June 11, 2017

June 11, 2017

Kia Ora: Welcome to New Zealand

I’d be a terrible Tolkien fan if I lived this entire lifetime without trekking to the real Hobbiton. Right? Right. Hence our trip this spring to New Zealand, with all its attendant hobbit goodness.

Getting There

The worst part of traveling to New Zealand is traveling to New Zealand. For us, it was six hours to Los Angeles followed by twelve hours to Auckland. We upgraded to business class, so even though this picture was taken at 11 pm (and 2 am Heather time), I was pretty pumped.

Inexplicably, dinner was served shortly after this picture was taken.

Fortunately, once you land, it will be beach weather. Strike that: It’ll be beach CULTURE. Sunny, warm, everyone in shorts, here’s-an-ice-cream-you-can-sit-over-there. Kiwis are, on average, the most laid-back people I have ever met. Not so great when it comes to details and deadlines, but wonderful when you’re on holiday.

Typical Monday morning: fishing off a pier.

What We Did

You know I like a pretty full itinerary on international trips, and this one was no exception.

We ziplined.

At this point, I had survived my first of three ziplines. Was feeling pretty confident despite the outfit.

Learned about New Zealand’s independence.

The Treaty of Waitangi established New Zealand's independence.

Went dolphin-watching.

They came much closer than when we did this in Iceland. Take THAT, Iceland.

Sailed through a hole in a rock called The Hole in the Rock.

"The only way out is through."


Saw two different glowworm caves.

Impossible to take good pictures. You'll have to go yourself.

Got up-close-and-personal with some livestock, making for an interesting re-entry to the US.


Learned about Maori culture.

Ate a lot of ice cream.

Tip Top Hokey Pokey is the way to go.

Discovered that New Zealand has geothermal activity, too.


Mud Pool

And climbed to the top of One Tree Hill (the one the TV show was named after).

Though the tree is long gone, the view's still great.

Oh, and much bushwalking. Multiple tour guides and cabbies suggested “easy, 20 minute” bushwalks to us that took twice that and almost killed me.

Our guide looks back to see whether I've collapsed yet.

Highlights (You won’t really get this until you’ve been there, so go to New Zealand and then come back to read this.)
  • Countdown
  • Silver fern
  • Tip Top
  • The inverse relationship between how much cricket you watch and how much you understand it
  • “Kia ora”
  • Haka
  • Sir Ed
  • JAFAs

0 Fish in a Sea of Diet Coke: