...the end is near...

Trip Start Dec 13, 2004
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Tuesday, April 5, 2005

... the end of the NZ segment of our trip anyhow. Our ticket is booked, our car is sold and at 1pm on Friday we take off to the wonderful and mysterious land of Australia.

I haven't been writing as many travelpods these past few weeks, because the insane quantity of adventure activities has died down as we have made our way back up to Auckland. However, that is not to say that we haven't been having a wonderful time all the way up. We have had this time to relax and visit with all of our wonderful friends in the country and have enjoyed every moment of it.

We got to catch up with friends our age who we haven't seen in 12 years while staying in Wellington, Joel and Izy. We shared a wonderful meal with them and watched a terrible movie!! We got to wind our way through NZ's best museum, Te Papa and learn about Maori history as well as NZ during the 70's.

In Martinborough we were lucky enough to be with our good friend's Jeff and Christine and their children Alena and Walter for an amazing Easter weekend. We were spoiled rotten with Easter baskets, rice krispie bunnies and chocolates galore! It was so much fun to be with a family for Easter. :-)

After a 7 hour drive with a Swiss hitchhiker who we thought we'd only be driving for about an hour or so, we made it to Tauranga to stay in the quasi resort home of Sandy, Gord and Charlie (thanks for your bedroom Will). I say quasi-resort home because while we were there we swam in their pool and tanned on the deck, went for a gorgeous kayak, played frisbee in the park, watched a Will Ferrel movie marathon in our own little lounge and went for beautiful runs and mountain climbs all around the area. Oh, and relaxed in the luxurious hot tub. It was beautiful weather and we had a great time.

Getting lost on the way here made the drive to Tuakau a little bit longer, but we made it and although it was almost 9pm we were just in time for a delicious lamb dinner with our NZ Dad and Mom, Bruce and Yvonne. They've been keeping tabs on us all around the country and have helped us in absolutely too many ways!!! It was good to catch up with them. They headed off for the weekend and we made our way into Auckland City to stay the night with more friends who we hadn't seen in 12 years, Hans and Leila who stayed with us on our sailboat in Tahiti and made a film about familie's cruising on sailboats in the Pacific. They now have 8 year old twins who speak 3 languages and play every instrument in the book. A very outstanding and talented family! We were very graciously welcomed into their home and delighted in watching videos that we'd never seen of Lara and Alexa as teeny weeny kids, trying to learn to read and write, as well as jump off the boat, over and over again with absolutely nothing on.

The next morning we took Lil' Lulu to the car fair. At first things were not looking up... there wasn't much interest in her and we were a bit lost without Bruce. But finally someone came along and fell in love with her. And within half an hour we'd been to his mechanic and had lowered the price a bit, and she was sold. We finish off the transaction tomorrow and then we have to part with our baby. She's been a great car/home!

Our day went from great to fantastic when we joined Hans and Leila, along with their children Nils and Nadine, on their sailboat and went for an afternoon sail through Auckland harbour and out towards the islands. It was a beautiful day, and just so perfect to be on a sailboat. The ride home was beautiful... we were sailing with no motor on, straight into the sunset and eventually in darkness, with the lit up Auckland skyline to our side. It was absolutely beautiful. What a perfect day.

Now we are back in Tuakau for a few days to read, write and relax before ending off New Zealand with a bang. My birthday has contributed immensely to Lara and I having the best send off from NZ imaginable. My amazing and perfectly lovely friend Tim shocked the hell out of me by getting us tickets to see Jack Johnson and Xavier Rudd play in Auckland. For those of you who don't know... Jack Johnson is one of my alltime favourite musicians and I have been wanting to see him live, as well as Xavier, for AGES!!! I can't believe that I finally get to on my last night in NZ. What an absolute treat! We are getting more and more excited about it every day. And dear sweet Ilio gave me a present that will top off the evening to make it absolutely picture perfect... $100.00 to go out for a fancy meal with my Sis... so we are going to use it that night. We are going to go up to the Skytower restaurant for dinner to revolve around the city and watch our last sunset in NZ, and then walk up the street to see the best concert of the year.

And that my friends will conclude my posts from the amazing land of New Zealand. Next stop.. Aussie!
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