The Brown Kiwi is smashing. I liked it as soon as I arrived, and it still continues to please.
The secret to its success lies in its positioning. It’s not a hostel where you’ll find football-shirted twunts called Darren from Leicester, with over-gelled hair and meaningless yin-yang tattoo, guzzling boxed wine and bellowing across the street at some slapper with a watchstrap for a skirt.
And it’s not a hostel where some blank-eyed receptionist, themselves a backpacker working to pay off rent, hands you a threadbare set of sheets and casually motions towards your room next to the bog.
In fact, it’s more like a shared house. But with lots of people. We already have our in-jokes. Our characters. Our catchphrases. Our nods and winks that indicate so much.
We’ve already started having our little adventures too. Last Wednesday was Mini-road trip day. Stefan from Heidelberg had just recently purchased a camper van to tour NZ , but it had already developed a rather ominous rattle. Frustratingly, it was a rattle which disappeared completely whenever he was in 10 metres range of anyone with any mechanical knowledge. Our trip, then, was designed to make the rattle come back so, should we actually be in earshot of anyone who knew anything about engineering, we could get an opinion.
So Stefan, Jens (also from Germany) and I set off with no particular destination in mind and made our way North. After about an hour we decided we really should be going “somewhere” and so, as I had the map, I selected what looked like the nearest geographical feature of interest: a 4 mile long peninsula stretching out Westward from Auckland.
Once at the tip, we disembarked into the Shakespear National Park encompassing a beach, a lookout point and a hill full of sheep. After a brisk 2 hour walk we returned to find there was indeed a problem with Stefan’s van. Not a rattle, but rather that he had left the lights on and flattened the battery. So much for German efficiency.
Luckily, this is the 21st Century and whilst Stefan didn’t have any jump leads, he did have a solar powered recharger. And so after a failed bump start, we duly wired up the recharger and played Ludo in the back of the van until we thought we could risk turning the key.
As the engine coughed into life, we all breathed a sigh of relief: I don’t think I could have handled another round of Ludo.