Piha Beach

Hello there! Or Kia Ora as they say down under. I have officially arrived in New Zealand. I flew Air New Zealand, and they did an excellent job of making an economy seat pleasurable for 11 hours. They had all sorts of on-demand movies to watch which was neat. I arrived at about 5:30 am and I had a kiwi friend of mine pick me up. We had breakfast, but I still was not able to drop off my bags until 8, and check in until 12:30. To pass the time we headed out to Piha beach which is about 30 minutes east of Auckland. It was beautiful and had the softest black sand. Since we were there so early, we basically had the beach to ourselves. Which was nice since I decided to take a cat nap. I happened to arrive on Halloween and about 24 hours before the Rugby World Cup final which the All Blacks ( New Zealand National Team) were in. That night was going to be a big night. I wanted to be prepared, so after Piha, I finally checked into my room, took the most amazing shower, and a longer, much needed, nap. My kiwi friend Matt, was going to pick me up and take me to a party at his friend’s. After the party, we were to take another nap and then watch the Rugby. The party was fun, I met lots of kiwis, an ex-pat Irish Women, and a fellow American. I’m not quite sure how I did it, but I woke up and watched the Rugby at 4am.  Boy, what a game. The All Blacks were victorious. After what I think was my final cat nap, (too much going on, and no proper sleep in days) I explored the area of Mt Eden and then went over to Matt’s parent’s house for a local kiwi Sunday night dinner. It was lovely. I made it back to my room, took a shower and crawled into bed ready for my first real night’s sleep in New Zealand. Because of all the craziness that went on when I first arrived, I just had a few really tiring days, and then I was used to the time zone. Before I left, New Zealand was 19 hours ahead. Then they had their summer time change. When I arrived, they were now 20 hours ahead of the west coast. Then the States had their fall time change. So New Zealand is 21 hours ahead. It’s simple for me to think everyone back home is 3 hours ahead, but I am a day ahead. All very confusing. Mt. Eden (where I was staying) is a suburb of Auckland, so after two nights there, I made my way to my new room downtown. My first day downtown I took the ferry over to Waiheke Island. It’s a 30-minute ferry ride over to a quaint little ritzy beach town. Something similar to Coronado. They have all sorts of little shops, restaurants, and wineries. I did a lot of hiking and exploring that day. I ended up getting lost near a few different wineries. It wasn’t bad; the view from one of them was breathtaking. I could have lived there. I finally made my way back down to the ferry and back to Auckland. My last day in the city I wanted to explore downtown more and find Mckenna her All Blacks rugby jersey. I found some neat shops with lots of kiwi things I wanted to buy, but I will definitely have to wait until I make more room in my bag. Matt came and picked me up, and we went to the Warf for some kiwi style fish and chips. I’m not a huge fish person, but I enjoyed them. They also have this french fry which is made of a type of potato called kumara (which is essentially a sweet potato). It tastes even better than a sweet potato fry. Also, the salmon is different down here. I had a small bite, and it tasted less fishy than in the States. It looked more oily, not as flakey and a darker pink shade. I said farewell to Matt and gathered my things as I prepared for my next journey up north to the Bay of Islands.

T Minus 2 Day til New Zealand

Hi all! I can’t believe the time has finally arrived, and I will be leaving for New Zealand this Thursday! I have done a few pre packs, and now its time for the real thing. Today I am gathering everything, and tomorrow night I will officially load up my backpack. (I still have a wee bit of laundry to do). Truthfully I am not bringing a lot of clothes. When you look at my packing excel sheet, the toiletries list is much longer than the clothes list. Some toiletries I plan to dwindle while I’m down there like my contacts. I, unfortunately, have to wear Dailies. So I have to bring a crap ton of contacts since I’ll be down there for 56 days (and I even wear my dailies twice). Oh well, what’s a girl to do? I think on the clothing side I am pretty solid. A few yoga pants to be interchangeable between PJs, loungewear, or athletic wear. A non-denim pair of shorts and a pair of board shorts, a dress, and a variety of long sleeve shirts, t-shirts, and a nicer shirt to wear out. Although it is now spring time in New Zealand, I wanted to bring some layers just to be safe. So I have a fleece sweater, an athletic zip up jacket and a rain coat. Those three together should be pretty warm. I do plan on being pretty active over there, so I did pack a few sport bras. I wanted two pairs of walking shoes in case one got wet. So I have my trail runners and a pair of hiking boots. All the bigger bulkier things I plan to wear on the plane to save room in my pack. Also, my trail runners are on their last leg, so I plan to not come home with them. I plan to do that with a few things, like some undies, and older shirts. That way I can free up room for goodies to bring back. As the toiletries start to dwindle that should help a lot. Well, I don’t want to bore you any further. I plan on watching some Boardwalk Empire then head off to bed. Tonight I would like to go to bed around 1am and wake up around 9am to slowly start adjusting to the time change. That would be going to bed at 8pm and waking up at 4am in New Zealand. It’s a slow adjust. My first day there might be kind of crazy anyway with it being the Rugby World finals and all. The game will be in London, but the New Zealand National Team, the All Blacks, are in it. Oh and it’s Halloween. All within my first 24 hours in the country. It’ll be great!