As much as I feel like a newbie to New Zealand, I sometimes have to remind myself that I’ve been here almost a year. I know the cheapest grocery stories, my favorite brands. I know what roads to avoid and where to get the best flat whites.
But I also feel like I’m still settling in. That this year has just been a warm up.
Since I got back from my trip it’s been a lot of moving around, settling back in, making new friends and reorganizing my life. In that process I’ve had to make a HUGE effort to meet new people.
I’ve been spending more time getting to know the Auckland couchsurfing community. I went to a Spanish exchange a few weeks ago which led to me meeting this girl who ended up inviting me to her birthday party which ended up being a blast, which ended up introducing me to another girl who ended up inviting me to her Rugby World Cup party. And THEN the first girl invited me to a tour of Karangahape Road tonight and I said yes. Because I’m pretty much saying yes to anything these days.
So on Friday night I took a tour of a street I’ve walked down a million times. I live 10 minutes away from K Road, passing it every day on my way to and from work. I’ve gone to dinner on this road, I’ve been to bars and every Sunday I get coffee and cake and sit and write on this road.
But in the YEAR I’ve lived here I have never once seen half the places I saw on this tour. I learned the history, found out there’s a ton of street art I never noticed and saw incredible, 100 year old buildings I never once realized existed. Like this amazing building called Maori Hall that’s been around since 1908.
When I was in Melbourne and Sydney I took free tours of the city, which both helped me get my bearings and as a way to see things I might never have otherwise.
I’ve decided that taking a tour of your city is THE best way to see it from a new perspective. Plus, you almost always meet fun folks and in Friday’s case I met a slew of Americans who had just moved here and I was able to show off my mad knowledge of Auckland life.
Point being, I’m super happy I went out and saw parts of Auckland I never would have known about and I think you should too.
Anyone else done this before?
Note: Most major cities have free tours (just Google it, i.e. “free Seattle tour”) so it won’t even need to break the bank.