Wow, where should I begin? The past several days have been a whirlwind. On Saturday I was in Auckland and now I find myself in Rotorua, with four cities in-between. I’ve watched the most amazing choreographed fireworks show, gotten smacked around by intense waves, rappelled down a 50′ waterfall in an underground cave, learned about glow worms, mountain biked some incredible trails, and met a bunch of new people. It has been a fun week! Lack of time and internet access have made it difficult to update the blog but I hope to get you guys a post every couple of days.
In our last exciting episode I was staying with my Airbnb host Jody in Auckland in a really nice area called Herne Bay, with an incredible view of the Auckland bridge. Jody invited me to join her and a friend at an outdoor event where free movies are shown on the side of a big silo and food trucks make available any kind of fare you could want. The movie that night was Breakfast at Tiffany’s so I saw a few ladies dressed in homage to Ms. Hepburn. I met a friend of Jody’s, Diane, who invited me over for dinner on Saturday to meet a flatmate she was hosting from America. They were complete strangers but what did I have to lose?
I walked a couple miles to Diane’s place around 7:00 and had a nice (free!) dinner with her and Sidney, who is from New York and studying marine biology at Auckland University. After dinner we walked up to the Auckland Domain (park) to eavesdrop on an event that I’m not sure I can do justice in describing. Kicking off the Auckland Arts Festival was an outdoor show called The Breath of the Volcano. I should mention that many, maybe all, of the domains in Auckland are built atop dormant volcanoes. The Breath show capitalized on this by directing the fireworks at an angle from all sides to mimic a surging volcano. It was incredible and exceeded all of our expectations. We didn’t actually pay for the show because it was $28 per, so we stood outside the fence but still had a decent view. The volcano was beside a museum and images were projected on it to add effect. There were also men running around in glowing LED suits and fire cannons. I told you I couldn’t describe it. Afterwards I walked away thinking that $28 would have been well-spent to see the show from a proper perspective. Definitely the most creative and entertaining “fireworks show” I have ever seen.
Saturday evening I stayed at a hostel in downtown Auckland and woke up early Sunday to hop on the Stray backpackers bus to begin my tour of the north island. I think the Stray experience deserves its own post so when time and internet connectivity allow I will tell you all about it!