Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Zealand: Day 1

Day 1 of Spencer's Make-a-Wish trip to New Zealand:

Sunday afternoon we were picked up IN A LIMO to take us to the airport!!!!   
This completely delighted every member of our family and they couldn't wait to get in, press all the buttons, and try out the drink bar!   
It was so exciting, in fact, that Glen left his computer bag on the limo.    The computer bag that contained all the details of our trip, including the phone number for the limo company.    After a good deal of scrambling and making desperate phone calls to people who might be able to help us, we finally  got his bag back…about 45-minutes later.  Good thing we had arrived to the airport nice and early!   

Eventually we made it to the gate and  got settled in for the long haul ride to NZ.  
First a 6-hour flight to Los Angeles, then a 13-hour flight from Los Angeles to Auckland!   
We arrived about 6:00am on Tuesday local time and couldn't wait to get out and explore, but first we had to make it through customs and baggage claim.   Good thing the Auckland airport has plenty of island flair that kept us excited while we waited in the long lines.    Here was some Maori decor...

And of course there were some Lord of the Rings teasers as well.   This statue of Gimli  even had a sign in front of it that declared that it was on loan from Middle Earth!

We drove straight from the airport to Piha Beach, which in our estimation is a little slice of heaven right on earth!  

We hiked to the top of the Sleeping Lion Rock, which had originally been a Maori fishing settlement.  There wasn't a lot to see there...

except some of the most stunning views in the universe! 

The waves and rocks make the beach too rough for swimming, but the soft black sands were perfect for taking off our shoes and wading just a bit!  

 After exploring there for a while we drove a couple of miles and took a hike to Kitekite Waterfall.   Between the exotic foliage, the loudness of the insects, and the swooping birds, we felt like we were walking through a tropical jungle to get there.     The walk was slightly challenging (especially for our jet-lagged bodies), but the waterfall was stunning and provided a perfect backdrop for some New Zealand family photos! 

By the time we left there everyone was STARVING, like only a teenager who is late eating their lunch, but who's body thinks it's already dinnertime can feel.  We stopped at first place that we saw, which happened to be this little hole-in-the-wall,  Piha Cafe.   We gobbled down the hearty, but healthy fare and hoped that the rest of New Zealand food will prove as delicious as this!

Afterward we checked into our hotel, which was absolutely amazing.   We have a corner suite, with a kitchen, three bedrooms….

... and a stunning view of Auckland!  
It was an amazing first day of our dream journey and we can't wait to keep exploring this beautiful land! 


R said...

You have done some amazing things already while being up for 36 hours or more without sleep. Way to go. What a nice room with a view you have. Glad you are enjoying youur trip thus far.

Mika said...

Sounds amazing so far!!

Ashley said...

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing - it's almost like we're there with you! So very glad your trip is already off to a great and memorable start!

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