As such, my journey up north should be logically subdivided into three parts: Getting to Auckland, my stay there, and the trip to Northland - specifically the town of Mangapai.
Part 1: Withdrawing from Waikato
My departure from Cambridge commences from the point of my arrival: The rustic old bus stop outside the town hall, where Viki drops me off.
The trip to Auckland first takes us along the very cycleway which I travelled just a week earlier, and into Hamilton, finally closing my circuit around the North Island. From there, the roads quickly get busier, and eventually the expressway takes us into the sprawling metropolitan area of Auckland with its countless suburbs. From here, it still takes us another hour until the bus reaches the city of Auckland itself, and arrives at the bus terminal beneath the Sky Tower.
There I wait for a while until MJ picks me up, which should be the beginning of...
Part 2: The Auckland Ambit
MJ is a nice dragon living in the southwest of Auckland.
However, since Auckland is quite the bit city, there's still quite some driving in order before we reach his place.
MJ's place is a nice little house in New Lynn - well actually, it's only the upper floor of the house, but that's still plenty.
After we arrive, it's pizza time! By hosting the Travelling Fox, MJ has cleverly secured himself a prime cut of Legendary tri-Tail Pizza, and for the first time in almost a year, I am using not one, not two, and not three, but actually four different kinds of cheese to make it even more spectacular!
The next day, MJ kindly takes me to the bus again, which - due to a fatal communication error - I booked from the northern station of Akoranga. Oh well, I'm jsut glad MJ is happy to take me all that way, and at least like this I get to see the western reaches of Auckland too.
Also, I probably wouldn't have found out about this creative computer repair service otherwise.
Before I depart, however, MJ takes me to sample Sal's Pizza, which is a chain selling NY-Style pizzas, and even though it doesn't come close to my Legendary tri-Tail Pizza, I have to give them credit for size and presentation.
But with that, it's time to say our farewells, for now begins...
Part 3: Migrating to Mangapai
MJ drops me off at the Akoranga Station, which is the northernmost of Auckland's bus hubs, and sports quite a modern appearance.
In fact, the nice dragon keeps me company until my inevitably delayed bus eventually arrives, and takes me up north into the final area of New Zealand. The bus first embarks on the Northern Busway, which is a transit track reserved for buses only, running parallel to the expressway, with dedicated stations in regular intervals. In fact, it's pretty much like a suburban railway system, only without the tracks. After that, the population density drops rather quickly, and before long, I find myself on a relaxed journey through the gradually less vegetated countryside, over hills and across rivers, until I finally arrive in - or at the very last near - Mangapai.
Originally, I had planned to go all the way to Whangarei, but my next host asked me to get off at Oakleigh, since it would be easier for her to pick me up from there. Fortunately, the bus driver is kind enough to let me hop off the bus at what tuns out to be a gas station quite literally in the middle of nowhere...
Fortunately, my host is soon to pick me up, and takes me up into the western hills, and onto the little farm where I should spend the remainder of my time here in New Zealand.
We arrive at my hosts' humble hillside house hiding in the hills just below the ridge-line road...
...where I make myself comfortable in my cosy little room.
What sorts of adventures would wait for me in this last place? Should it be a fitting finale? Would it be a comfortable accommodation? Or could it turn out to be another calamitous catastrophe? I would not know at this point, yet I was soon to find out. But that is a story to be told in the next chapter of the Travelling Fox Blog. Until then, be of great cheer!