New Plymouth

From Auckland to New Plymouth is about a 5 hour drive. At no point during that drive will you ever be bored. The roads twist and wind through hills and valleys, then open up to scenic beaches. The sands are a rich black color with shimmering sparkles in it. 

When we got into town, we went for a walk along the waterfront before crashing to bed. 

The next day we spent the afternoon on the beach. We swam and went boogie boarding. After, we went to Pukekura Park, had some coffee drinks and watched a game of Cricket. We have no idea what was going on but it was still fun!

Later in the evening, we came back to the park for the Festival of Lights. The entire park is lit up with various colored lights and all sorts of light effects and shows. There was live music, food and drink. My camera could not capture this awesome place. You can see what we saw at

Last Day of Auckland

On our last day in Auckland, we hiked up to the top of Mount Eden, which is a volcanic crater in the middle of the city. 

We checked out a couple of the hundreds of parks in the middle of the city. 

We also actually went up the Sky Tower since we had some visibility. Amazing views!

And had a fancy dinner out overlooking the ferries and port.

A little Auckland and the beach!

Only one day in and we have already had an amazing day. We went into downtown Auckalnd to check out the Sky Tower. It’s like this cute little version of the Space Needle. When we got there, the rain started coming down, and there was little visibility, so we skipped it and headed up north on a random road trip.

Our sweet rental car…

Driving into Auckland.

Nicole at the Sky Tower. Turns out it’s an attraction to draw people into a casino right in the middle of the city.

Random little park we went walking along had some cool plants and vegetation.

Some weird turkey/duck looking creatures!

Later in the day we went to the beach!!

Sucky Sunday, Missing Monday (international date line) and Slightly less Terrible Tuesday

John is snoozing next to me in our hotel, which is music to my ears after the rough day, or days, we had getting over here. Finally some rest.

First, Sunday, Christmas Day, the day of our departure, we woke up feeling ill. In hindsight we think it was food poisoning or something. But since our flight wasn’t until the evening, we had left much packing and cleaning for that day. So we had to, amidst feeling terrible, firing out both ends and needing frequent breaks, drudge ahead, packing cases, cleaning the fridge out, moving cars around, etc. At one point I literally shit my pants, which is an unwelcomed first for me. We toughed it out, got some semblance of our packing done, and made it to the airport. Finally, we thought- the hard part is over.

Apart from the occasional annoying barf or two, or having to walk around seatac in feverish delirium, or being too miserable to do anything but stare at the seats in front of us on the first leg, we did get a brief break from trouble. Until we learned in San Fran Isco that there would likely be a mixup with one of our three bags, and that we wouldn’t be seated together on our 10 hour flight. Terrific. 

And by this point I can’t keep any food down, but also get very emotional while hungry, so I’m trying to hold it together but crying at every little thing, a long line here, and new girl there… John is, as always, being a sweetheart, a rock, a nurturer.. Even though he himself is feeling terrible.. And of course the long ass flight was uncomfortable and lonely, and of course the airline food was terrible and made us nauseated… But we eventually made it to Fiji and then, finally New Zealand. (As a hilarious aside, we were stoked we finally got to sit together by the looks of our seats on the last leg of the journey, but we really ended up across from each other. Go figure!)

We were greeted with news here that not one bag but all 3 bags didn’t make it here, and that nobody knows anything about them. So the clothes we have been barfing and shitting in since Christmas are the ones we will be in until further notice. Also, my once used $100 hiking boots, since they are not clean, might be thrown out, (biohazard apparently) along with some honey we brought as a gift. Ugh.

As good as it feels to complain, things have really turned around here since we left the airport. John is handling right hand drive well, our airport shuttle driver was charming, our studio is cute, we went to the supermarket and made delicious steak salads, and watched some New Zealand tv and then some Star Trek. I apologized for throwing fits and john is over it. Actually he’s not only over it, he has nothing but good things to say. “Nono- you did good. I’ve seen you without food before and you did really good today.”) he would be ridiculously sweet about all this… And best of all, we have a fan in the room, so john can sleep. I’m sure I will be too, before long.

I come away from this thinking that we really earned this trip, and that we are really tough and can get through anything. I’m so glad we chose a long duration for this trip, I’m so glad we are resting and most of all I’m so glad I have john.