Auckland - Post New Years Eve
Trip Start Aug 16, 2003
92Trip End Apr 21, 2004
Returning briefly to check on Andrea's status (she was still lounging around in bed with no immediate desire to join the ranks of the conscious or mobile), I then stumbled across a Starbucks and sat down for a welcome coffee and bagel (by then, the time had reached 11.30 and I was starving). Most things in the city appeared to be shut and I was at a loss for something to do on my own, until I reached the cinema and bought a ticket for Return Of The King
I absolutely loved it - I certainly felt it was the best film of the trilogy (I know loads of people are saying this, but for me, it had everything, with a more dramatic pace than previously, leading to the well-conceived, if expected, climax). I won't bore readers with any more of my thoughts on the film, save to say go and see it for yourselves (if you haven't done so already).
Once my eyes had become re-accustomed to natural light once more, I found Andrea in Albert Park - a short walk from our backpackers place. The day was a gorgeous one, and the afternoon sun was intense - this felt so alien to us as it was New Years Day - it was peculiar to be in such a hot place at a time of year when we are normally freezing (or soaking). We stayed at the park for a further hour or so, enjoying the scenery and the incongruity of the buzzing of bees around bright, colourful flowers in January.
Continuing with our new-found summer theme, and acting upon advice from friend and Aucklander, Kirky, we took a ferry across to Waiheke Island the following morning
It later transpired that I had actually received far too much sun, as my peeling nose will testify. I couldn't believe that I had gone from having a heavy cold, complete with cough and sniff, to getting fried on a beach, complete with sunburn!
Returning to the city, we stopped off for a cooling and delicious Mocha Coconut Frappacino from Starbucks - this fantastic drink is highly recommended by us both, and we will definitely be imbibing more as we travel round NZ!
Our meal that night was a very pleasant one, enjoyed in the Occidental Belgian Beer Cafe. Andrea over-ordered massively, by choosing to add a huge bowl of fries and mayo, but the highlight for me was an 8.8% Hoegaarden beer that I had, called Forbidden Fruit - it was a potent, yet extremely tasty ale.
After checking out the next morning, we picked up our hire car and drove round to Eden Park to watch New Zealand (Black Caps) play Pakistan in the first One Day International cricket match. There was a great buzz around the stadium, despite it not being full, with the Pakistan supporters celebrating with drums and numerous incomprehensible chants
The match was a great one from the spectators' point of view, with NZ starting very well in the field, taking some early wickets and restricting Pakistan to a relatively small total. That was until the final few overs, when the visiting batsmen planted their feet and began hitting out. At the halfway stage, it looked like NZ had quite a battle on their hands to reach what ended up being a respectable score by the Pakistanis.
The game swung pendulously throughout the innings, with NZ also losing early wickets (one through a needless run-out) and then coming back and consolidating as Scott Styris provided some much needed stability. The game went right to the wire and Andrea was hooked. As the final couple of overs drew near, NZ needed well over a run a ball and Pakistan needed 4 wickets - one would have upset the Black Caps, but it was to be the home side's day. With a couple of boundaries in the penultimate over, NZ needed just two runs off six balls.
As the winning runs were hit, the crowd and players erupted in jubilation, with Styris receiving a standing ovation for his extremely decisive century. Andrea commented that she had really enjoyed her first outing at the cricket and would be keen to see other ODI's when we return to England - result!
Following the herds out of the ground, we found our car and drove, somewhat belatedly, to our next destination of Otorohanga, near the Waitomo Caves. Thankfully, the lodge owner was still around and not at all put out that we were checking in at 10.15pm!
Dan and Andrea