NEW ZEALAND, 15-28th January 2018

Continuing our travels down to Auckland we had a few hours stop over at Sydney airport. Just enough time to click on the wifi and get a few messages away and relax before re-boarding.

Auckland airport is one of the most efficient we have come across and within 45 minutes of landing we had baggage, toilet stop, customs, immigration and duty free and were sitting in shuttle waiting to go to Te Atatu on the bus…..

Mum and Dad were relaxing in their armchairs when we arrived and it was great to see them looking so well.

We hadn’t organised anything really except a nice stay away with our cruise buddies Paul and Michelle for later in the week and a Tuesday afternoon catch up in the “big smoke” with friends Angela and Duncan whom we’d also managed to hook up with in Hong Kong (wonder where it will be next time?. Duncan in the end couldn’t make it but old mate from way way back Anthony did, so was a great time chatting over a glass of wine or two before heading back to TAT on the bus again.

Brother Graeme and sister in law Kirsten popped around later that evening with car keys for us to use Graeme’s car and something for supper.

Wednesday we slept in, those sleepless nights and different time zones left us not zonked but definitely not recalibrated.

The day really just became a shopping and coffee out at TAT shops. That evening we were invited to share a meal with Graeme and Kirsten at their home which gave mum and dad a little outing as well. It was a lovely evening and great company.

Thursday we slept in yet again and it was a struggle to be motivated to do anything except our mates came at 4 pm to whisk us away to their awesome beach home at Omaha.

After spending a world cruise together it was fantastic to see them again and reminisce over photos and stories.

Paul and Michelle are two of the greatest friends I’ve had from way back when we were teenagers and it’s so easy to be in their company.

Paul plays tour director and driver and the next five days were excellent.

Lots of little tiki tours from their home base with Matakana markets, walking track around Tawharanui which we did with their friends Gavin and Jan, long walk around the Omaha beach and estuary, Martins Bay, Scandretts Bay, Leigh, art galleries, golf club for drinks and dinner with their friends Robert and Lesley, craft beer brewery for tastings. Really Beautiful scenery just surrounds this whole area and we have taken so many photos which just don’t do it justice.

Michelle is quick to whip up a meal out of her fridge and pantry a skill we’re very happy to be the recipients of.

It’s great to be so relaxed and comfortable in someone else’s home and company and we look forward to hopefully getting away with them again sometime in the future.

We all piled in their car Tuesday late morning and headed to Ponsonby for a street stroll and something to eat at the numerous cafes there. The old homes and beautiful tree lined side streets really look gorgeous.

From there we cruised over to our friend Craig’s place for 4 pm drinks and nibbles catching up with old mate Rex there as well and several of Craig’s brothers. Craig had booked restaurant for 7 pm where another friend Andrew and wife Kay joined us for a great evening of laughs and catch up on each other’s lives. I really appreciate how Craig will organise the guys for a catch up when we’re in town, he’s an awesome organiser and much loved friend.

Michelle and Paul dropped us off at mum and dads before driving to her mums place which is literally around the corner. Luckily they were staying the night as we just caught them the next day before they headed back to Omaha to hand over Michelles sunglasses which I found in my handbag!

We drove from there to pick up my dad from North Shore hospital where he had had an operation on the Monday. A few stops for shopping and a walk around the local neighbourhood that evening and we called it a day.

The humidity in New Zealand is really high and not many places have aircon or even ceiling fans so you suffer more than we do in Australia because of this. The sun here burns quickly and you can feel it burning after just a few minutes. You really need to be super sun safe here and don’t be fooled by temperatures in the 20’s, it feels much hotter than in Australia.

we spent our last few days mooching around Te Atatu, a few walks, shopping and cooking, catching up with cousin Stephanie and her son Thomas, Graeme and Kirsten and the nephews and a drive with mum and Dad just locally seeing all the new builds that have sprung up every where here.

Before you know it, it’s time to stuff everything into our suitcases and prepare for our 4 am pick up Sunday morning for the flight back to Sydney and our first stop brunch at Surry Hills with a few of the kids.

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