We said, “See ya next year!” to Emm Cee and Jeep in Rotorua, New Zealand, and drove our rental car to Auckland to meet up with Gerard, Steven and Nick. We were so happy that our sons would be able to make the long journey from San Antonio, Texas, to visit us for the holidays and two December birthdays. Woo hoo!
Family Adventures Await
We arrived in Auckland a couple of days before the boys. Once they got there, we headed to South Island and enjoyed lots of family adventures before they had to return home. We’ll write about where we went and what we did with them in a future post. (Hint: It was FUN!)
Only 5 Nights?
After our adventures on South Island with the family, then KiwiBurn with the Hamsters and other memorable times throughout North and South Island, we returned to Auckland at the end of January for two more nights — our last two nights in New Zealand this time around the globe. In all, we were only in Auckland for a total of five nights, unless you count when we went there with Omri while we were staying with him and Lucy in nearby Muriwai on Thanksgiving weekend. That wasn’t nearly long enough.
That Old Football Injury
When we first arrived in Auckland, we were quite certain that we’d be going home for a couple of months in February-March 2016. Dirk had been babying an old neck injury, and we were sure he would need surgery again. He had been communicating with Dr. Hilton back in San Antonio to have a consultation and probably schedule surgery. We didn’t tell anyone about this at the time, but we fully expected to return home after KiwiBurn, have Dirk’s surgery done, and recover/regroup before traveling on to meet our friend Scott in Johannesburg, South Africa in April.
By the time we arrived in Auckland the second time (at the end of January), Dr. Hilton had determined that Dirk wasn’t a candidate for the surgery, which was fine because the acupuncture in Melbourne had been so beneficial that Dirk wasn’t experiencing the symptoms that he’d been having a month or so prior. So, us being us, we celebrated and immediately made plans to meet our friend Larry on a paddling trip in Colombia! Of course.
Making Friends and Creating Memories
In the meantime, though, much of our time in New Zealand was spent enjoying meeting new friends like Emm Cee and Jeep and their friends in Rotorua; Omri and Lucy and their friends in Muriwai/Auckland; other KiwiBurners; and still others whom we’ll tell you about later. Most importantly, we were overjoyed to create some amazing, lifelong memories with Gerard, Steven and Nick.
Lots of Blank Pages in the Journal
Because we thought we were going to be spending a couple of months taking things easy in Texas early in the year, Bev fell really far behind in her journaling while we were in New Zealand. The thought was that there’d be plenty of time for writing later on. Thankfully, Dirk was busy taking photos and shooting video throughout our KiwiTour, and they tell the story of this magical place called New Zealand without the need for much (if any) commentary.
Fun Times in Auckland
With that said, here are some of the highlights of our brief time in and around Auckland. Scroll down to see photos of some of the places and fun times.
1. Strolling along the stunning Princes Wharf
2. Stopping at Barabra (Basically, “It’s all good,” in Swedish) for a glass of wine and some pizza
3. Meeting up with our new friend Deke (Omri’s a mutual friend) at a pub called Verona
5. Enjoying some wine and great wine quotes on the wall at Wine Loft (now closed — bummer!)
6. Drinking some delicious cocktails at Pilkingtons
7. Cruising up to Mount Eden to snap some photos of the Auckland skyline
8. Camping one last night in our awesome purple van at nearby Kaiaua
9. Having our last Kiwi dinner at the top of Sky Tower