Sorry, should have done this post ages ago. After my swimming with dolphins adventure i just relaxed on the Tuesday, my last day in Paihia. I spent the day running between the cafe and the beach, depending on what the weather was doing. The bus journey back to Auckland was uneventful that evening and I arrived at Base hostel. I was told I needed to give my key deposit in cash so was made to run out in the rain and get money out. I also refuse to pay the stupid bank charges for taking money out of other banks ATMs so had to walk a little way to find a Kiwibank machine. Having stayed there before this change of policy was not making me happy. I got to the room to find one bed taken, another looked slept in and another was missing a pillow. There were also dirty pants on the floor and the room hadn't been cleaned. Shortly after I arrived two others did and housekeeping was sent for, still not impressed at all.
The next morning I checked out and put my bag in storage. There was a possibility of me staying with my dads friends that night and if I couldn't I would find another hostel. I saw that they had decided to implement a $2 bag storage fee but at this point I didn't feel like arguing, the woman was having computer problems anyway and was very busy so I put my bag in and just walked off, guessing they would charge me when I got back. This is where they day got really fun as I had decided to go to Kelly Tarlton's, an aquarium on the outskirts of Auckland. They have a free Shuttlebus which I took which looked like a shark and I had a 10% off voucher so I went. Its underground by the harbour and you walk in to a room with information on penguins and two small windows where you can view them from. You then walk through a museum-like exhibit about Robert Scott, Ernest Shackleton, and Roald Amundsen, men who were the first to lead expeditions to the South Pole. It was set up like their base the told their stories. They had everything from sewing machines and fur blankets to a piano and film projector. It was vaguely interesting. Then you walk out into a big room with the cafe, an exhibit on sharks, and the penguin ride. This was pretty cool as you got into a little car on rail tracks and got to go around the penguin pool and see them up close. This was one of the highlights. Then there was the Aquaruim where you stood on a conveyer belt and were taken under the glass so you saw the fish from underneath and next to you to get a much better view. There were sharks and stingrays as well as normal fish. at the end there were a few other tanks with exotic fish. Overall it was good, but aimed more at children and families.
After a bit of shopping I heard from my dads friends and they said they had room for me to stay the night so I went to the PWC building, where his ex-colleague works, and her husband picked us up and drove us home. It was a very nice evening and it was just good to be out of a hostel again.
Then next day I flew home, there was a slight delay because of the Christchurch earthquake but that was understandable and I arrived home. It was a fun trip over all and considering how the weather has been lately it was great to get away!