James and I always planned to work for a few months upon arriving in New Zealand in order to save up some money after the fiasco in Cambodia. We know that as soon as we begin travelling around the country we won’t want to stop, so we figured it’s best to work in Auckland through winter until we can buy a campervan and explore the country.
Though, whilst my time zone is now 11 hours + GMT and I’m situated on the other side of the equator, it sometimes (somehow) slips my mind that I’m not in England anymore. My daily routine here in Auckland has so many similarities to the UK that sometimes I don’t feel like I’m away travelling at all.
I’m currently working full time at ANZ bank Monday to Friday. In the evenings I do normal, everyday things that I used to do at home: grocery shopping, working out, watching TV, doing chores. I live (with James of course) in a small but charming studio apartment in the city centre.
I’ve started to grow accustomed to the city; I know my way around and which shortcuts to take, I’ve figured out the traffic lights system and when I can walk whilst the man is still red, I’ve found the cheapest places to buy coffee, lunch and clothes.
But, the fact of the matter is that actually – I’m in New Zealand. Land of kiwis, the Haka and very fickle weather. And I’ll be straight with this: I really, really like it here.
Most backpackers believe New Zealand’s largest city is only fit for a stop-over or a day trip and argue that the best thing to do upon arriving in AKL is to leave. Before I arrived, I hadn’t heard amazing things about the city from others who have been here and I was convinced that I, too, would want to leave as soon as we landed. But I actually don’t feel like that at all.
Perhaps it’s because I have lived in the middle of nowhere since I was 11, perhaps it’s because I haven’t yet seen the rest of New Zealand, but in my opinion, Auckland is a huge, exciting city. It’s a mix of tourism and commerce, with a never-ending choice of restaurants, shops, bars and sights. It’s not too overwhelming, too hectic or too polluted. For me, it’s not “too” anything.
Auckland is absolutely perfect for what James and I need right now: somewhere to work, save money and live comfortably until the winter is over. It’s not somewhere I would choose to live indefinitely as I’m too much of a country girl, but it’s ideal for us until our bank accounts look a little healthier.
What I didn’t realise before arriving here is just how easy it is to escape the urban hub for a few hours and discover the abundance of stunning natural landscapes that surround the country’s largest city. That’s when I remember I’m over 18,000km away from home, discovering a beautiful country where the sky is ten times more blue and where you can’t go a day without somebody asking you “how you going?” I am loving my experience in New Zealand so far, regardless of the fact that I haven’t even left Auckland yet.
Last weekend James and I took the ferry to Rangitoto, an uninhabited island in the Hauraki Gulf which is in fact a (now inactive) volcano that erupted underwater around 600 years ago.
This weekend, we travelled to Waiheke, a bigger island which is famous worldwide for its beautiful vistas and vineyards – so, naturally, we went wine tasting. I wrote a whole post about what we got up to here.
We’ve also spent a few afternoons exploring Mount Eden and Mount Victoria, summits on the mainland, which are peaceful retreats from the busy city and also offer stunning views.
All in all, although working and saving is normally something one does before they catch the flight abroad and is not necessarily a typical image of “travelling” per se, I would definitely rather be here than back in Peterborough.
Have you been to Auckland? What did you think of it? Keep an eye out for my next post for full details on how I managed to find my feet in Auckland – get an IRD number, open a bank account, find a job and move into a flat etc…
Thanks for reading,