Auckland. The City of Sails. The largest city in New Zealand with over 1.4 million occupants. Auckland lies on an isthmus. An isthmus, for those of you who do not know, is a strip of land connecting two larger pieces of land, usually with water on either side. Auckland is set quite north on the North Island and it borders Waitemata Harbour, which opens to the Hauraki Gulf to the east, and Manukau Harbour, which opens to the Tasman Sea to the west. A very interesting city to say the least.
We touched down in Auckland right around twelve pm on February 9. From the airport we were bused to the Quadrant Hotel, where we would be staying for the next five days. The Quadrant was a very lovely four star hotel right in the city. It was also right across the road from the University of Auckland and Albert Park.
Upon arrival we were greeted with a nice lunch and a general overview of the schedule, as well as a refresher on who was who and an introduction to our new student addition, Will, and our new TEAN guide additions Lauren and Tommy. From there we were given our keys and headed back outside to collect our luggage and find our rooms. Our luggage was becoming seriously annoying by this point let me just say. Anyways, I was placed in room 1310 with the lovely Patience. The first things we did? Claim a bed, toss our luggage in a corner and jump onto the free wi-fi. Oh the grip of technology.
Not long later and we all descended into the hotel lobby to split off into groups and explore the surrounding city. Oh, and we got gelato. Tasty, tasty gelato. As we wandered the city we came to realize one very important fact: Auckland is extremely hilly. As we were told later, Auckland is the home of 48, count 'em 48, volcanic cones. In the city. Yeah, that's a lot.
So anyways, after exploring and another short break to ourselves we again headed out on foot to find dinner. The hunter instinct took over as we tracked our prey to a lovely little restaurant (don't know the name) where we were served a tapas style dinner of typical kiwi food. Also tasty. Tasy, tasty Kiwiana.
The follow up of dinner was to wander the streets with Tommy trying to find a shop to sell us some cheap phones. However, everything was closed. And by everything I mean every shop except food shops and tourist shops. It was seven o'clock or so at the latest. This is a major city we're talking about here. It was just weird.