Arriving in New Zealand

The view from the plane at last changed from ocean to the land of New Zealand. The kiwi next to me told me how great a place it was and promised good times were ahead. We touched down and went through the various stages of customs and without much hassle I was soon standing in the hot sun outside the airport, excited and ready.

I got to walking right away, just a little ways down the road I plopped my bag down and stuck my thumb out, quickly getting a ride from a guy who took me just a few kilometers. From there I walked down a bike path, some young kids rolling by stopped and talked to me a bit, asking what new york was like and if I'd seen many actors.

Eventually I hopped through a fence and onto to the motorway, cars whizzed by, a few honked. Once off the road and onto an on ramp I was picked up almost immediately. The guy driving was originally from one of the islands, he was taking his wife to a job interview nearby. They said afterwards they'd take me into town and get me to my couchsurfing hosts house.

While we waited for his wife we drive around a bit, he gave me a smirnoff to drink and rolled a joint too. He talked about how much he'd like to do what I was doing and see more of the country. When his wife was done we made our way into town, they drove up Mount Eden first so I could see the view, the whole city in all directions. They dropped me off at the house where Nils was waiting, my couchsurfing host. I left them with my email address and talk of doing a bike trip.

I talked to Nils a while and met some of the other roommates, there were 7 all together living in the house, all from different parts of the world. We headed into town where Nils pointed things out, then he met up with a friend who was going to take him up the sky tower, the space needle looking building in the city with a casino at the bottom. I wandered on my own from there, loosely thinking about fish and chips. By the time I'd wandered back to Nils house I was ready to pass out.

I woke up early, gathering my things and took to relaxing on the porch. A swiss girl appeared from inside, she was couchsurfing there as well. She was taking some classes in Auckland and had only a week of that left before exploring more of the country with no particular plan. I was munching on some Lucky Charms and I offered her some, she'd never heard of this cereal. She smiled big when she took a bite, I gave her more after that, "you could get addicted to these!", she said. She headed to class, I talked to one of the guys living there for a bit and then made a sign that said "north", not sure if I'd be using it or not.

I headed into town and found a place to change some US dollars into new zealand dollars. I decided north was a good idea, so stuck my thumb out at an on ramp. A construction worker asked me what I was doing, seeming a bit concerned, but I got a ride very quickly from a Japanese guy heading to the north shore. He said his english wasn't great, but I managed to tell he was involved in commercial fishing and loved where he lived. He dropped me off and gave me a folded up hat and some brochures, although I think he thought they were maps.

From there I got picked up from two guys on their way to go kite surfing. They told me they hadn't seen anyone hitching up north really, but on the south island they would see someone just about every day. I asked about fishing and they told me some, I had it in my mind now to get a pole. We veered from the main motorway and towards the beach, they said I'd have better luck on that road. I took a walk down to the waves briefly, then back to the road.

A couple picked me up, I told then I was heading north looking for places to hike and camp, they were heading to a park with a beach a ways up and said out was perfect. They'd  come to the country for a week and that had turned into two years. The scene out the window was getting better, green hills and trees, cows and sheep roaming about. They'd done a good amount of traveling, including by sailboat for quite some time, they gave me good advice on how I might be able to hitch a ride on one.

We got to the busy beach, much busier than they'd ever seen it. I walked down with them, then headed my own direction when they went off for snorkeling. I splashed around in the waves a while, diving into them and loving everything. I headed up down the dirt road and caught a ride from the parking lot, a local couple heading back to Auckland. They talked all about the beauty of the area, then dropped me off at the motorway when they turned south.

My next ride was crammed in a car with bag on my lap, the guy who picked me up was originally from the philippines, but much happier in new zealand. He dropped me off near the city of Whangarei.

I walked along the road a while until I got to a spot with a decent amount of room to pull over. Once there I was picked up by a guy with his dog out back on the flatbed and his son in a car seat between us. He told me some more about fishing, and naturally the kinds of beer to be found in the country. He let me off near a small motel and market along the road. I was picked up there by two people who would set things off and spur my first great adventure in the country.