Believe it or not, first impression always lasts long. I Can’t forget how beautiful it was the New Zealand scenery view atop from the plane, especially during the sun rise. And i couldn’t forget how impatient i was to land.
Auckland International Airport has a beautiful scenery as it’s located at the lip of the sea. As you approaching the runway, you can enjoy the waters and green grass spread out happily accross it’s surrounding. I hadn’t landed, yet i was super excited. It wasn’t a vast or mega airport like singapore (for comparison: Changi Aiport handles 42 million and Auckland Handled 13 million people in 2010), but it’s simple, clean, neat and offers you New Zealand’s maori taste of design and warm welcome.
Things went out well for landing, luggage claim, straight to imigration check. One thing that i found very interesting is that the use of detection dog to track agriculture quarantine items called beagle brigade.
From the airport there are many vehicle you can use. We chose Airbus Express (http://www.airbus.co.nz/) that transport us from Airport to the city with cost 16 NZD. The bus transported us to the heart of new zealand – sky city tower. There we walked to the intercity bus terminal where we waited our bus to Paihia (Bay of Island).
The Intercity Bus is probably biggest bus network in New Zealand. With an advance book, you can get as cheap as 1 NZD per seat and it’s limited. The first time, i thought limited means within 1 to 5 counts, but when we booked it on July 2011 for 3 ppl, only 1 seat costs 1 NZD and the other as per normal price. Given that, we assume only single 1NZD-seat available per trip (so as we thought, unless proven otherwise). This is i guess also applies to NakedBus , another Big Bus Network in new zealand to travel between towns. For price comparison, you may want to check both bus’s website.
The trip from Paihia to Auckland is about 4 hours and 15 minutes with some drop offs on several places including tea break. We stopped at GATEWAY NORTH Motel & Cafe, SH 1- Kaiwaka to have a quick eat.
Interesting though, different with what i have with my company or public bus, Intercity has a strict rule of not having ‘Hot Food’ and ‘Hot Drinks’ inside the bus. Not just ‘having it carried’ but ‘having those done’ as well. I guess this is to prevent smelly odour left behind, food/bread crumbs and drink or food stain on the seat. But, such a chocolate bar, mineral water is allowed as long as they’re not spilled. Guess that’s why the bus odourless and clean. As a compensation to that rule, it has stoppage in cafe or restaurant for us to take our breakfast/lunch/supper.
During Aucland to Paihia trip, drizzling rain accompanied us along the way. That was why we cancelled our evening walk towards paihia lookout point. I was so dissapointed back then. In Paihia, We stayed at Peppertree Backpackers – a really nice comfortable lodge. Room is very clean, and the facilities such kitchen, living room, open area and bathroom are wide and neat, making yourself like home. Other thing we chose it, because the location is pretty near to i-site (New Zealand tourist information center) and wharf in which we took our trip the next day.
That night, My friend Adrian and i were only out to have dinner, bought raincoat coz the rain and wind were so hard on us and it was pretty hard to walk by – what a wet-drizzly first night on new zealand.
Best line “Finally” (by me and Amelia) after pulling our 20+++luggage along the ascending sidewalk for 15 minutes (i’m sure if it was flat it only took 5 minutes???) from the airbus stop we finally arrived at intercity terminal. We only knew its very close – who knew that it was ascending.
Most excrutiating moment dragging our heavy luggage along the sidewalk and i was assured back then that i’m going to have it dragged many times during our trip
Most embarassing moment using our plastic ponco raincoat – pink and blue – getting into fine dining restaurant with everyone starred at us busying take off our raincoat noisyly, Voila!!
Most defining moment Along the way from Auckland to Paihia – there’s nothing signaled us but the hilly green prairie with LOTS of sheep and cow that we were on New Zealand. Everywhere were a vast green hilly with perfectly cut grass the same height (never took a measure though). Never did I saw any high grass.
Check out some of our photos:
Highlights and Tips:
– Know your field
I never complained having my luggage carried along steep sidewalk (now that’s a lie)but it would be easier or at least ‘different’ if i know that the road ascending!! I would’ve stopped on the next stoppage so that i would go downward instead the other way around. Come on guys, after having 10 hours flight and jet lag?? Last thing you would expect is to found the closest route you would take is actually ascending – and YOUR LUGGAGE 😀
This includes where is drop on and off point of your bus. Luckily, both Intercity and Naked Bus provide detail places where they stop and depart. There, you can search in advance how war would it take from bus station to your accomodation – or; like we did – we determine our accomodation based on the distance from the bus station.
– Local SIM Card
When you’re travel for quite a long time, think of buying local SIM Card. Not only it makes easier for you to contact your travel buddy in emergency, or you can call for confirmation of tour, trip or bus you’re about to take. We used 2-degree Phone card for 10 NZD with minimum refill cost 20 NZD – and still have credit by the end of the trip.
– Umbrella & Basic things boyscout use
Depend of what kind traveller you are, some may have checklist, some may just put everything that comes to mind when packing. But think of basic need you may require during emergency: flashlight, matches, umbrella, raincoat, spoon/fork (aside from shampoo, soap, basic drug needs, charger, etc).
– Travelling 101
Having it all on your pocket does make you an independent traveller, but not always a smart traveller. As life, travel may brings you surprises and best preparation may not be your best buddy at that time; being creative and open are. So when you travel, open your heart and mind, all your senses and mingle with mother nature and people around you. Be creative, flexible, and humble.
and…. this is our day 2 itinerary