Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Land that Shakes

New Zealand probably isn't the first place on most honeymoon destination lists. Most people think of something relaxing and tropical, massages and cocktails, romantic walks on the beach. And although I agree that sounds lovely, we are not the sort of people that enjoy sitting around doing very little. After a day or so, we look at each other and say "so what now?". Suckers for paying for a spa suite, only to jump excitedly into the spa, and find in 5 minutes time we're over it and ready to get out. Also, New Zealand is close, only a 3 hour flight away, which means less plane time for someone who hates flying (hint: not me). No Visa requirements for Australian citizens makes things easy, and also very affordable business class flights. Perfect!

So on Monday 14th March we headed off from Melbourne, arriving in Auckland.

New Zealand is enough like Australia not to feel completely unfamiliar, but different enough to be really interesting. The traffic rules are similar, except everyone drives like maniacs. Perhaps they throw caution to the wind when so many of their cities are built on volcanoes, craters and fault lines.

They tell you that New Zealanders are passionate about sheep, but you'll soon find the dairy industry is king here and you're likely to spot endless cows rather than sheep in the paddocks. This doesn't necessarily mean the steak is overly exciting however, the Kiwi's far prefer to breed for milk than meat.

Our first few nights were spent in Auckland, not the capital city in New Zealand but probably the most exciting and arguably the prettier of the bigger populated areas, spread wide across the landscape accented with little hills and landmarks that try desperately to hide the fact you are in the middle of a volcano. On our first night we flicked on the small telly in our cozy B&B room, to a show all about volcanoes. Auckland will definitely be subject to a huge eruption one day, it said. It's not a matter of if, but when. Lovely. Welcome to New Zealand. Perhaps that's why there's no bugs here. Although it's quite a luxury being able to leave windows open in 25 degree heat without getting eaten alive, perhaps those with 6 or more legs have better sense than to live their short lives in a place that shakes and rattles and generally doesn't want to sit still. 

Lonely Plant book in hand, we visited One Tree Hill (there is no tree there), the Sky Tower and the War Museum.  The Museum is beautiful and interesting in equal parts, and well worth the visit. New Zealand was the last large land mass to be populated by humans, and it's flora and fauna are amazing and unique. I never realised New Zealand has no native mammals, although of course many have been introduced since people found this amazing land. 

Our journey is soon to take us away from New Zealand, picking up our campervan and heading directly to the South Island.

Sunset in Auckland from our accommodation

Auckland skyline - we went up that tall tower!

War Memorial Museum

Auckland by night

Inside the Museum

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I'm a young earth loving Tasmanian who loves nature, art, old things, handmade things, collecting things and embracing the lovelier things the world has to offer.