Sorry for the post from a few years ago! Actually, it’s been almost 4 years since we got married! I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. I really enjoyed reminiscing about our honeymoon. It was wonderful and the beginning of our travel adventures together. I look so young in those pictures. I suppose that’s before school made me haggard!
Ok, well let’s get back to the present. We made it to New Zealand a couple of days ago. We took an Emirates flight from Sydney to Auckland. We were in economy of an airbus A380. It was so nice! Each seat had its own TV screen and entertainment system. I really think that Emirates has the best selection of TV shows and movies that we have seen so far. Unfortunately, the flight was a little under 3 hours. I didn’t get to watch everything that I wanted. That was the twelfth flight that we have taken since we left, but we will have a little break for a while. No flights until we go back to Australia in a couple of weeks!
While we were in Auckland, we stayed at the Hilton. Apparently, New Zealand doesn’t have any Hyatts. The Hilton was really nice. I suppose our expectations weren’t too high because of the incredible places we have stayed, but we were very impressed. In fact, the breakfast was one of my favorites!
We took the ferry from Auckland to Waiheke Island for the day. Waiheke Island is a small island off New Zealand about 30 minutes from Auckland. It is known for its vineyards and spectacular views. We visited several vineyards while we were there. We rented a car (a tiny red convertible) to get from place to place. It was so hilarious watching Justin get into and out of that little car!
First, we went to Destiny Bay. This is a small vineyard established in 1998 (I think) by a couple from California. They were on vacation visiting New Zealand and decided that it would be a perfect place to move and make some great wine.
Destiny Bay’s wine is very highly rated by the top wine critics. All I know is that it tastes really really good. Unfortunately, my favorite bottle (Magna Praemia) was almost 300$. Boo. Maybe we can get it one day.
The other vineyards we went to were: Te Whau, Stonyridge, Goldie, and Cable Bay.
One thing that we noticed is that most vineyards don’t waive the tasting fee if you buy wine (something that is very common in Napa). This deterred us from buying wine in a couple of places.
We planned to eat dinner at Cable Bay. We got there early and spent a couple hours sitting outside, enjoying the view, and having a glass of wine. They had beanbag chairs out on the lawn, and they were so comfy. Also, the view of the water was beautiful.
We had a little extra entertainment while listening to a girl from the US (on her honeymoon) give travel suggestions to a couple of other US travelers. Every single thing she said, Justin turned to me and said “that’s wrong” or “that’s not a good idea.” Not many people go to the lengths that Justin does to plan vacations, so it was amusing to him to listen to someone giving such terrible suggestions as if she was an expert. She was also pretty tipsy (she drank 3-4 glasses of wine wine to my 1).
One of the best things that she talked about was her “honey” fund. She explained to the other travelers that they weren’t able to go to Thailand and Tahiti (along with New Zealand and Australia) because they didn’t get enough money in their “honey” fund. From what we could figure, a honey fund is something that family/friends contribute to for the honeymoon – a good concept but she took it to the extreme. We had heard of it but not quite to the extent (and extravagance) that she was describing. She was explaining how they didn’t get to go on a MONTH long honeymoon (including Bora Bora, one of the most expensive destinations in the world) because they weren’t given enough money so they had to settle for 2 weeks in Australia and New Zealand. I realize that we have been on some incredible trips, but we have paid for all of them ourselves.
We didn’t mind listening to her foul mouth at all, as it kept us laughing for a while. Some people are just ridiculous.
Ok, sorry for the rant!
Dinner at Cable Bay was good but forgettable. After dinner we caught the ferry and headed back to Auckland.
The next day we had breakfast and packed up. Justin walked to pick up the rental car, and we drive about 3 hours to Rotorua. It was a nice drive with lots of hills. We saw tons of cows, sheep, and even some alpaca along the way.
Once we got there, we went to Wingspan. Wingspan is a conservation center for birds of prey. It features the threatened New Zealand falcons, hawks, and owls. We were able to watch the falcon flying displays, and the way they train them in order to be released into the wild. We were also able to hold the falcons on our hands (with a glove). One of them even jumped on Justin’s head.
After we left Wingspan, we set out to find our next “home.” In Rotorua, we are staying in an apartment over someone’s garage. It is really nice. The main house is overlooking the water, and the apartment has 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, 1 bathroom, and a nice living room.
After all the restaurant dining we have been doing, we were both craving a home cooked meal. So, we set out to find the grocery. We bought all the stuff to make spaghetti. Unfortunately, when we got back to the apartment, I realized that there wasn’t a pot big enough. I miss my big kitchen and Le Creuset cast iron pot. I did the best I could with what I could find, but it just wasn’t the same.
Tomorrow, we are going white water rafting. This will be my first time, so I’m a little nervous. I’ll let you know how it goes!
P.S. I have really been missing the dogs lately. I would give anything to have Moose slobber my clothes and snuggle with Chunk on the sofa.