Wednesday 31/01 (2/2)
Vlog by Jules: see below.
The flight was ok. The customs formalities on arrival are a bit long. First a long queue and then 20’ to wait to get back our tent that had to go through the biosecurity service. New Zealand considers indeed that tourists carry risks of the (unintentional) introduction of invasive alien species (IAS) that could threaten its native ecosystems and primary industries. Soil carried on the footwear of passengers (or in their camping equipment) arriving at New Zealand’s international airports carries potential hazardous organisms, such as bacteria, fungi and seeds. To mitigate these hazards, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Biosecurity New Zealand requires passengers to declare any footwear (and camping equipment) that has been worn on farms, hiking or playing sport, and will clean footwear based on the degree of contamination. Accordingly they kept our tent for inspection during 20’. I hope they clean it well… 😉
Same for the food: no food is allowed into NZ. And the search is thorough. We can witness a lot of seizures.
As usual, we try to be efficient upon our arrival: we take NZ money (1 Euro = 1.7 NZD), buy 2 sim cards (with internet) and go to i-SITE information desk (to take a map detailing some of the great walkways of Auckland and book a shuttle to our Airbnb). This shuttle seems the easiest option; it drives us (for 75 $) directly to our new house.
We arrive there after 9pm. It’s a great place: a full house, very nice, modern inside, with 3 bedrooms. Kids like the fluffy ‘full carpet’ on the floor. We’re happy to stay here for 5 nights (before a new camper adventure…).
We go to find something to eat. Fortunately, we are in Ponsonby, less than 5’ on foot from Ponsonby Road, Auckland’s busiest restaurant-café-bar strip. It’s a cool and vibrant district and we find rapidly an Italian restaurant (where the waitress is coming from Brussels…). Kids are happy. Ben & Jerry shop is still open when we walk back home (at 11pm) and Jules, Florence and I take a nice ice cream.
From our house we have a stunning view on the city center, including the impossible-to-miss Sky Tower.
Culminating at 328m, it is the southern hemisphere’s tallest structure.
I work till 2am (11:30pm Australian time). For the last time of our trip, we “lost” hours (in this case 2h30) with the time difference. We now have a 12-hour difference with Belgium!
Quick pieces of information about Auckland: Auckland is the major economic and financial centre of New Zealand. Auckland is held in the embrace of 2 harbours and built on the remnants of long-extinct volcanoes. Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, Auckland is regularly rated one of the world’s most liveable cities.
With a population of 1.5 million inhabitants, Auckland has 30% of the total population of NZ (4.6 million). Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world.
For info, 63% of the New Zealanders live in the North Island and 20% on the South Island (10% live in Australia, 5% in the rest of the world and 2% are… traveling).
Vlog by Isabelle: see below.
We wake up quite late, around 10am (7:30am Australian time). The 2 girls even sleep till 11am (12-hour sleep for Florence). The weather is crap (grey sky, wind, rain).
I go to a nearby supermarket (New World) on foot.
After nearly one hour the girls join me; they want to fill their goodie bag. Often during the trip in camper the kids wanted something to snack on and we didn’t have “unhealthy” things to eat. So they were impatient to arrive in NZ to fill a new goodie bag (knowing also that we will do quite a lot of treks during our stay in NZ). The difference between the purchases of Ludivine (only healthy stuff such as seeds and bars) and the ones of Florence (quite a lot of chocolate stuff such as m&m’s’ and Maltesers) is striking. We take a Uber to go back home (we are heavily loaded and it’s still raining and also it’s only uphill to the house).
We take our (cereals) breakfast at 1pm…
Kids then do 2 homeschooling sessions while I continue to prepare our 4-day stay in Auckland (activities, movies, walks, restaurants, ice cream shops, poke bars, museums…).
The weather stays the same the whole day: rainy and windy. Jules doesn’t go out of the house at all today. Isabelle goes out just to buy some wine before dinner.
We eat early today (7:30pm). Nice pork chops (in oven) with rice and apple sauce, prepared by Isabelle.
We work both late today: till 1am.
During the evening, I have a nice phone call with Olivier; it’s good to talk to him. It’s the first time since I left. It’s nice to hear all the positive things he says about our trip, which he follows closely. Thanks Olivier, and please continue to send us your comments on the posts and pictures; we are enjoying them a lot!