I arrived in New Zealand a little later than expected due to my flight being cancelled, but I am now in Auckland!!! I am really enjoying my time here as I am staying with friends, Rob and Mary. First thing in the morning I bungy jumped off Auckland’s harbor bridge. This was a lot of fun! Before I put my toes to the ledge to jump I was cool as a cucumber. My nerves were at a very low until I looked down past my toes and gravity took over… I was a goner! I closed my eyes tight while I free fell for a couple seconds. It was liberating! I want to do a bigger one now or I wouldn’t mind going sky diving! (Dad, I’m ready, you told me that we would jump together one day J)
After I jumped Rob and Mary took me on a day tour of northern Auckland. We went by car traveling all along the coast up from Auckland, visiting the north shore beaches. This was a very nice tour. I got to see where Rob’s kids, Rebecca, Kylee and James grew up. I also learned about the islands and the multiple extinct volcanoes around Auckland. It is very interesting. In Minnesota we do not have volcanoes. Seeing what they look like, as they are extinct is really cool. They look like little mountains that have grass and plants on them, with the top point sunk in about ¼ the way down. We also went up the sky tower. This was something that I really enjoyed. I got to see, from a bird’s eye view, where I had been that day (quite a ways) and just how beautiful Auckland is.
This is a picture of Rangi Toto Island. It is an island that people do not live on, but travel by boat to hike up and enjoy the beautiful sights.
Rob bought me this beautiful necklace. It is a Maori (the native people of NZ) tradition to give (someone cannot buy one for themselves) someone one of their necklaces. There are five necklaces that are all made of jade, but are shaped differently. The necklace that Rob gave me is a twist or crossover necklace. “It’s a seamless design that can involve a single or several turns. It represents the “bonding of a special friendship or relationship.” This necklace means a lot to me and is very special that Rob gave it to me. To say the least, I love it
The next day Mary and I went to the west coast and visited Piha beach. This beach has all black sand; this is so beautiful. The sand is black because of the high amounts of iron near the beach. In the summer the black sand can even burn your skin! Besides the beautiful black sand this beach has another charm, the Lion. Lion is a large mountain on the beach that looks like a lion. You can even take a hike up Lion! This looked like a pretty short, but nice hike. We did not hike up Lion due to the rains that have made the hike slippery. Lion got its name because of it looks like a lion; on the left is the lion’s head and on the right is its tail.
After walking along the beach and admiring the scenery on our way back to the city, Mary took me to the harbor in Auckland. As we went on a nice walk around the harbor Mary told me about the buildings. Many of the buildings are only 2 years old along the harbor, which were completed right before the Viaduct, for the Americas Cup and Waynyard Quarter for the Rugby World Cup. Others are older buildings that are now being revamped in the inside. Almost every other building along the harbor seemed to be new! This is a very nice area. To give you a feel of the area, I would go out for a “night on the town” with friends here, hypothetically.
The next day I went on a Nakedbus day tour to Waitomo and Rotorua. This was very fun! Our day began at 7:15 am; we hopped on the bus and headed out to Waitomo Glowworm caves.
At this cite we went on a walking/boat tour of the caves where we saw thousands of Glowworms and learned about their habitat.
From here we got back on the bus and headed to a sheep farm. This was a highlight of my day because I love being around animals and we were outside the most at this cite. Right when we arrived we saw a sheep dog do its thing by herding the sheep into their pen.
Then we got to see a sheep being sheered and learned some interesting facts.
After the sheep sheering show we went on this trailer ride that took us around the farm. We got to feed sheep, lamas, and the rams! I did not like the rams. When I was trying to feed a lama a ram came up and literally rammed me right next to my crotch! This hurt so bad! I felt like I had just gotten bit it hurt that bad! To say the least, I have been mentally and physically bruised due to multiple beatings by the ram.
During the trailer ride we also saw and learned about the kiwi and olive trees. The kiwis that they grow are used for wine and the olives for olive oil.
Once the tour was over we got back on the bus and headed to Rotorua. Here we had the opportunity to learn about the native people of New Zealand, the Maouri People. This was really cool. They put on a show for us that included their native songs and dance.
From there we continued on to the Geysers and the boiling mud! The Geyers are very beautiful; we were even there when they went off!
The boiling mud reminded me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory river.
A nice meal with Rob, Mary and Justin concluded the evening. The next morning I woke up at 5am to continue my journey to my final destination, HOME!