If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from life in a hostel it’s this. It’s very awkward walking into your dorm in the evening when everyone else is in bed. Navigating yourself in pitch darkness, trying to not to make a sound is VERY hard. Oh and a second lesson is that you basically wake up when the first person in your room does.

So with that being said, I rose out of bed at 7am, took a lacklustre shower to ‘refresh’ and made my way downstairs for my free breakfast of two slices of toast. It was 8am and I was ready to take on the day.

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Trekking up Mt Eden was high on my list of things to do while in Auckland and it didn’t disappoint. With the help of Google Maps it only took about 30 minutes to reach the bottom of the mountain. But then again, with the help of Google Maps it only took about 30 minutes to reach a car dealership opposite the opening of a motorway that was, according to the app, Mt Eden.

A very friendly kiwi who worked in the dealership informed me of the correct way and 10 minutes later I was there.With the footpath in front of me I made my journey.

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It is rare that I say this but it was a ‘take your earphones out’ moment and enjoy the sound of the birds singing and the sense of relaxation of trekking up hills. The open fields and the ones surrounding by tall healthy trees was one to admire. I couldn’t help but to take a moment and sit on the bench that was in front of me to take in ‘the moment.’

“But you’ve only just got started on the trek Matt, what are you doing sitting down already?!?” Yeah, yeah, I know, but it was the perfect time to just enjoy the peacefulness of my environment.

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After trekking up hill after hill, crooked wooden step after crooked wooden step, taking photo’s every 20 yards I moved forward, I finally made the top. Boy, was the slight sweat I built up well worth it. The grand prize of making the top of Mt Eden was a beautiful 360 degree view that overlooked Auckland.

When I say the photo’s don’t doing justice it’s a complete understatement. The view was one that really took your breath away. With the cool temperature and the stunning look out at everything Auckland has to offer it was a defining ‘wow’ moment that will stay with me for a very long time.

After spending a good amount of time soaking it all in, the strong winds that started told me it was time to make my way back down the mountain.

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The afternoon hit and I decided to visit the Auckland Art Gallery. The building itself looked pretty cool and what made the visit even better was that it was FREE. Don’t judge me. I’m a traveller trying to not spend all the penny’s I have at once.

Much like any art gallery in London, there was cool things, mixed in with some weird stuff that was then supported with some ‘why the hell is this considered art’ milarky.

The Walters Prize exhibition occupied the second level of the gallery, which showcased the very best of New Zealand art. The gallery also showcased pieces of the theme “Time: Connecting Past and Future” and showed some of the ways artists working in paint, photography and sculpture interpret ideas of time and moments in history.

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One of the most striking moments for myself was a very eerie and darn right spooky video made to represent an old legendary story about a Maori women who would captivate men to perform rituals that would eventually kill them. There was a moment where said woman would crawl out of the water looked creepy as hell staring down the camera. When I looked around and noticed that I was the only person in this dark room, I thought that was me done. I’m not at all embarrassed that I made a quick getaway from that room not long after.

The worst part of the gallery was another video piece of a man who put his camera on the floor to film his feet walking along with four rabbits. Whatever this was suppose to represent was pretty lost on me.

After the day on my feet I decided to kick back and go and see The Shallows at the local cinema. I can safely say this is probably the worst movie I’ve seen this year. Seriously, only see it if someone else’s paying. And then they buy you pizza. And then they take you to Disneyland after. The California one.

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