Today we set off early to catch our flight to the South Island of New Zealand. The AirBnB was in a lovely area of Auckland and we enjoyed the down time before having to navigate the busy roads on this New Zealand holiday, Waitangi Day. Waitangi Day is the equivalent of our July 4th and, like us, independence and peace did not happen simultaneously with the signing of documents. Like us, they had some growing pains which at times came with conflict.
We made it to the airport time, on to the plane, and away we went to the South Island. While only a 1.5 hour flight, it seems like we were worlds away when we landed. Although they still talk funny and drive on the wrong side of the road. The temperatures were significantly cooler and there seemed to be a different vibe to the area. A quick shuttle ride to the hotel where we “dumped” our luggage, and decided to escape the hotel by taking a walk around town. As we are on foot until tomorrow, it seemed like a perfect plan. And it was!!! We walked down to a local park that had celebrations galore for the holiday. A concert was being held in the park along with a food festival. Opting instead to watch a free local play of “Treasure Island” (which did not exactly follow – okay not even close – Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, was a treat.) A tad bit risque at times, the entendres seemed to go over the heads of the younger audience members. After the play, wandering around, we discovered some amazing botanical gardens that captured our imagination. Wandering through the lush exhibits was magical and a great way to spend the afternoon. A quick walk back to the hotel for some relaxation prior to dinner was just what was needed. “Mexican” food was next on the agenda and I say that in quotations. While it was good, it was not even close to Los Arcoiris in Boone, NC. The waiter did not even know how to say hello in Spanish, not a good sign. Thankfully it was tasty, hot and beautifully presented and was one of the better meals we have enjoyed during our stay in New Zealand. The rest of the night will be spent relaxing as tomorrow we pick up the campervan and spend a couple of weeks visiting all the parks that the South Island has to offer. Could be that you might have to wait for updates, depending on how the internet service is!!