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Discover New Zealand Soon

Flying to Auckland, New Zealand during late November took us about 22 hours from the East Coast of the United States. For those able to travel first class and sleep somewhat comfortably, they may be able start touring Auckland as soon as they drop off their bags at a hotel. If time allows take a ferry to Waiheke Island home to several small wineries including Destiny Bay.

As a first trip to New Zealand, we were with a tour group that was focused on visiting wineries between Auckland and Christchurch. There was a different driver for North Island and South Island. While we normally would rather rent a car, the bus transportation offered a lot of insight into New Zealand. The bus drivers would take the picturesque routes between wineries and cities. While passing close to the edge of the water we saw seals playing in the sun. A whale was spotted in the distance. As we traveled there was a distinct awesome feeling with the flat areas of land and nearby mountains decorated with snow, almost like frosting on a cake.

In Napier on Hawke’s Bay, the stay at the hotel was wonderful. At the Scenic Hotel Te Pania, all hotel rooms have windows facing Hawke’s Bay. One evening at dusk I enjoyed viewing the colorful water fountain while beyond the Bay beckoned me towards it. Meandering closer to it the waves playfully played a game of tag with me until my tan pants were wet to the knees. On the way back to the hotel, I met two people out for an evening walk. As they walked by and noticed how wet I was they smiled while I said, “I was acting like a little kid again.”

Later on in Wellington, before we took a large ferry from North Island to South Island, we visited Te Papa. This large national museum is awesome. The details in the exhibits are inspiring. Areas of interest include history, art, Maori and the natural environment. Adults and children will enjoy visiting Te Papa.

We spent a delightful time in Christchurch, where at the time the city was recovering well from the September 2010 earthquake. We wandered many of the streets that are in ruins now because of the February earthquake. As far away as we are from the devastation, our hearts hurt as we view footage of scenes of destruction where we had walked and met people only months earlier.

New Zealand is a delightful country to visit. The wineries are both boutique size and giants with some producing millions of cases of wine. The history of New Zealand is fascinating. Best of all are the friendly New Zealanders. Enjoy a visit to New Zealand soon.

Cheers, Kathy

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