Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Day 1 - Devonport

The first day saw us arriving at Auckland International Airport in the early afternoon.

Obviously like just about every traveller we needed some form of transport in order to get around. This had been pre-arranged in the form of a car from the small but perfectly formed NZ rental car company EZY. These guys gave us probably the best experience we've ever had when hiring a car. The friendly guy who picked us up from the airport in a minibus was actually the same person who did all the registration details too, heck he even brought the car out for us and helped us with our luggage! They come highly recommended, the only downside is the car (a 2002 Nissan Bluebird), was around 4 years old with a few miles on the clock but it was very reliable and also a heck of a lot cheaper than the familiar larger companies. For 22 days the car, fully covered cost us just over £600.

Once in the car and armed with a handy free spiral-bound map of New Zealand EZY supplied to us, and personal directions to our B+B given to us by the nice EZY rep we finally hit the road and after short 45 minutes later on a kind-of motorway with nothing like the traffic on it that we see over here we arrived in in our first base - Devonport.

Devonport is a small, sleepy town (they call it a village), on the other side of the harbour to Auckland. From Auckland you can get to it in 2 ways, either over the Auckland Harbour Bridge or via the Auckland to Devonport passenger ferry.

Once settled into our B+B we set out to explore Devonport, it was already 3pm and a trip to Auckland seemed out of the question so the local town, sorry "village" had to entertain us for the rest of the day.

After an hour or so of wandering around it was time to find a nice coffee bar, one that served beer of course and reflect on our 23 hour journey and more importantly plan where and what we were going to eat that night!

Luckily Devonport is geared up for tourists doing exactly what we were doing and has a good range of places to eat, in fact it was here that we first discovered many
restaurants in NZ have a "bring your own" wine policy due to licensing reasons... which is nice.

That night we ate in a salsa bar called Los Incas. They do all kinds of spicy, mexican-style food and we can certainly recommend it, particularly the seafood platter which I indulged myself with!

After the food the jet-lag had caught up with us, in fact I seem to remember falling asleep at the table - not into my dinner you understand. Hey at least it wasn't a first date!


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