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Searching for Answers in Auckland – Day 5
Friday 1st April 2005
Another day in Auckland, and I wanted to use this day to familiarise myself with the bus tours around New Zealand, namely the Kiwi Tours. I hoped the tourist information place could advice me on this.
I awoke nice and early again today, in time for the wonderful breakfast experience that awaited me, then set off in the direction of the Sky Tower where I knew an information place was situated, and indeed it was. It was also the easiest info place to find, being directly under the huge tower that dominated the skyline.
I had already asked at my hostel about the Kiwi Tours, but they returned my question with one of their own, “What is a Kiwi Tour?” I knew I wouldn’t be able to get any answers from here, so I hoped I would be in more luck at the Sky Tower.
The girl who greeted me at the counter in the spacious open-planned ground floor of the Sky Tower, pretty as she was, was extremely helpful. The tour I was interested in suddenly didn’t seem so appealing to me, as I found nothing was included in the price, and the tour was very restricted in many ways. I walked away from the counter as the words repeated themselves over and over in my mind, each time loosing a bit more appeal. As I sipped on a cup of tea and munched on a toasted sandwich, I made the decision to alter my plans and forget about the Kiwi Tours altogether. Instead I opted for buying my own car and driving about at my own pace. This idea was put into my head by the information girl, and it felt like it was exactly the information I was looking for. It felt right.
Having retraced my steps to the information counter, I was greeted by another girl from behind the desk, equally as pretty and equally as helpful. She pointed me in the direction of the Backpacker’s Car Park, the location for an underground car market. So off I set with a spring in my step, conscious of the pain still engulfing my lower limbs, but hopeful of driving back to the hostel today.
Once I arrived at the Backpacker’s car park, I was instantly met by a wall of doubt. I wasn’t sure if it was legal, and felt very intimidated by the number of guys displaying their vehicles proudly, watching as I intended to inspect the cars on show. I felt as though I would be completely played if I was to take any interest in any of these vehicles, and to be honest, none of the cars looked like they would take me to the hostel, let alone all around New Zealand. The fact that it was in an underground car park – poorly lit and swarming with boy racers, out of town and lacking any sort of security – only added to my discomfort. It wasn’t long before I exited the car park, much to the annoyance of the sellers who surrounded me, urging me to buy their incredible vehicles at amazing prices. I had seen enough and was glad to be back out into the light of day. I was now more confused than ever, so I headed back to the information desk.
The same girl who helped me the first time was there to greet me again, recognising me and offering a nice smile. I explained my predicament and was pleased to come away with directions for a large second hand car market nearby, and bus routes to get me there. I felt a lot better as I left the now-familiar surroundings of the Sky Tower, and took time out to watch somebody plunge down the controlled abseil of the outer Sky Tower wall.
On the way back to the hostel I stopped and sat on some benches under the shade of a large tree by the side of the road. Here I was met by a couple of homeless guys who informed me of a secret spot on the map that I clung to. I wasn’t sure if they were genuine, and wasn’t about to take a trip to a random spot on the map on the advice of two guys I have never met before, but they seemed friendly enough, and I was happy to chat to them for a while about what to see and do in New Zealand.
Burger king was the scene of this evening’s meal again as I pondered taking a trip tomorrow to the car market to obtain a set of wheels. I phoned home for advice from dad as to what to look for when buying a car, and was happier about how I wanted tomorrow to pan out. I was looking forward to getting out of Auckland and seeing the rest of New Zealand as I set my head down onto my pillow this evening.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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