It’s been a while since you’ve heard from us. Actually it’s been almost 2 weeks to be exact. But why is that? Well, to be honest, after so many weeks of travelling throughout New Zealand and constantly documenting where we are and what we’re experiencing, we really needed to rest a litte and focus on other things. Some of that was work, which we needed to catch up on and some of it was just a simple break from reporting out to the world.
Final Days in Auckland
Auckland actually has a relatively bad reputation in New Zealand. Not only with the locals, who seem to believe it’s a “huge” city and can’t really stand all the commotion (at least it’s that’s what we gathered from our conversations), but also with all the tourists. You see, most people fly into Auckland and can’t wait to get out of the city because the reason they came here in the first place, was to discover New Zealand’s nature. And you know what, that’s fully understandable. Because in the end it’s really just another big city.
But when you’ve been on the road for 6 full weeks and most of the places you’ve stayed barely had a population of 50,000 people (and that’s on the high side), then arriving in Auckland feels like discovering El Dorado to city slickers like ourselves. Suddenly you’ve got all these choices in restaurants (including tons of cheap eats), loads of stuff going on, skyscrapers, decent wifi and no more driving. Just walking around town, soaking in the atmosphere. It just feels so much more familiar.
We don’t necessarily expect people to relate to this. But for us it was really great to be back in a big city and just go about a more “normal” daily life. Granted, we probably wouldn’t have stayed as long as we did if we hadn’t already booked our flight out before arriving in New Zealand, but it was actually quite alright and there’s a number of things to do around Auckland as well.
Alternating between work days and day trips, we did day trips to Piha Beach (great surfing west of Auckland) as well as Makatana (wine region north of Auckland). We don’t have a ton of photos from our time in Auckland, but hey, I guess you all know what cities look like anyway.
360° Photosphere of Piha Beach
Getting onto a plane from Auckland to Melbourne, knowing that it’s going to be a 4 hour flight, feels strange. Yes, it’s all very far away but when you consider that flying from Hamburg for 4 hours will taking to all the way past Istanbul….I dunno, it’s just strange. I mean you’ve barely made it to the southern tip of Australia!
Either way, arriving in Melbourne was exciting. I guess it’s always exciting when you move into a new country. Yes, it’s still the commonwealth and yes, Kiwis and Aussies share some similarities (I hope I didn’t offend anyone), but it’s still exciting. I mean, here we were, coming from Auckland, a city of 1.6mln people, the biggest city in New Zealand. And now we’re in Melbourne which a greater metropolitan population roughly 5mln people.
To top it all off, Melbourne has a massive skyline. I don’t think we quite realized this before we took the Skybus into town. My initial gut feeling was that there are more skyscrapers in Melbourne than in Sydney. I’m not sure if that’s true, but that’s what it looked like.
Anyway, we had booked a proper (!) apartment in a new complex in South Yarra, just a 100 meters away from Chapel Street (thanks for all the tips Laurens! :)). You need about 30 minutes to get into the city center by tram, but that was absolutely fine since South Yarra is essentially it’s own little center with tons of restaurants, bars, clubs and cafés. You could feel that’s it a very popular area, very much much “up and coming” since there was also a fair bit of construction going on for new developments.
But the icing on the cake was really the apartment. Our OWN apartment. No more shared bathrooms, no more dorms, no more sleeping bag, our own little kitchen, laundry machine and tumble dryer….heaven on earth. We hadn’t had this much privacy and space to ourselves in almost 2 months and boy oh boy, did we love it! 😀
Our week in Melbourne was a healthy mix of sightseeing and work, and we really liked that we managed to strike a good balance between the two. That was something that we had been missing A LOT during the greater part of the last 8 weeks. We also put an end to all those self-cooked meals. It was time to splurge and eat out often!
Once again, we don’t have a ton of photos from our time here, but we still have some to share. But don’t worry, you’ll see a lot more photos soon, because we’re actually at the end of our stay in Melbourne. By the time you read this blog post, we’ve already headed out to the Great Ocean Road west of Melbourne. We’ve hired a car for 5 days and are doing a little round-trip. Once we get back to Melbourne, we fly up to Cairns for the great barrier reef and a whole lot more.