Off the coast of Auckland is Rangitoto. It was once an active volcano and now is dormant. Buy tickets and take a ferry in the morning from Auckland to Rangitoto island and hike for the day until 3pm…if you miss the last ferry at 3pm you will not be able to get back to the mainland! Be sure to bring lots of water and snacks because it is hot on the volcano and there are no food stands on the island.
The hike to the top of the volcano is absolutely wonderful and the weather is usually warm. Along the trail there are many different types of birds on the island that sing beautiful songs.
Once at the top of the volcano you can see the crater (now covered in trees) a view of Auckland as well as a few surrounding islands.
The best movie theater I was ever in was in the tiny town of Matakana NZ. The small theater is unique in that the ceiling of each theater is decorated.
The theater that I was in to see The Secret Life of Pets had thousands of silk roses hanging from the ceiling.
Even the seats were super comfortable!
Pictures do not do a justice…it was simply beautiful.
After a long first day in New Zealand, I knew exactly what I wanted for dinner. I went to BannSang in Auckland. Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish made in a hot stone bowl with lots of vegetables, egg, meat or tofu and spices. The rice is on the bottom of the bowl and some of the rice crisps and browns from the hot stone to add an amazing crunch to the dish.
The Gin Room in Auckland has various selections of gin and tonics and I actually found a drink that I liked.
The first food that I ate in New Zealand was icecream. This famous icecream place in the center of the city called, Giapo creates delicious art out of unique icecream flavors and various toppings. The counter is different than your traditional icecream shop…you are not allowed to see the icecream flavors in the case. Giapo wants you to try each flavor and decide which flavor you want only through your sense of taste.
After tasting different icecream flavors I chose a chocolate yorkshire pudding flavor. The icecream was artfully situated on top of a chocolate pastry bun, topped with chocolate mousse and sprinkled with a mysterious sweet/sour-ish pink crumble. Although it was cold outside, the icecream was delicious and brightened the rainy day.
I arrived in New Zealand on Thursday September 15th at 6am. Air New Zealand was the best plane I have flown on. Everyone was so kind and helpful. I made friends with the girl next to me and will hopefully meet up with her to teach her to ski sometime. During the flight you will have to fill out a form to enter customs. Claim any sealed and packaged food items Or hiking/camping gear that you bring into the country or else you will be fined. Your shoes must be cleaned of dirt and you are not allowed to bring perishable fruits or food into NZ. Once I landed in Auckland, I went through customs quickly and easily then waited for the Sky Bus right at the airport to go to the city. The bus was about half and hour ride to the city. I am currently staying at a beautiful Airbnb in Auckland. The first day I was very tired and it was raining since it is spring time so I was very happy I brought my raincoat.
On the way to Auckland !
My first steps in New Zealand !