Last city, but where is Phil Keoghan?
Trip Start Mar 08, 2011
84Trip End Jun 11, 2011
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Where I stayed
Further along the road, we made our last picnic lunch stop to finish whatever food was left in Britzy. Quite the mishmash of food options, but that is the camping life. We finished the last hours’ drive as we finally arrived at the airport. We found a Shell gas station to fill up the camper, but the gas station could not fill up the propane tank from the stove. So we headed back on the highway for 15 minutes, topped off the propane tank, and made our way to the Britz office.
The hotel was very nice. We had a kitchenette and washer/dryer in the room, which was quite nice. We took a small nap before heading out on the town. The plan was to check out the Sky Tower, the largest building in the southern hemisphere, first, but as we crossed Queen St, with its many shops, we took a small detour. Being our last city, having plenty of room in our bags (since we had already thrown out a lot of the clothes we had been wearing for the last 3 months), and needing last minute gifts, shopping took precedence over sightseeing. We went into a few stores, but decided not to buy anything until the next day when we would have more time. So we found the food court in the Westfield mall and had dinner instead. After dinner, we were both feeling tired, so we went back to the hotel to do last minute laundry and watch the remaining copy dvds we bought in Shanghai.
The next morning we made breakfast in our hotel room and then headed out in the rain to continue our shopping. Back on Queen St, we went into more gift shops than I can remember, but found one in particular that we liked. I was able to get a bottle of hot sauce that I liked (the same one that made Adam throw up at the Mexican restaurant in Queenstown) and Amy was shopping for kids Rugby World Cup tshirts for our neice and nephew (since the world cup will be hosted by NZ in September). We made it back to the Westfield mall where we had round two of the food court for lunch. It’s not that we liked the food that much, but we were looking for something quick and cheap to eat. Now, almost shopped out, we stopped at a few more stores, one of which had funny tshirts. I was quite interested in a few of the shirts, but at $55 apiece, I decided to pass. The owner of the store talked to us for thirty minutes about traveling in NZ, his time in the US where he lived for ten years, and why the shirts cost so much (you would pay more for a diesel or ed hardy shirt he reasoned). I was hoping since we made friends with him, we would get a discount, but no luck. Instead we went back to the store where we got the hot sauce and picked up a few more items as this was the best gift shop in town.
Now I was thoroughly shopped out. So we finally headed toward the Sky Tower. We tried our trick of just going up to the bar at the top of the tower and getting a drink instead of paying to go up. NZ is a little smarter than this as you have to pay anyway, and going to the bar is a perk. There are three levels where you pay more the higher up you go. The top level was closed because visibility was quite low and the winds were swirling. So we bought two tickets to go to the second level. I was able to get a student discount, but only after being interrogated and asked if we were staying at a hostel (and you have to show the key to the hostel, but I said we left the key with the front desk so we would not lose it). Not sure why you have to stay at a hostel to get a student discount, but those are the rules.
The view was pretty spectacular, at least what you could see in between the clouds. There are also glass panes in the floor so you can look straight down to the ground. Amy was scared to walk on the glass floors, so I stepped up. After looking around for a bit, we stopped by the restaurant to get a coffee and chocolate milk. While in the restaurant looking out into the city, we see a man fly by the window. As if bungy jumping from a 50 meter bridge isn’t good enough, you can go to the top of the tower, 300 meters high and jump off, having a full 11 seconds of free fall. Thinking about whether to do it, I decided I would draw the line at 51 meter jumps.
Now it was really starting to downpour so we made our way next door to the casino. Only having $40 in my pocket, which would not be enough to get us to the airport tomorrow, I decided to gamble the money. If I won, we would have enough for a taxi, if I lost, I would hit up the ATM which I would have to do anyway. We did not have a ton of time, so I had to skip my usual games for ones that either win or lose money quickly.
The next morning we had to wake up early to pack up one last time to head to the airport. We ditched the majority of our clothing and stuff from the last 3 months and made room for our sourvenirs. We made sure to get to the airport plenty early as our Quantas flight to LAX was full, and we didn’t want to get stopped for carrying a weapon (the boomerang) onto the plane. At the airport we managed to spend the last of our NZ dollars before getting on board. The flight was very comfortable and uneventful. The major problem was the flight left at 1pm and was 11 hours long, so it landed at what would feel like midnight to us.