Auckland, the capital of New Zealand is a city of ‘first-times’ for me.
Well, it’s probably not the ‘first-time’ thing in your head now. But I did several things here that I’ve never done before abroad.
Let’s start with my arrival at Auckland Airport. From Penang to Kuala Lumpur, then Changi Airport in Singapore to Auckland, New Zealand with few hours transit in Melbourne, I was totally exhausted.
I’m a hard sleeper, and falling asleep in the airplane for me is like sleeping naked outside a ski resort in winter. I hardly caught any sleep the moment I left home. Moreover, I carried a huge sense of nervousness with me, travel anxiety they called it.
My flight arrived in Auckland Airport at late night. I forgot the exact time but it’s just slightly before midnight. Instead of venturing outside to a paid hostel with crazy expensive cab, I decided to spend the night in the airport.
I was lucky to find an armrest-less bench. But I couldn’t sleep well due to the coldness and insecurities when people walked by. With my eyes covered, I felt like someone’s looking at me from time to time. Creepy, isn’t it?
By the way, SleepingInAirports has a great guide to sleeping in airports all around the world, with all the facilities and amenities available. Check it out if you need it.
Auckland City By Foot
I couldn’t sleep well so as soon as the bus transit service became available in the early morning, I hopped on it. The return ticket from the airport to the city center was expensive. (Well, because I automatically convert it to Malaysian Ringgit. It’s normal, right…?)
I didn’t check into my hostel because I arrived way too early before the check-in time. Back then, I didn’t know I could leave my baggage in hostels before the check-in time. So I carried two huge backpacks with me while exploring the city! Cool? Probably not.
My first impression when I entered the city center was the crowd. There are so many people on the street, walking fast as if they’re late for work, but still want to buy a coffee before that. Streets were pretty clean in general (than Malaysia). I particularly love the well-maintained public parks!
Traffic lights and pedestrians crossing systems are excellent too, never had to wait too long to cross the street.
To my surprise, there are a lot of Chinese here. Not tourists, but they lived or worked here. Of course, there are Chinese tourists as well though, they’re everywhere, right?
The most-mindblowing stuff? They sell bottled New Zealand Air!!!
I was like, “What the… Are you kidding me?”
Read this news if you’re mind blown as well. People actually buy air, huh? What a world.
“Hey, did you get me any souvenirs? I heard New Zealand is a paradise!”.
“Yea, I got you 3 bottles of pure New Zealand Air!”.
Okay, I’ll stop.
With two backpacks with me, I couldn’t walk really far. Because I was still a newbie backpacker, my shoulders still hurt after an hour or so.
Chilling in the park with some pigeons is probably my most favorite thing to do there. (They are my only friends there… sob…) And I was too sleepy and tired to walk too much.
I checked into the hostel around 12 pm, dropped my stuff and went out for some food. At 3 pm, I was back again for a nap. But I ‘accidentally’ slept all the way until 8 pm when my hunger woke me up.
I promised I just wanted a nap.
It was my first time sleeping in a dorm hostel with strangers!
My First Night in Auckland
Well, I didn’t do many things at night other than grabbing a sandwich from a convenient store and ate them by the roadside bench. The night was a little more active than I imagined, even though most of the stores were closed.
After finishing my sandwich, I didn’t spend a lot of time exploring around. I went back to sleep in the hostel after writing my diary.
Yes, I know I’m wasting my life away, but I’m so sleepy…
The next day I woke up early, fully energized to explore the city more. Didn’t spend any money on anything other than food. Around noon, I took the bus back to the airport to check in for my flight to Nelson of the South Island.
Maybe I should’ve spent one more day exploring the city but I think it’s pretty enough for me since I didn’t want to spend any money on tourist activities and attractions. The future was completely unknown to me at that time.
Stay tuned for the next episode when I arrived in the South Island, where I spent almost 6 months!
If you’re planning a road trip to New Zealand, check out my 5000+ words Ultimate Guide to New Zealand Road Trip!
Til next time.