After working for over one year remotely, I eventually checked into a flight to Auckland via Seoul/South Korea. Ahead of me roundabout 24 hours in a plane. But I did not care. As always, I was looking forward to some time to read and being forced to do nothing. 

I spent a couple of weeks in Auckland in 2005 while wwoofing (willing workers on organic farms); in 2018, when I hiked the Te Araroa, I also spent a few weeks in Auckland. I have fond memories of the biggest city in New Zealand. I was wondering how Auckland would feel after all this time. 

Although Wellington is the capital city of Aotearoa, Auckland is the center of all the hustle and bustle: 1.7 Mio people live in greater Auckland, the biggest university is in Auckland, it is the center of all trade and business and therefore the biggest international hub of the country. It is situated on the north island, and lies between the Hauraki Gulf to the east, the Hunua Ranges in the south-east, the Manukau Harbor that opens towards the Tasman Sea in the south-west and the Waitakere Ranges in the west and north-west. 

On the plane’s descent into Auckland, the night gave way to a fantastic glowing sunrise over the clouds. I had to smile as I couldn’t wait to arrive finally. Entering New Zealand was smooth, and I was welcomed to the country with a smile. As it was August and winter in the southern hemisphere, most of the people at the airport wore coats and boots. But I was surprised that it was less cold than I anticipated, even though it was overcast and the sun I had seen from the plane was now hiding. 

The city feels weirdly familiar but foreign at the same time. I recognize buildings, roads, and even stores I visited back in 2018 when I needed to buy warm clothes for my hike on the TA. I am amazed by the lush green vegetation, even in winter. Not so much by the rain, though. Winters in Auckland are wet, grey, and humid. This humidity doesn’t take hold of houses and apartments. Central heating or insulated buildings are not widely seen in this region of the world. People use electric heaters or A/Cs that blow out warm air (so-called „heat pumps „). I spent many hours huddled in warm clothes, with the electric heater beside me and using the dehumidifier. This is a very practicable device in Auckland: a dehumidifier removes the water from the air in your home until relative humidity is reduced to the level you choose. It is much more comfortable to sleep in a relatively dry environment where your books aren’t starting to be as wavy as the ocean. 

Moving to the city as a future inhabitant and not a tourist makes Auckland feel different this time. When looking for an apartment, I looked for other things: How far is it from the next supermarket? Can I walk to work? Is there a bus stop nearby? Does the area feel safe? 

Especially when it comes to safety, Auckland feels fine. From time to time, I hear people talk about neighborhoods that aren’t safe. Still, also, when I am not underestimating things, in comparison to many other cities in the world, Auckland is relatively safe. 

Every city has its rhythm: Auckland’s an early bird! With so many outdoor activities in the area, Aucklanders get up early and are sporty: they sail, swim, paddle, cycle, run, walk, hike, golf, climb, fish and whatnot. With the day starting so early, it is no wonder it ends early. Shops, even in Auckland’s CBD, close at 6 pm, and if you want to enjoy a coffee and a newspaper in a coffee shop, you better do that before 3 pm. I always loved to have a cup of coffee after work, read something and relax. You probably can understand my disappointment when my anticipation bust at a closed door to a café. Kiwis like to spend their late afternoons and evenings at home with family and friends instead of going out for a coffee or drink. I realize how spoilt I was with being used to stores being open much longer and cafés serving coffee until late into the evening. 

Auckland is an interesting city: The Central Business District is relatively small, and after walking for 30 mins, you can leave the skyscrapers behind. As small as the downtown is, as vast are all the suburbs. Most people live in single-detached houses with a little lawn and backyard, and once you leave CBD, permanent housing spreads to the horizon. Stores and restaurants are limited to CBD and some single streets in individual neighborhoods. As much as I like living in Auckland with all its amenities, the attraction is not the city itself but its location by the sea and on volcanic grounds. 


Exploring the world and myself by two feet.

Kommentar verfassen

%d Bloggern gefällt das: