The world is only as small as you make it.
My first mistake was drinking free wine on the plane and watching LOTR instead of sleeping...I arrived in Auckland early Wednesday morning, some how without developing a pulmonary embolism from the 14 hour flight (go Aspirin!). Much to my surprise, I breezed through customs and had my bag within the hour. I couldn't check into my Air B&B until evening so I figured what the hell, I will just wander around Auckland all day, drinking coffee in cute little cafes. I hopped on the SkyBus and was delivered to downtown Auckland. Then I started to walk. Dear sweet Jesus. The parasitic twin strapped to my back was trying to kill me. You see, you pack a bag very different to fly than you do to hike. But did I stop to repack my bag? Noooo, I just kept walking. And walking. And walking. Now I was all sweaty and stinky with a giant ass bag, I wanted sweet water not $5 coffees. I popped into the gas station and grabbed a Vitamin Water. They said it was $4. Um, wait, what? Turns out food is crazy expensive here. My breakfast with coffee this morning, $18. WHERE IS THE DENNY'S? WHERE IS THE NO FRILLS? My $8 Twix milkshake at Grill & Shakes however, totally worth it. Also, they very kindly let me squat in their upstairs sitting area for most of the afternoon, even when I fell asleep a couple times. I headed to my Air B&B to stay with Courtenay who is becoming a doctor and lives in a super cool condo. I stayed on her couch which was super comfy and so much nicer than a hostel. I slept like the dead.
When I got up yesterday morning I decided to go on a free walking tour of Auckland, hoping it would get me more acquainted with the city and maybe help me meet a few people. It's kind of funny because when I'm alone hiking, I'm not lonely at all, but put me in a city where I don't know anyone and BAM. I stopped for breakfast at Okra Espresso Lounge mostly because they had a great sign outside. Thankfully the food and coffee were great too!
I took the train into town, which was super easy and cheap, don't be intimidated! I met up with the walking tour down by the harbour and our very friendly guide was Craig (I hope that is his name...). He asked everyone who was travelling alone to raise their hands, simple but so effective. I struck up a conversation with the girl next to me from Wisconsin and during the tour also talked to two sisters from North Bay, as well as a guy from Alberta. The tour itself was awesome, our guide was very knowledgeable and you could tell he loved his city and culture. I highly recommend you do it if you are ever in Auckland!
After the tour finished I had planned to go to Mount Eden where you can get a really great view of the city, but now I knew these people and we were having a blast chatting and cracking jokes. We ended up exploring the city further the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. The girls are all staying in NZ for quite a while so I may just see them again if the timing is right!
Today I fly to Queenstown and then hop on a bus to Te Anau where I stay in a hostel for 2 nights before starting the Kepler Track. Immediately after finishing that hike I start a second, so when I don't post to IG for a week keep calm, I'm in the mountains taking way too many pictures!