30 October 2016

Day 2 Plan - See what we can see

A fine little playground at the local shopping centre 
Pah! We're not worried. (Hold Zach's hand tighter!)
We had nothing specific planned for this day as we expected a little tiredness from the changing time zones. So after a sleep-in we left around 9:30am and started more Pokemon Go based exploring. The children wanted to find some parks and play at the beach.
We found an lightly held Pokemon Gym nearby so we stopped and added ourselves to it and explored the area, stopping in to an open Subway to get some cookies. We hadn't realised it but this day was a public holiday in New Zealand so traffic was relatively light and many commercial places were closed. This didn't worry us as we weren't there to shop, but to explore and see what life was like in Auckland.
But I want to get wet!
Interestingly, other than being very hilly with lots of nearby coastline and tricky to pronounce place names for the visitor, Auckland was very similar to Australia. They drive on the correct side of the road, people are friendly and prices and retail experiences are very similar. It took a little coming back to earth again when we interacted with the locals as our accent was close enough to be not considered unusual. For the last two weeks in the US every time we spoke we received smiles and curious looks because our voices gave us away as being "not from round here". Now we were just another family doing some exploring.
Aagh! The waves splashed me!
By lunchtime we had arrived at a beach so we all hopped out and went for a walk. There was to be no going into the water as we had not brought any swimming gear or towels but we did discover a neat little walkway along the base of the cliffs linking one beach to another. As the tide was slowly coming in, the waves occasionally crashed onto the walkway spraying water into the air. It was a fun little walk with plenty of Pokemons to catch and sights to see. Add to this the chance of getting sprayed with water and this was better than many rides and amusements.
By mid afternoon the previous day's travels were catching up with us so we made our way back to the hotel, stopping in at the local shopping centre.
There was a playground here too so we stopped while we visited the supermarket to purchase breakfast and other supplies and see if we could detect many differences in groceries. We noticed a few differences but the range and options were similar to home which made it all very comforting.
We bought some fish and chips from one of the local take away stores. In Auckland Fish and Chips are available everywhere, but they are often sold at the same place as Chinese and other noodle options. Like Australia, these are mostly independent stores run by families, not part of chains. The food was excellent.
Earlier in the day I called the Hobbiton Movie Set to confirm our booking and arranged to be part of the 10am tour. We then checked how long it would take and realised it was 2.25 hours away. Aargh. When booking the hotel we missed that it was located 30 minutes North of Auckland airport and Hobbiton was over 90 minutes South of the Airport. The main reason we visited Auckland was to see Hobbiton so this was a bit of an oversight. So early to bed and we set out to leave at 7am next day.

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