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Posts Tagged ‘Auckland trip’

Day 5 and 6 of our trip:

On Sunday, October 21 we drove all the way to Cape Reinga.  The weather was cold, windy, and wet for the majority of the day. So we pretty much had the Cape all to ourselves.

Following the Cape we stopped off at Te Paki to see the sand dunes.  They were absolutely amazing, especially to me since I had never seen sand dunes before.  E hated every second of our stay at the sand dunes because the wind was so strong.  We kept thinking while walking along the sand dunes, ‘well, if we go a little further over that hill, we can see the ocean.’ Nope.  We never were able to see the ocean from the sand dunes.  They just went on forever.

Then we stopped at 90 Mile Beach.  The coolest part about this beach was the fact that you can drive your car down it on the sand!  I did a little bit even though we weren’t supposed to.

Our destination that night was Dargaville.  But before stopping for the night we had to see the biggest tree in New Zealand.

Tane Mahuta – the largest kauri tree

We stayed at a cool tarven in Dargaville that was run by a Texan.  The lady gave me a scare because she was holding E and next thing I know she said “lets go see my pig” and left the room with E.  I totally went after her to find out that she was referring to a mounted pig over the fireplace in the next room.  Phew!  I don’t mind people holding my son, but if you are going to take him out of my sight, you need to ask before doing so.

The next day we drove back to Auckland to fly out.  Along the way we stopped to see Piroa Falls.

The plane ride going back to Christchurch wasn’t as pleasant as flying to Auckland. E was very overtired and refused to sleep on the plane.  He was so noisy and wanted to look at everything.  So he cried almost the entire time.  Funny thing was I told Jeff to ask the lady next to him to take our photo and said to him “don’t worry, we will never see her again.”  So she took the photo.  Here it is:

But, Jeff went to work that Wednesday (first day working at Scrit) and he sits right next to the lady who took the photo.  What are the odds of that?

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Day 4 of our trip:

On Saturday, October 20, we woke up to beautiful, sunny and warm weather.  The three of us first explored all the little shops in Paihia.

The Bay of Islands

Following the gift shops, we made a short stop at Haruru Falls.

Haruru Falls

Then we ventured to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.  The grounds includes the site where the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed on February 6, 1840.  The Treaty of Waitangi is an agreement between the British and the Maori to live and work together as one nation.  It still plays a big part in New Zealand politics today because it guarantees the rights of both Maori and non-Maori.  According to our tour guide, the British interpreted the treaty in a different way than the Maori, which still creates issues today.

The first stop on our tour was the Maori Waka (canoe).  The canoe is called Ngatokimatawhaorua (good luck pronouncing that!).  You need a minimum of 76 people to paddle the canoe.  Ngatokimatawhaorua was made from three massive kauri trees.

Ngatokimatawhaorua is very long.

According to our tour guide, during one of the Queen’s visits she claimed that she didn’t believe that the canoe floated.  So of course, the Maori collect a couple hundred guys and sailed the waka just for the Queen. Our tour guide said that the waka has reached 50kph when they were showing of for Princess Diana.

Then up the hill we went to see the sight of the treaty being signed.

The location of the signing of the Treaty

Treaty House – British Residency

The next stop was the Maori meeting house, Te Whare Runanga.

The entire building symbolizes the body of Maori community/history.  The figure pictured below is the chief and the pole going from his head is considered the brain.  Each of the black planks with white and red swirls symbolizes the rib and each rib connects to an important figure/god.

The chief

After we were finished at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds we stopped in Kerikeri to see the Stone Store, the Kemp house, and Rainbow falls.

Rainbow Falls

Then we drove almost all the way to Cape Regina to stay the night.

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Day 3 of our trip:

On Friday, October 19, we had various outings planned in Whangarei (pronounced Fung-er-ray).  We first explored the Town Basin, which was the mouth of the river that flows through Whangarei.  The place was covered with boats.

Whangarei’s Town Basin

Had to share another one of E’s facial expressions.  Priceless!

Then we drove to the Kiwi North Museum to see the infamous New Zealand kiwi!  One thing that makes New Zealand interesting is that it has no native mammals, except for one species of bat.  So flightless birds, like the kiwi thrived throughout New Zealand.  However, when Europeans arrived they brought along with them dogs, rats, and possums, which made the kiwi nearly extinct.  We were there for a couple of hours because we weren’t going to leave without seeing one.  There were two kiwis, bother and sister, living in the nocturnal enclosure.  There were UV lights and infrared cameras throughout the enclosure.  By looking at the tv screen the kiwis were hanging out inside one of the boxes in the enclosure.  It didn’t seem like they were planning on leaving their little box so we decided to go look around the rest of the museum (a bunch of old houses, a chapel, a jail, and a railroad). The museum employees informed us that they were going to feed the kiwis at 2pm.  So we had an hour to kill before feeding time.  Upon our return to the enclosure, we immediately saw both of the kiwis.

A Kiwi!

The girl kiwi was chasing the boy kiwi back into the box, but he kept coming back out just to get chased back in.  Kiwis are much bigger than we thought. We originally thought that the kiwi was tiny and could fit in the palm of your hand.  But, they are actually a little more than a foot tall!!  They can run pretty fast too.  We really enjoyed being able to see a living kiwi, especially since it’s such an important part of New Zealand.

Next on the agenda was Whangarei Falls.  We were told by the lady who operated the Holiday park that we stayed at the previous night that we wouldn’t enjoy Whangrei Falls because America has Niagara Falls.  So annoying!! We of course loved Whangarei Falls.

The entire family at Whangarei Falls.

Peaceful.

Then we started our drive to the Bay of Islands.  Along the way we stopped in Kawakawa to see the Hundertwasser Toilets, which were designed by the Austrian artist Fredrick Hundertwasser.  I was extremely excited to see this because the summer I did work with the Roma in Eastern Europe our team did a side trip to Austria and visited the Hundertwasser Hause.  What are the odds of him moving to New Zealand and me getting the chance to see the rest of his work!

The coolest couch ever!  It has five New Zealand’s birds on it!  Can you tell me what they are? (PS I do know. I’m just seeing if you do.)

The exterior of the Hundertwasser toilets

The interior.

Since we didn’t want to spend too much time in the car, we headed to the Bay of Islands and spent the night.  More on our trip tomorrow.

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Day 2 of our trip: Thursday October 18:

On Thursday we woke up to pouring rain.  E’s appointment at the US Consulate to make him an official US citizen wasn’t until 1pm.  Due to the rain, our plan to go to the Auckland Art Museum didn’t happen.  We instead decided to walk around the area between our hotel and where the US Consulate was located.  We really enjoyed what little time we spent in Auckland.  It’s a really nice city.  We kept thinking how weird it was to not see any destruction though.  After looking through all the shops we stopped to enjoy morning tea in our hotel’s cafe (we are turning into Kiwis with drinking lots of hot tea with milk and sugar in it!).  Then the rain stopped just in time for us to grab a bite to eat before E’s appointment.

The US Consulate in Auckland

The people who work in the US Consulate are so stiff and strict.  Our appointment was at 1pm and we are the type of people who arrive just a bit early to appointments.  We arrived at 12:50 and the elevator wouldn’t take us to the third floor (the floor where the US Consulate was).  We tried again at 12:55 with no luck.  Then a couple of people who worked on other floors in the building told us that we weren’t going to get onto the third floor until exactly 1pm and that they treat that floor like it’s Fort Knocks.  Once on the third floor, we had to go through security.  More security than we did to get on the airplane to Auckland!  Jeff was just being Jeff and saying goofy things and the security guy hardly said a word.  Once inside everything went smoothly.  The US government spent too much money on the place if you ask me.  There was a flat screen tv playing CNN (to no one I might add too!) next to the glass window we had to stand in front of to talk to the lady in charge of E’s appointment. Needless to say it was extremely hard to hear what she was saying. Jeff and I had to raise our right hands and swear that E was indeed our son and that everything in the application papers were true.  We received E’s US birth certificate and passport today!  Man, both of his birth certificates are so super flash!  Much cooler than either mine or Jeff’s and we were born in the US.   It is interesting that it takes less time to get a US Passport in New Zealand then it does in the US.  We should receive E’s Social Security card in around 3 months.

After finishing our business at the US Consulate we got our rental car and headed to Goat Island.   This is what the majority of Northland looks like:

Terraces in the hills were everywhere!

Rolling, green hills covered the Northland.  It’s very hobbit-like.

When we got to Goat Island the plan was to take an hour boat ride to Goat Island.

Goat Island

Well, that didn’t happen.  First of all, there was no one there, but then we realized that we forgot one of our bags at the rental car place all the way back in Auckland!!  Thankfully, Vic, an employee at the rental car place said that he would take our bag to his place in Glenville, a suburb 30 minutes north of Auckland, so we only had to back track 1.5 hours.  When we planned this trip we decided that 3 hours was the maximum time for driving in one day for E’s sake.  Well, that went out the window on the first day with the car!  E wasn’t the happiest baby when we finally arrived at our accommodation around 8:30pm in Whangarei (pronounced Fung-er-ray).  I actually had to sit in the back with him to make him happier.

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On Wednesday, October 17, Jeff, E, and I embarked on our journey to Auckland. The trip began with a stressful start.  Yun Yng dropped us off at the airport.  The clock in her car wasn’t changed for day light savings and we thought we had an extra hour than we really did.  Once at the airport, we checked in and what not.  But we left our boarding passes at the kiosk and had to wait to get new ones.  We definitely cut it close because we really only waited 15 minutes in the terminal before boarding our plane.  Good thing it only takes two seconds to get through airport security in New Zealand!  YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES!!! E did really well on the airplane and I made sure that he was breastfeeding during take off.  He slept for the majority of the time.  He was really happy when he woke until he spit up.

Then this is what followed:

After arriving in Auckland we took the bus from the airport to the CBD (Central Business District – aka downtown) and checked into our hotel.  Our extremely tiny room was on the 15th floor and had a very scary balcony!  I had nightmares of E falling off it.  Yikes! We changed E’s explosive diaper and went to explore the city. [So every time (at least so far) we go anywhere outside of Christchurch for more than a day, E decides to have explosive diapers.  He did it the weekend we went to Kaikoura for our wedding anniversary and he did it on both Wednesday and Thursday of our Auckland trip!!!]  Unfortunately by the time we got out exploring, everything was already closed (shops close at 5pm!  Lame…and yet cool.).  But, Sky City, the casino/sky tower, was still open so we decided to go there since it was only a block or two away.  Then we went back to our room since it was E’s bedtime.

Here is a map of the Northland, so you have an idea of where we are over the duration of our trip.  I drew lines so you can easily follow along over the next couple of days.  By the way, Christchurch is located on the east coast of the South Island where a little bump juts out about half way down (see the upper right hand corner of the map for a mini New Zealand).

More on our trip tomorrow.

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Off to Auckland

Tomorrow afternoon Jeff, E, and I are heading to Auckland to make E an offical citizen of the United States.  We will return on Tuesday.  We are taking the stuffed sheep with us so you will still get E’s weekly photo, but from a different spot of course (can’t take the couch with us!).  While visiting Auckland we are going to do a mini road trip of the Northland.  Stay tune for more on our adventure next week.

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