Rugby World Cup Weekend.
21.10.2011 - 25.10.2011 22 °C
Arrived in Auckland on Friday and it was a bit of a shock from Fiji. The weather was ok, infact by british standards it was a lovely day, but not the 30 degrees scorching heat and humidity we had been used to. We were a bit shell shocked landing in a huge busy town. It was full of thousands of people from around the world coming to watch the Rugby world cup. Fiji had been so quiet and sparce that the hords of people here were suddenly a bit scary, we were still on Fiji time!
We found our dorm, it was a nice enough 6 bed dorm which we shared with one other girl, a guy from Aus and 2 dutch lads. They were all quite well behaved although the dutch lads were constantly eating some sort of take out (pizza, Subways, kebabs, Mcdonalds etc) which made the room smell a little rich in the mornings! The downside of being in the centre was that the busiest bar in the whole of auckland (Union on Fort Street) was actually right outside our window and had an open roof to it. It was so close that looking down from the window you could have dropped an olive straight into someones martini, if you were a good enough shot! This had the same effect of having a bedroom actually inside a night club. Something which is fun at 10pm, but gets a lot less fun by 6am when even heavy duty earplugs and a several pillows on your head cant dull the thud of a dance track or the wailing of a michael jackson classic!
Up fairly early for a quick run which turned into a 4 hour epic as we bumped into the Auckland museum in the centre of a park and decided to pop in for a look. It was full of Maori culture and war history and a huge queue waiting to see a cup.... We found out it was the Web Ellis Cup for the game later and had a look at it (very shiny and smaller than you would think!).
There were several fan zones around the city to watch the big game at. These were organised and caged off areas where fans could sit, eat, drink and watch the match together. The first one we tried was closed by 3pm (bearing in mind the game doesn't start till 9pm!) so we trundled to the next one on the quayside.
We sat on the grass watching strange New Zealand movies on the massive screen until the game started. It was a crazy atmosphere and absolutley rammed to the brim with All Blacks supporters. I went off to get some fish and chips and it took me over an hour to get back to Jayne who thought I'd fallen into the harbour or something!
Everyone was really polite and the majority of people sat down whilst the game was on, until a score that is when everyone went mental! The end of the game was so tense you could feel everyones nerves until the final whistle blew and again the place erupted into a frenzy of hugs, kisses and whoops of 'ALL BLACKS, ALL BLACKS!'. Walking back to the hostel was like walking through the crowds in a busy concert only permanently for about an hour. I have never seen crowds like it, ever. We decided that trying to get into any bars was futile so headed back to our night club bedroom for a few drinks. The music and partying went on until 11am THE NEXT DAY! when everyone finally decided it was time to grab some z's. (thank god!)
We took a walk around the harbour again and rode a ferry to a nearby dormant Volcano. It was called Rangitoto Island and there are loads of walking paths up to the crater and around the rim which we followed for a few hours. The scenery on the volcano was weird, one minute we were surrounded by black volcanic rock and the next by what looked like dense forest.
The top had a great view of the whole of auckland.
Half way back down we found some lava caves large enough to stand in so decided to venture inside. It was dark enough and long enough to not see if there was an exit but we kept on scrambling through using a mobile phone and a small torch for light until we were glad to see that there was an exit.
With all the excitement of the caves and the climb to the top we were exhausted so caught the ferry back and visited the Auckland tourist shop to get some info on the rest of the north island and plan where we would go next. Auckland is a lovely place, clean, cheap, good facilities but we were feeling like we had spent long enough here so time to move on after tomorrow and up to the north a bit more.
Time to have a cheap day as the budget had taken a hammering over World Cup weekend so explored town a little more and checked out the art gallery (which was free). I'm not a great lover of art although there were some interesting pieces. Jayne seemed to really enjoy it and took pictures of nearly every exhibit on our new camera.
(I know I said cheap day and I've just mentioned a new camera but our camera batteries completely died and a replacement battery was £45!! We decided to buy a new camera for £100 which was far superior to our old one and takes awesome panaramic pictures which is a function Jayne can't resist using all the time!)
In an effort to keep the days budget in tact we walked the half hour or so to Mount Eden and climbed to the top for some more spectacular views of Auckland and Jayne used the panoramic function to excess!!
(ignore random man who appeared jealous of our new panoramic function!!)
We spent the rest of the night tramping up and down massive hills with bags of dirty clothes trying to find a launderette with no luck. Apparently a land slide in the north had cut of all gas supplies to the island and therefore no laundarettes were working. grrr..