Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rotorua to Auckland Day 14 Go Ahead NZ Untamed Landscapes #goaheadtours #newzealand


Yes, those are people up there....

Traveler's Log Wednesday November 30, 2016
Waitomo, Glow Worm Caves
Auckland
Sky Tower
Last Dinner Together


Kia Ora
It's our last full day in New Zealand. At breakfast I overhear mixed feelings about today. Some are sad to be leaving this amazing country. Others are saying they'll be happy to "not be living out of a suitcase" and "I can't wait to sleep in my own bed" and "I miss my cat." Our time together as a traveling group is coming to an end.

Today we travel from Rotorua to Auckland to fly home either late tonight or during the day on Thursday.

On our way we'll be stopping at one more magical place.

After a few attempts to leave the hotel, "left my wallet in my room...nope got it" "left my jacket in the lounge area" (yup-that one was real) we're heading out of Rotorua.

Erica is treating us to another movie this one "Whale Rider." I have this movie at home and ask if Erica has a box of tissues on the bus. After our exposure to the Māori culture, I have a better appreciation for this movie now.


 It's hard to watch the countryside roll while the movie is playing but..


We arrive at the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and are informed that photography is not allowed. Bummer.



We got to walk down deep into the cave to see where the worms "hangout."

Then we hopped into a boat and drifted along the river gazing up at the glowing blue worms hanging from the cave rooftop.


Photography was allowed once we were outside of the cave.



There is a time lapse video on YouTube if you want to get a feel for what we saw.


It was pretty magical.

We drive through the 4th largest city of Hamilton on our way to Huntly for lunch.

We stop at the River Haven Cafe, across the river from Huntly Power Station which used to burn coal but has been converted to natural gas.



And we're off to Auckland.
And we're in rush hour traffic-yeah.

We arrive at the Stamford Plaza but our room keys aren't ready (we have 23 people to check in...OY)

After the keys and rooms are sorted out. A bunch of us head to the Sky Tower. Our trip included a visit and Erica wants to pick up our tickets so folks can visit at their leisure.

I opt to check it out now and Jay heads to a The Shakespeare Bar and Hotel.



It's impressive that's for sure. People even free fall off it.




I think for the money, I'd prefer the views inside. And I'm not disappointed.



And yes, you can bungee jump off this bridge, between the two flags is the platform.

I meet up with Jay and we head back to the hotel for our final group dinner together.

Richard makes a speech thanking Erica. And we all toast her for the fine time we all had.

We pose for one last photo together and prepare to go our separate ways.

Thank you Erica for the fine time we had and for giving each of us a mug from New Zealand. As I sip tea from it in my living room in Vermont, I'll be thinking about my AWESOME New Zealand Adventure.

More Auckland photos: https://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/New-Zealand-2016/Auckland-Wednesday/

Next up the painful journey back to Vermont. I really wish New Zealand was closer. I'd travel there many more times but that plane ride....

Day 1 and 2-Travel Days to New Zealand
Day 3 Queenstown
Day 4 Milford Sound
Day 5 Queenstown, Free Day
Day 6 Fox Glacier
Day 7 Hokitika, Punakaiki
Day 8 Pancake Rocks, Cape Foulwind, Westport, Nelson
Day 9 Nelson, Dinner with a Kiwi Family
Day 10 Nelson to Wellington
Day 11 Wellington
Day 12 Wellington to Rotorua
Day 13 Rotorua morning
Day 13 Māori Culture afternoon and evening
Day 14 Rotorua to Auckland
Day 15 Auckland and departure



FYI Christchurch Quake Map There was a 7.8M quake a few days before we landed. This map shows all the quakes then and now.



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