First of all: the answer is „no“ (who would have thought that? ;-)). I was told already before my arrival about the extremely friendly Kiwi hospitality, but it is always a completely different matter to experience it yourself. There is always a friendly smile and I felt immediately welcome in this country.
However, an absolute pain in the ass is my jet lag! Right on time at 3 o’clock, at the latest at 4 o’clock, I lie awake in bed and can no longer fall asleep. Anyway, I’ll keep on trying…and it should definitely work on the trail after a long day of hiking. But I might sleepwalk the first 20km of the trek! 😉
Back to Auckland: not a beauty, but very green and relaxed with a super atmosphere and some touristic highlights. Since I will pass by here again during the trek, I did not do the full tourist program. However, Mount St. Eden, the „city volcano“ and also the highest point in town, was one of my city trips and absolutely worth it! The view from up there is breathtaking, especially at sunset. Below you can have a look at the (photographic) results. 🙂
I was able to acquire last important pieces of equipment: a local SIM card for my iPhone, a backcountry hut pass so that I will be able to stay in huts along the trail and a PLB (= personal life beacon…or in other words: my personal GPS emergency button). Tomorrow I’m taking a six and a half hour bus journey to Kaitaia, from there I’ll continue to Cape Reinga the next day. Since there is no public transportation to get to Cape Reinga (and I don’t want to spend 50 bucks with a tour just for the transport), I must think of something else…probably hitch-hiking which is supposed to be quite easy in New Zealand. Well, I’ll let you know how I did it in my next article. 😉