Christmas time down under

So where did we leave you? Christmas eve, well we checked in to Auckland Central Backpackers after getting the airbus into the city. We mat an excitable/drunk guy called Dylan who was desperate for us to come to his party on a boat (right up until a french girl caught his attention). I went straight to bed and sent Andy to go find provisions before the shops closed for Christmas. That was it really for the 24th, sleeping after our flight, I did wake up long enough to enjoy the Dominos pizza Andy brought to our room, a large Ham and Pineapple and only £3.50!

Christmas Day!

We were up bright and early ready to go, it may have been the excitement of Christmas, it just may have been jet lag.

We left the hostel at 10, day bags packed and ready to explore Auckland. The sun was already beating down without a cloud in the sky. Our main goal for the day was to walk to Mt Eden, climb to the top and sit and have some lunch. As always Andy launched off at speed and come 11:20 we were sat at the top admiring the stunning view of the city, Andy was plotting a route to the next Volcano along suggesting 'we could get there by 1'.

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A little after 1, we were sat on a bench on the side of the other volcano (that's 2 of the 48 already today!). It was a pleasant walk leading through the shiny shopping district of Newmarket, sadly all closed up, it is Christmas day after all.

Dear readers, you may think this is enough for one day and we could walk back to the hostel. However during lunch while admiring the new view from the new volcano, Andy had concocted a new plan with the words 'there's a beach down there, we could get there by 3'. We never got there, while navigating through the mangrove swamp, I suggested 'this'll do'.

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We were back at the hostel by 5 after using the Auckland sky tower to re-orientate our selves, conveniently situated next to Auckland Central Backpackers.

After a speedy doze (from exhaustion!) we got dressed up to go out for our Christmas dinner that Andy had secretly booked at the Orbit restaurant on the top of the 348m sky tower. The tables and chairs gently moved round so that we could see the whole of Auckland as it turned to nightfall and the lights came on to illuminate the city. The food, view and company were brilliant!


To Start:
San Danielle Ham with thyme roasted pumpkin, rocket, shaved parmesan cheese and vincotto for Becky
Hot Smoked Akaroa Salmon with raw fennel salad, horseradish and potato, summer peas and board beans, honey mustard vinaigrette for Andy

Becky had Turkey Ballottine with sage and apricot stuffing, pepperonata, confit kumara, butter broccolini and cranberry compote. And for Andy Angus Pure Beef Fillet with grain mustard whipped potato, buttered asparagus, sundried tomato tapenade and jus

Traditional Christmas Pudding: cranberry foam, poached figs, eggnog ice cream and glogg jelly
Chocolate and Hazelnut Bavarois: served with bailey ice cream, espresso sauce and hand made macaroon

One thing we did notice during dinner was the Christmas music, it's all songs about snow.

And quickly boxing day

We packed up and headed out to pick up our hire car, already affectionately named Burt which we felt fitted well with the brown interior and cassette player, neither of us had driven an automatic before but how hard can it be? well 20km in and Andy's still trying to find the clutch at every set of lights!

We headed out of the city to Mission Bay for lunch and a paddle on the beach. We're now 350km south in Taupo, we've had a swim, cooked some food and retired to our tent.

Tomorrow? Well we think we're going to go for a swim in the lake, and then head off to Wellington, but we'll let you know in another installment!

Till the next time!

Andy and Becky
(Written from the comfort of our tent)