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Saturday 12th June - Auckland and Whangarei
By Claire
Tuesday, 15th June 2004 21:19

Finally the car turned up, although it's not the right one and they want us to bring it back on Tuesday to swap it. We tried to get to the harbour bridge but ended up driving over it rather than finding an opportunity to walk it. I think it's an organised tour thing, anyway, so we'll try it on Tuesday when we come back.

We really just spent the day driving and stopping and driving some more to see very pretty scenery. Everything's green and lush, there are masses and masses of soft round volcanoes and the sea is visible from just about everywhere. We got to a place called Whangarei (which seems to have an additional 'f' in its pronunciation) and stopped at a hostel that was in the brochure we'd been given. We were going to spend three nights in the Whangarei area, but after we realised that this hostel was actually a family's house and we'd be cooking in their kitchen and sitting in their living room with the children it all seemed a bit weird, so we only spent the one night. It was very nice, though, they had 33 acres of land, about 30 horses and some cats, and the room was fine although it was a bit cold as there was no central heating. There was a hot tub in the garden, but we didn't notice the sign that said we could use it until we checked out.

We battled Whangarei town's one-way system and found a pub for supper. It turned out that there was some sort of rugby match on later, and I'm scared of sports crowds, so we managed to eat far too much vbefore the match started, then went back to the hostel/house. I sat with the owners and their three young daughters and watched a combination of a weird film and a supermodel competition, while the cats fought for my attention, which was nice but very strange. When it became clear that I wasn't going to be able to avoid trailers for the last ever episode of Friends, no matter how much I closed my ears at every advert break, I went to bed. We haven't seen the preceding ten episodes or so and I'd hate to have the series spoiled for me at this stage. Hopefully we can bypass the actual episode tomorrow and stay away from television for a few days, and then it will all have died down a bit so that we can wait until we get home at Christmas. The DVDs aren't due for release here in the forseeable future.

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