09 April 2012

New Zealand

Auckland's customs wins the most efficient award.  We landed, made it through passport control, got our bags, and out through customs in less than fifteen minutes.  Record by a very long shot.  We went right out the front door and onto the shuttle bus (which we did not reserve in advance) and it left promptly after we boarded.  We arrived at the Mercur in downtown Auckland just two blocks off the waterfront.  What a beautiful downtown.  We ventured out for a bite to eat then back to the hotel so I could do payroll- yay power, no rain, and wifi!  Our luck was turning.

We walked along the waterfront in the evening and found a great place to enjoy dinner.  We had enough Bounty fun in Fiji so we had sparkling water for happy hour and a great dinner on the waterfront.  We started with a mezze platter including shrimp, lamb, and calamari rolls.  Fabulous!  Then I had a lamb salad for dinner and art had a great coconut lemongrass seafood pasta.  We had died and gone to heaven.
We booked a long day the next day so we headed back for an early night.
The next morning we got up bright and early and hopped on the tour bus.  We were in for a 500km plus ride that day.  After a beautiful ride down the North Island we first went to the Gloworm caves in Waitomo.  Kind of like lightning bugs but worms in an underground cavern.  Very cool.  Then we continued down to Rorotua for a Maori concert and to look at the geysers, and mud baths.  We also stopped at a farm along the way.  Sheep outnumber people 10 to 1 in New Zealand.  We played with sheep, emu, cows, and Ostrich and got to see a sheepdog in action.  After a wool processing tour I spent the remaining time debating between yarns.  They had some mixed with possum fur which sounds a little gross but the fur is very soft and with it's hollow core is warm and light.  I decided on a Merino wool yarn instead because of the magenta and brown coloring that I liked.  We went out to the nearby neighborhood for a drink and a late light dinner. 

 The next morning we hopped a ferry to the nearby Rangitoto Volcano to go for a hike.  It was a beautiful day with a light breeze.  We got to the top of the volcano and were rewarded with beautiful views all around.  We headed down and decided for a low key afternoon walking around the town and shopping a bit.  I got a lamb cushion for Blizz (which she is afraid of btw, and a stuffed kiwi for Z).  Art got me a great shell kiwi pin. 

Off to bed and up early the next day to catch our flight to Sydney...


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