We have fallen a little behind on blogging, so some catch up is in order. A few days before Christmas we left Maui and finally started the international part of our voyage. After a long but tolerable flight, we arrived in Auckland, New Zealand. We actually arrived the next day because we crossed the International Date Line (hey! I want that day back! What gives, how can I just lose a day of my life…)
I found New Zealand fascinating. In many ways it is like a “little” England, but 11,500 miles away from London. We spent Christmas in Auckland and the supermarket had everything you could want for an English Christmas dinner (a Christmas Pudding, a Turkey or whatever other roast you might want, minted peas, etc.). Oh, and they have sheep in New Zealand, lots of sheep, lots and lots and lots of…. SHEEP. Not sure if that’s like England, or not.
While in Auckland we visited One Tree Hill, a great vantage point to view the city. Check out what we saw, lots of….sheep, basically right in the public park.
For my beer fans, I didn’t find much evidence of micro-brewing, but the following proves there is beer of some local variety in New Zealand.
While we were in Auckland proper we also went to a great aquarium. Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium was built by repurposing underground sewage storage tanks that were no longer used. The Aquarium was built to allow visitors to travel through tunnels surrounded by the marine life, very cool. It also has a great Penguin colony exhibit.
Since we were staying in New Zealand for two weeks, we rented a car and took to the roads. This let us range pretty far outside Auckland. I admit, driving on the left side of the road is a little nuts, but I got used to it. Sarah only tried to grab the wheel once… and then she decided to escape to the back seat. After two weeks of refusing to come back to the front seat (and a change of countries to Australia) she finally relented, returned to the front, and let Elizabeth have back her accustomed rear seat next to her sister.
We made two excursions from Auckland. One to see Glow Worm caves and a second to hike up to a waterfall and stop at a beach. I couldn’t get good pictures in the dark cave with the Glow Worms, but it was a fascinating tour. The picture below shows the entrance to the caves.
Here is the beach and the waterfall we hiked up, with the “tropical” forest (really a fern forest) that we walked through.
After a week in Auckland, we started the new year by flying to the South Island of New Zealand to take in some of the natural beauty you may have seen in the Lord of the Rings movies. More on that in the next post.