Mount Maunganui to Auckland
Trip Start Jan 03, 2012
163Trip End May 02, 2013
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The firm bed and tiny pillows made our bodies ache by morning. Jason got up, cracked his shoulders a few times and plowed through another free breakfast of toast, jam, tea, milk and cereal. Ever the slower riser, Sylvia followed shortly after. We wandered downtown and browsed the shops in search of a few bits of camping gear. The few sights we strolled past were less than appealing in the overcast skies
We met our three new German friends over breakfast again and found out they had the same plans as us for the day. We all walked down to the pier together in the light rain and boarded the boat bound for Waiheke Island, known for its wineries, artisans and scenery. Dave and Sally added the island and Mudbrick Winery to our must-do list since they got married there and it claims to be one of the most romantic places in the world. The half hour ride over was smooth despite the somber skies. On arrival the rain stopped and the skies cleared a little. After a short bus ride and a short walk we arrived at Hekerua Lodge, a quiet retreat in the forest. We were shown to our room with a busted lock and hoped for the best.
We ventured out for a stroll along the coast, got lost a few times and soaked up our relaxing surroundings.
After filtering through our photos again we found that 5,700 had made the cut so far. The slideshow would probably have to become a trilogy. With boats, buses, planes and a new country on our minds we lounged with other travellers while reading guidebooks and watching Bear's crazy adventure show on TV. The next morning we realized we had too little time in another beautiful place so we packed up and hiked up the road to the bus stop with the Germans
Auckland looked much more appealing in the late morning sun. We checked in to Jucy Hotel, the lime and eggplant company that does it all for tourists in New Zealand. We'd seen their brightly-coloured campervans all over the country. A little chroma-splash can really make a dull building look much more hospitable.
After another grocery haul meant to last for 24 hours we took to the streets and called home from a payphone. Then we wandered over to Parnell, a quaint village known for shopping and dining just outside the downtown core, which was our next destination. We picked up a camping stove and cooler bag for use in Australia. On the way back to Jucy we grabbed some end of day sale sushi as an appetizer to our breakfast for dinner plan. That plan was nearly dashed by the stubborn burners that didn't feel like working too hard. It took about half an hour to make scrambled eggs with bacon, onion and mushrooms. Later that night Jason's New Zealand beard finally came off after a full 31 days and no one was more pleased than Sylvia.
Bright morning skies greeted us on waking for our final day in kiwi-land
Most of our final afternoon was occupied with preparing our long overdue blog posts. For dinner we treated ourselves to seafood pasta for Sylvia and steak for Jason followed by a shared rhubarb crumble. After retrieving our bags from Jucy we dropped them again at a cafe with free wifi upon purchase of a $7 hot chocolate. Sylvia helped with the photo filtering then nodded off on Jason’s shoulder while he completed parts one and two of eight New Zealand posts. As the clock struck 1:00 am our bus pulled out of the ferry terminal; destination Auckland airport.