cattle person erected this makeshift electric fence to keep their cattle in  (attached to the to the propr side fence) and Chris and I had to crawl under it so we wouldn’t electrocute ourselves back down the hill.  Fun times.

Brief interlude for FOOD

Special mention for food. There was an exciting market outside Britomart on Friday evening and we tried this fried hungarian bread called langos covered in garlic salt. It was so good. The texture reminded me a lot of the chinese yau ja kway, which is also fried and you have with congee, yum.

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Next up, chorizo hot dogs.

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My first cronut and probably the last – combination of the croissant and doughnut.  It was a bit tough to eat, it was probably overcooked.

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If you love asian food then you’ll love this place – Food Alley just in the centre (Albert Street) of town, just a big food court inside from all countries; Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Korean, Japanese, Thai etc! We spent a lot of time eating here and also because it was quite cheap ($12 for a meal), NZ is expensive. For example, a pint of beer can set you back anywhere between GBP5-10. Cucumber is $5! Crazy.

From top to bottom – Japanese bentoes (1 vege, the other fish), Indonesian Nasi padang and sweetcorn fritters (seriously amazing), Betawi curry (Jakarta), it had potatoes in it, spices and lemongrass and you could dump your rice in the curry (both of my 2 favourite things) and good old kimchi jiggae (spicy stew made with spicy pickled napa cabbage etc) from Korea.

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Dominion road near Mt Eden is also a haven of asian food. We tried the locak chinese bakery and a pudding shop. I had a yummy mango pudding, glutinous rice balls on the left, mango on the right, ice cream in the middle on top of mango slushie.

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I end the food interlude with hotteok a korean pancake wilth a filling of awesomeness, Chris had the standard version – with sugar, cinnamon and nuts/seeds. I opted for chocolate.

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You can tell from all the food that there are a lot of people from other countries who have made their home in Auckland. It’s quite interesting, more and more along our travels I wonder what makes people move to another country?

So, you may remember from the Fiji post that we met fellow Southampton people! Well, we arranged to meet up again and continue our fun. We found a boardgame cafe, which was awesome fun (there’s more shelves than shown in the pic below) I recommend the One night ultimate Werewolves game and the simpler bluffing Skull game. Oh yeah, w found a bop it R2D2, it’s so awesome but disappointing when I beat the highest possible score. Sorry Becky.

We did an escape room and managed to escape from the aliens with just 5 minutes to spare. Phew.

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We love Devonport so much that we went again with Becky and Jimmy. it was good fun, we found good beaches and more tunnels in the hills.

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There’s a tree growing out of that wall!

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I attempt yoga on a mushroom. it’s hard.

I end this post with the ‘British’ section in one of the local Countdown (a supermarket chain) although there’s other stuff thrown in from America etc. Good to see Wispas there. That reminds me, Cadburys in NZ is from Australia and those lot put stuff in it so that the chocolate doesn’t melt and it makes it taste weird. The chocolate to go for is called Whittakers, absolute amazeballs. I’d show you a picture of it but I’ve pretty much eaten all of it. I’ll try remember for next time.

So how many British items can you recognise below?

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That’s all for now !

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