Hello again, fellow travelers! For those of you who read Part 1 of this series, I hope you have recovered from the chaos and your head has stopped spinning. Now, on to the fun stuff!
Day One: All the way from Clarksville, TN to Auckland, NZ
I have one word for Auckland. Steep! When we walked out of our hotel and turned the corner to go look around, I thought we were climbing a mountain! Luckily there was a cute little coffee shop right across the street to rest at–and free WiFi! For travelers in a foreign country, WiFi is pure gold. The cafe had a cute room upstairs to just hang out in and relax. And considering the fact that we hadn’t been able to check into our room yet and shower to feel human again, I kind of liked being able to hide away upstairs away from all the hustle and bustle.
Later that evening, we went up into the city’s needle-like tower, Sky City. The views of the city were beautiful! And Day One of vacation wouldn’t be complete without ice cream (food on vacation= zero calories, ya know). If you ever visit New Zealand, you have to try their own unique flavor called Hokey Pokey. It’s a super smooth vanilla ice cream filled with honeycomb flavored bits. Delicious!
Day Two: Hobbiton Here We Come!
This was the excursion I was looking forward to the most. But I can honestly say I was not remotely prepared for what I was about to walk into. I was expecting to see a remnants of the set with a few cute hobbit holes here and there. Not even close. Although the set and originally been scheduled to have been torn down, and was partially done so, Hobbiton was later rebuilt to be bigger and grander than it was before. Everywhere you looked there was some sort of awesome detail of the Shire. And then to finish up the tour, we were treated to a free ale at the Green Dragon! I could have stayed here the entire day photographing this spectacular place.
After our Hobbiton visit, we stopped by the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Seeing them shine so bright in that cave was really neat to see. It felt as if I was in a planetarium looking up at the stars.
Day Three: Rotorua
My time in Rotorua was filled with TONS of firsts. I started my day off with raceline karting: a go-cart that goes up to 60mph. Since Mike and I arrived early in the day, we had the track all to ourselves! After we finished that up, we went to another part of the complex and did some skeet shooting. Super tricky at first but really really fun!
We stopped for lunch at a burger joint called Burger Fuel. This place was fantastic! Super high quality food obviously prepared fresh to order. And you even get a super nifty holder known as a “doofer” for your burger!! The waitress said it was so your burger didn’t fall apart when you eat it as well as minimizing the mess. Why we don’t have these in the States I have no idea…
Our last adventure of the day was to Rotorua Canopy Tours. I am not a fan of heights. Never have been, doubt I ever will be. But I couldn’t go to New Zealand and not do it. On our way to our first platform we learned all about the systems in place to protect the native and endangered wild like of this rain forest. Mike even got to play “Disney princess” and have one of the wild birds eat straight out of his hand!!* I have to say, I felt super safe during my tour and it didn’t take long for me to relax and enjoy the forest as I zoomed through it.
Well, that takes you through the first half of our trip! Tune in next week to see the third installment of my trip’s blog because… naturally…. I had to make this into a triology 😉 (I know you got that joke, all my fellow nerds)
Christy Hunter is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Tucson, Arizona.
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