After the heaviest sleep I’ve ever had, waking up on my first ever proper day in Auckland felt like bliss! You know the kind of sleep, the one where you feel like Snow White, eyelids fluttering, arms stretching, tiny blue birds tweeting around your head…
That is until I checked the time on my phone and realised I had about 15 minutes until my Job Seekers orientation started downstairs! 
Anyone who knows me in real life will not be shocked in the slightest.
But make it I did, with seconds to spare (not all limbs may have made it into clothes but still…). To anyone thinking about travelling to New Zealand on a Working Holiday Visa I would highly recommend coming through the Job Seekers programme - they help accommodate you to how the NZ job market works, payment and tax brackets, types of jobs available etc etc They even help you create your CV and get a IRD number (hint: VERY IMPORTANT if you don’t want to lose around 40% of your wages) and set up a bank account… 
Basically it just takes out the stress of trying to work it all out yourself. Extremely useful if you’re like me and wouldn’t have the first clue how to go about even starting all of this!

Any who, after two hours I was pretty much set up, so high on the glow of productivity I float on over to the information desk at Base and book extra days to stay (Lesson 7 learnt today - Three days is not long enough to stay in Auckland!) as well as a year long subscription to Stray travel - a hop on hop off bus company that takes you all around New Zealand, north and south, that helps you book activities to do as you go. It looks like a great way to see everything, and at least by paying for it all now, travel is one less thing i have to worry about money-wise whilst I’m away. 
And before anyone suggests anything, NO IM NOT SPONSORED BY THIS COMPANY! (unless, you know, if Stray wants to *wink wink* I’m totally joking! Or am I…) It just genuinely looks like a great way to get around, especially if you’re new to travelling, you’re by yourself and not really into getting pissed off your tits every night. I did that all at university, don’t think my body would last the year if I tried doing that again…
Now by this point the only part I’d seen of Auckland was the small area in and around Base. Base is fun and all, and has so many pictures of New Zealand pinned around the place it’s like being inside Google Maps, but it can hardly be construed as seeing this new place I’d landed in properly. Armed with a map and a hunger for adventure (as well as genuine hunger… it was mid afternoon by this point and I hadn’t eaten so far) I trotted down towards the harbour. I’ve loved the sea since I was a kid, and somehow since university I’ve ended up living near a harbour or beach, so it was only natural that the mermaid in me wanted to go see the sea first.
By the way, if you’re ever near Queen’s Wharf when your tummy starts rumbling, I’d highly recommend the small selection of street food stalls they have set up down there - Cinta Malaysian does some incredible Malaysian dishes (“No shit Sherlock!” I hear you gasp) and for $10 you can get a bowl of noodles/rice, veg and two meats of your choice plus a drink. And I’m not talking a piddly sized bowl here, I’m talking ‘bowl the size of your head’ bowl! It’s fantastic value for money if you’re trying stick to a travel budget. You could probably even stretch it out to cover two meals, but I didn’t because… well, I’m greedy!

Fresh and rejuvenated off the back of delicious food, I set my sights on finding the Sky Tower. Should have been a simple task really, it’s a gigantic bloody tower that sticks up so high in the sky you (supposedly) can see it from pretty much anywhere in the city.  But not me, oh no, for three quarters of an hour I circled the city trying to find that damn thing. Hell, I found a fricking fair ride, but not the Sky Tower. Ran into two lamp posts and everything. Eventually I ended up back near the hostel, so I slumped onto a bench in defeat and turned my camera on to record my plight…
When what do I see on the screen? ONLY THE FUCKING SKY TOWER!!! So big and obviously there that it was practically smiling and waving “coooeeeee!” from behind me.
And yes, before you ask, there is video footage of me making this discovery. Check out my Youtube channel to see it in all it’s glory!!
I blame the jet lag…
Speaking of jet lag, it was coming in big and strong by early evening. Despite the siren call of my bed, I made my way down to the bar next door to Base for their Pizza and Punch night because a) its free entry, food and drink, the key to my heart, and b) I’m on my own in a foreign country, and making friends might be a good plan. Still didn’t stop the first hour being the most awkward experience of my adult life - anyone else remember going to a dance at school or in your village where you didn’t know anyone, and spend the whole thing standing in the corner? Yeah, think that times 10 because apparently jet lag plus anxiety equals shyness… wait, when did this post turn into a maths lesson?!
Luckily, like knights in shiny dress armour, some of the girls from the travel agents next door - Jess, Josie, Sonia and Gaby - rock up and join the fray. Turns out they’re the ones organising the games portion of the party, and so I finally muster up the courage to talk to them. Cue a movie montage of drinking, laughing and dancing the night away until about 2am, ending with Jess and I end up running down the middle of Queens Street like mad ladies, sing-screaming at the top of our lungs and trying to find a Burger King.
Now what was that I was saying about alcohol and university…?


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