Landing in Auckland in the evening after more than 33 hrs of travelling. Thankfully I was able to enjoy a sleeping pod in Beijing giving me a good 1 hour of horizontal sleep between my two flights.
After immigration, a shuttle to downtown, and a 10 min walk, I reached my first hostel.
Budget: free travel credit card and 1300$ return plane ticket.
First day in New Zealand, I woke up at 7 am quite refreshed. The room was surprisingly quiet for having full house in my 7 bed room.
I took an hour to shop online for the best SIM card company, to understand it all was not great and had weird plans like “1G /month with fee date on weekends” or “free data in wifi spots of the company”. It was getting too complicated so I settle for the free SIM card in a little panflet I got from the hostel: 29$ for 2.5 Gb, but an free date hour very day. One that was done, I left to find food in the city since I was starving.
Undecided as I am, I walked for at least 45 min passing in front of hundreds of restaurants before just giving up and buying a 15$ egg-cheese-bacon bagel. It was all local made at least and pretty tasty... but 15$ made me say no to the 5$ coffee.
(Today is the 24th of and I still haven’t had a 5$ coffee!!)
Budget: free walk to mount Eden
Left Auckland Friday morning, walked from hostel 15 min to the Intercity station and got on my first bus: a double decker bus with big wide windows.
Five hours later, I arrived in the smelly town of Rotorua. Picture a small Saint-Sauveur built around a big lake. I found my second hostel on residential street, set up my stuff and left in the afternoon for a walk around town. 10 min in, it started raining, found a mcdonald to take shelter and got onion rings and a Hokey Pokey milkshake.
When the rain stop, I walked to Kuirau Park where you can soak your feet for free in feet thermal pool.
Budget: free walk around town
N’étant pas certaine de vouloir payer 40$ pour faire une activité... j’ai décidé de plutôt me promener dans la forêt de séquoia à 30 min de marche de l’auberge. Ma voisine de lit me guide comme elle rapporte y être aller souvent et connaître le raccourci pour s’y rendre.
Budget: free admission to the woods
L’après-midi, j’ai décidé d’aller visiter un village Maori, les personnes de première nation en Nouvelle Zélande. D’origine polynésienne, les traits font penser un peu au originaire d’Hawaï?
Un peu étrange, tu payes 45$ pour l’entrée du petit village, où une dizaine de famille habitent et font des tours guidées. Un mix d’une vingtaines de maison ou certaines résidentielles et autre infrastructure touristique.
On peut y déguster un repas traditionnel (cuit dans la terre et dans les « four » naturels), mais le 45$ de plus m’attirait moins. J’ai plutôt opté pour un épi de maïs cuit dans un bain thermal brûlant pour 2$ (~30 secondes pour cuir l’épi).
Budget: 45$ + 2$ visiting Maori village
Apparently the most visite site in NZ (that can’t be true?).
The walk to the falls takes about a hour, this is the first time I actually thought that NZ was as beautiful as everyone says it to be. Honestly, till this point, it looked like a mixe of california, canada and a bit of iceland.
When you first start the walk, you pass the bungee board, I enjoyed watching a few people pluge head first.
On Monday, the Tongariro crossing was still closed but we learned that the next day it would be opening again! Yay! I booked a shuttle service as soon as I could, then when to do a smaller hike close to town with a dorm mate. The problem in NZ is that towns are small... meaning barely any public transport. To reach the Hike we could either walk 2 hours to reach the bottom of the mountain or take a taxi for 30-40$... a another dormmate heard us in the room and offered to give us a free ride since she had a car. We hitchhiked back to town after the hike like everyone suggested we do. Hitchhiking here is quite common as there is mostly one road to go and everyone goes un the same direction.
It took us about 5 min on the road and a nice kiwi lady picked us up!
TAUPO - Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Tuesday was finally the hike everyone was waiting for, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The shuttle picked us up at the hostel at 5:50am, and it took 1 hour 30 min to get to the beginning of the track. The morning was chilly, around 5 degrees, you could still see some icy weird formations. The next 7 hours of hiking was taking off layers and putting them back on to adjust the altitude change and wind factor. The day could not have been more perfect, not a cloud in the sky, but not too hot. Arriving at the end after the 19.4 km a little pass 2:30pm, we waited for the shuttle to pick us up at 4 pm.
Even if the hike was crowded with thousands of people, I do think it is not overhyped and worth it.
Budget: 70$ for shuttle service.
Samedi matin, nous sommes allées chercher à l’aéroport l’ami de Kim et Andreanne, qui venait passer la fin de demain lendemain avec nous pour faire de la luge? Un genre de mini go-cart qui utilise la gravité pour avancer. On monte en gondole une montagne, ensuite monte en traylift une colline sur la montagne, met un casque, mini formation de 30 secondes puis tu t’amuses descendre.