New Zealand to Japan
February through April 2007
Page 2 - Auckland, New Zealand

We arrived in Auckland at 06:45 am on the 14th of February, after a 20-hour flight trip starting in Burlington Vermont. Of course, it wasn't a single plane ride, but a series of flights going through JFK in New York and LAX in California. Our transport provider failed to get our luggage on the same plane as the one we rode and we ended up having a bit of anxiety to get our luggage onto the New Zealand Air in time for us to catch our scheduled ride. Luckily the luggage arrived on the next plane and we made our flight although we had to be escorted through to the gate in order to make it -- hey, that's one way to bypass the long lines at security stations :-)
You can bet your boots that our butts were sore from all that sitting -- in cramped airline seats, yet.
You can also bet that we'll never do that again; instead, we'll fly to LAX the day before our international to get a little bit of rest between the long flights.
We begin our journey in the Hawthorne Suites motor inn in Burlington (left).
We had booked a room in a very nice Bed and Breakfast (B&B), the Chevron Chalet Inn in Parnell, a suburb of Auckland (right). Unfortunately, it took so long to process our arrival into New Zealand that we did not have time to take our luggage to the B&B as planned, instead, we dragged them to our tour reservation office and left it there while we were taking a sight seeing excursion of Auckland.

As things turned out, we ended up with not very many photos of our tour/excursion as later on that afternoon we lost one of our digital cameras, along with the photos contained therein. Bummer :-(

Museum on Mount Eden. Lynda on Mount Eden. Auckland's harbor.
The famous Sky Tower (more later). We ate dinner in this Indian cuisine restaurant. The food was delicious -- and healthy -- as always. Look at the fuel prices. Diesel is only 2/3 the price of gasoline; in the US these days it's higher than gas. (99.9 cts/liter = $3.10/gallon US) Auckland's harbor.
We had booked a wine tasting tour Waiheke Island, just across the channel from Auckland's harbor. We took a ferry to the island, then a guided tour to the winery, etc. Right: Looking back towards Auckland from the ferry.
Our first stop on Waiheke was the Mudbrick Winery.
After tasting a few reds and whites, we took a look around the area.

Below left our guide Steve points out the more interesting landmarks visible from the winery. The other two photos are more scenes of the winery and its restaurant.

Dock in Waiheke Island.
(Can you read the banner? it says "Into my hand they lowered an island")
Our next tour stop was another winery: Kennedy Point. We got one of our fellow tourists to take a picture of us... ...and this was the view we wanted as a backdrop.
And, of course, we had to taste some wine too! (Left)

Next our tour led us to an olive oil producer, Rangihoua Estate, where we tasted many variations of olive oil (I didn't know there were variations to that product!). They gave us some bread cubes and dipping dishes and into town we went! (below left)

In addition to being a producer of olive oil, Rangihoua owners were also collectors of antique Maori art work. The two items below right are made of single pieces of cedar-like wood, thousands of years old!

Later that afternoon we returned to the Mudbrick Winery for lunch. Above, Pete is enjoying the fine dining and the view out the balcony door. An artichoke plant??? You know who.
A few more photos snapped in the Mudbrick while waiting for our tour bus to pick us up and take us back to the ferry to Auckland.
Remember this (Left)? It's the famous Sky Tower of Auckland containing, among other things, a revolving restaurant; similar -- but larger -- than the one we visited in Kuopio, Finland, a couple of years ago. We had made a reservation to dine there on the evening of the 15th of February, so we donned our (semi-) dressy clothes and hopped on the elevator to the Orbit restaurant. Above right Pete is standing on a glass plate tgrough which one could see all the way down to the street -- many people did not have the courage to stand on it.

Below: Scenes of and from the Orbit restaurant.

Next morning, the 16th, we rode a taxi to the harbor where our cruise ship, the Sapphire Princess was docked, just waiting for us to come aboard.