Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Day 1 - Arrival in Auckland

We arrived safely in Auckland, New Zealand yesterday about 5 am. The flight was smooth and our entry through immigration and customs had a few bumps. The immigration official wasn’t too sure about our 6 month visa without a permanent address. She asked “where are you going to stay?” to which we replied “in a tent”. She looked at us like we were a bit crazy. We had to declare a few items in our luggage for customs – we didn’t want to take a chance with any fines. They have very strict bio-security regulations here since New Zealand has an island ecosystem. In the end, they took our Honey Stinger energy gels (because the main ingredient is honey) and closely inspected our tent.
We decided to book a motel room the first couple of nights so that we could get ourselves together before starting out. After we settled in by 10:30 am, we assembled the bikes. We had completed the bikes by about 12:30pm and realized that we needed to get out and about. We didn’t dare go to sleep even though we were getting tired. So, figured out the bus system and schedule and headed into the city center of Auckland. We spent the afternoon walking around looking for some more detailed maps of the North Island. The bus ride back was long and uneventful and we tucked ourselves into bed about 7:30pm. Thursday we will spend getting supplies and find a route out of Auckland.

New Zealand Info
Population: 4.1 million people, 39.3 million sheep
Area: 268,680 sq kilometers, about the size of Colorado

Number of international visitors in 2005: 2.4 million
Number of wineries: 463 (2004)

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