Hi folks, another day, another post! I don't suppose we'll be able to post so regularly soon, so here goes. Today was our second whole day in Auckland, and having finally gotten our last bit of luggage from the airport yesterday afternoon, we are pretty much ready to go at this point; we did our food shopping for the first few days, divvied up the weight bewteen our packs, and put our bounce box in storage here at the hostel for pickup when we pass through Auckland in a few weeks on our way south. Its about 100 km between the start of the trail and the first resupply point, so we are playing it safe and taking 4 days worth of food, then another 300 km before we pass through the city again. Hopefully by then we will have fallen into some kind of stride and will have a better idea of where we need to send our box next.
In the meantime, we explored the city a bit more, checking out the (thankfully free) art museum here and catching a little Indian dance performance celebrating the Diwali festival in the process. As with most other facets of New Zealand society, the museum does its best to merge the Western and the Maori aspects of the culture here, and does an admirable job of it. Coming from the US, where the most signs of the indigenous culture are seen only around a roulette wheel, its pretty impressive. We then decided to throw culture to the wind when we realized there was a bonified Dunkin Donuts nearby, only to be slightly disappointed when we realized they still don't have good ole' American drip coffee (seriously, if anyone can actually explain to me the difference between a flat white and a latte, I would love to know.)
We continued our walk into a huge park surrounding the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The park itself is beautiful and showcases the crazy botany of the region, with all sorts of massive trees, ferns, and flowering jungle plants. Happily, it looks and smells alot like spring here, despite our worries that we were arriving a little earlier than suggested. Though there wasn't a dedicate botanical garden, there were several greenhouses and ponds, and is definitely worth a visit should you find yourself in Auckland. Sadly, we decline to explore the museum (which doubles as a memorial) given its price tag, but the view from the hill overlooking the city is spectacular. Afterwords, we decided to catch a movie, and saw "Legend" with Tom Hardy and... Tom Hardy, playing his own twin. It was pretty good, despite not having heard of it before, and was a good way to dodge some possible inclement weather.