New Zealand Here We Come (Nov 16-18, 2018)

We woke to road closures, school delays, and icy roads, the aftermath of yesterday’s sleet, snow, and rain. The sun took care of all those problems …lucky us!… before we headed to the airport at 2:00 o’clock.

Our luck continued when Dan was upgraded to business/first at check-in and I got the last upgradable business/first seat as we were boarding! We flew out of Dulles and connected through San Francisco. I enjoyed cocktails, dinner, and movies (Mama Mia and Seagull) on the first leg while Dan ate, read, and napped in his lie-flat bed.

Due to smoke and haze from the California wild fires, our departure out of Virginia had been delayed, so we arrived in San Francisco with just enough time for a quick stop in the restroom before going to the gate to board. Our large, comfy seats came with a menu, slippers, two pillows, a blanket, an amenity pack, and a comforter. PJs and mattress pad upon request. Happy dance! Flight time: 12.5 hours.

Since it was 3:30 in the morning on the East Coast by the time we left San Francisco headed to Auckland, I decided to go right to sleep. I committed then and there to keep my eyes shut for seven hours at least no matter if I was sleeping, napping, or just plain resting. I set myself on this course as Dan was ordering a full blown pork dinner.

I woke up at something like 10:30 a.m. Virginia time (4:30 a.m. New Zealand time) and decided to freshen up, catch a movie (Book Club), have breakfast, and begin my trip book, Gwenna the Welsh Confectioner, which takes place in Auckland at the turn of the 20th century.

From the time we left the house until we landed (9:00 a.m. local time) was about 25 hours! We became time travelers when we magically lost a whole day by crossing the International Date Line (established in 1884) just east of New Zealand. To complicate things further it is 18 hours ahead of us. Being in the southern hemisphere the seasons are opposite of ours, so we left in our fall and arrived in their spring.

We arrived in Auckland right on time after two fun, flawless flights. The airport is small by our standards, easy to navigate, and the baggage was waiting for us by the time we got to the carousel. We took the shuttle (NZ$17.50 each) to the hotel, had a welcome cup of coffee, settled into our cute corner room with its wraparound balcony and water view, and then went out on a hunt for a fish (trevally) and chips lunch. Partly cloudy and 72 degrees. After lunch we strolled Queen Street, the main shopping street, which has all the big name stores as well as souvenirs shops and restaurants. We even found a grocery store which we enjoyed isle by isle.

The reason we are here is to catch a cruise. All planned by our friendly, indispensable cruise director, Hettie, who walked us through everything from the airport shuttle to the hotel to the visa we’ll need when we dock in Australia. She and Ronnie arrive tomorrow morning from Baltimore and our other cruise buddies, Cleone and Walter, have been in country for over a week and will fly in from South Island and join us for dinner tonight.


It is comprised of two large islands (North Island and South Island), one small island,  numerous much smaller islands, and a 414,000 acre slab of Antarctica.

It is roughly the size of Colorado.

It is the same distance from Australia as London is from Moscow
and the same distance from the equator as Buenos Aires.

One New Zealand dollar (NZ$1) = US$0.67. Nothing but love for that rate!

They drive on the left side of the road.





One thought on “New Zealand Here We Come (Nov 16-18, 2018)

  1. Hey mom,

    I just got back to work so I need to get caught up on your blogs!! I love the pictures. So glad you made your flight—sounds like it is an amazing trip


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