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Auckland with Lawrence

The first 3 days in New Zealand before getting on the Kiwi Experience

sunny 24 °C
View Kendrick in Asia and Australasia - The world is my back garden on kendrick's travel map.

I arrived to Auckland international airport at about 23:30. NZ customs confiscated my 3 cheese rolls I'd hand made. I was meeting Lawrence Rutt, an old friend I lived with when we were at Warwick Uni studying civil engineering together. He was collecting me from the airport. As I walk out of arrivals I scan my eyes across the crowd of people waiting to collect the passengers, Lawrence is nowhere to be seen. I start walking out, playing it cool, not to draw attention to myself that the person collecting me hasn't come when I see Lawrence, this 6'4" guy storming towards me at twice the speed a normal person moves wearing the shortest pair of shorts I'd ever seen (until I bought a shorter pair the following day, having been told it's fashion in NZ) shouting 'come along, this parking is costing me 20c/min'.

As we drove back to his house he pointed out a few areas of interest. We stopped at the base of a volcano intending to drive to the top for a good lookout point over Auckland. Unfortunately the gate to the road up was locked so we decided to walk to the top. This is when I first realised that Lawrence doesn't just walk at twice the pace of a normal human being but also has a disjointed perception of what's a long way. His legs are so long everywhere he goes by foot is only half the distance for anyone else. I just jogged along side him.

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Lawrence

The views at the top of the volcano were worth it. 360 degree night-time view of the city including the views of many other dormant volcanos dispersed amongst the city. We headed down and back to his house.

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Day 40 (Sat 03/12/2011)

We woke up and headed out for brunch with his house mates and a number of other associates. From here we walked into town via his gym where we fit in a quick workout. After leaving the gym we got sent to a sports clear out sale just round the corner. Having joked about our motive for going there being to buy me some tiny 'fashionable' shorts; we actually found some smaller than any Lawrence owned. I also obtained a free t-shirt from their prize bucket.

We got some food and spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Auckland. I realised that Lawrence's walking style the previous night had not been a 1 off. We walked so far and so fast but I'm not complaining. We did end up seeing quite a lot including some very expensive boats in the docks and the main part of the CBD.

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Boats stacked so high

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Huge private boat in the marina

We walked back to the house where I begun modifying the free t-shirt I had gained. My plan was to make it into a stylish vest; doing a little more than just cutting the sleeves off. I measured it up, cut of what I needed to, leaving enough material to turn the edges over. I've never sewn in my life but I decided to give it ago on my own accord without looking up how to do it. The sewing started off pretty messy and slow but I soon got the hang of it and improved. I was pretty happy at the end that I'd learnt a new skill.

Later that night we walked to the supermarket that was 'just around the corner'; this turned out to be the corner past the christmas lights that we 30 minute walk away...and carried all the shopping home.

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Day 41 (Sun 04/12/2011)

Lawrence's work had chartered a train that goes up a mountain through a rainforest to visit a large dam providing some of the drinking water to Auckland. The train ride was extremely scenic, going through tunnels and over bridges through thick rainforest. The final stretch had to be walked; this was 153 steps up the face of the dam which was pretty cool. The views of the reservoir at the top and the dam below were breathtaking.

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The train in the torrential rain

The whole day we had torrential rain which kind of added to the rainforest experience. What better to do in torrential rain than go to some outside natural hot baths. We drove about 30 minutes north to an area that has natural hot springs, the water was so nice and it was amazing having the heavy rain pouring down whilst you were in the steaming baths.

This place has been owned by a Korean couple for the past 30 years. In the past 30 years the baths haven't seen 1 day of maintenance (or cleaning for that matter). There were 3 large square baths and 3 small hot tubs, the place was pretty much empty so we often had the pools to ourselves. I thought the basicness of it added to the character and like pretty much everything I do, I thought it was amazing and could have stayed there all day.

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One of the pools at the hot springs

In the evening we went to a local food court and were joined by 4 of Lawrence's friends where we got a relatively cheap meal.

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Day 42 (Mon 05/12/2011)

After a lay in we cooked up a big breakfast using the eggs from the chickens in the garden. We then went to Lawrence's gym to work through his new training program I prepared; best workout I've done in ages. Did a quick walk to the shops then headed home to get a few things done ready for leaving in the morning.

I finished sewing the rest of my vest and Lawrence's landlord cooked dinner for everyone.

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It was good hanging out with Lawrence, I forgot how entertaining he was. Tomorrow I have to be at a central Auckland backpackers to get collected for my first kiwi experience bus. After an early start I plan to get dropped off at the pick up point in Lawrence's jaguar, newly fitted with sheepskin drapes.

Posted by kendrick 14:42 Archived in New Zealand

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