(Please prepare for dorky post titles and many appropriations of “Hello!” in local languages. I can’t help myself.)

Auckland, New Zealand was the first stop on our two month journey. With the time change. we missed a full day but landed in NZ in the wee hours of the morning, just 5 hours behind SF time. We spent the morning cruising around Auckland on foot and got to spend a good amount of time on the Waterfront, which has a plethora of public art installations and places to take in the view. Also, boats.

Travy Lounging

My two highlights in Auckland were Hobbiton and Waiheke Island.

I’m a huge LOTR fan, and Hobbiton has always been on my Bucket List, particularly after my dear friend Liz, who is currently living on the South Island of NZ, visited a few months earlier and sent an amazing teaser postcard. As Tolkien’s Black Riders stalked the Ring, Travis and I descended upon the Shire.

Hobbiton is awesome and impeccably maintained. The vegetable gardens grow real fruit and the tiny chimneys blow smoke–it’s fantastic.

Hobbiton

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Waiheke Island is roughly 45 minutes from Auckland via Ferry–think Sausalito from San Francisco. We arrived on the island and rented bikes to go wine tasting. It’s a hilly little island but the weather was good and the wineries and “town” are fairly close. We ended up only making it to two wineries (and two lunches!) because the first winery, Cable Bay, was such a knockout. My key takeaway is that more wineries need bean bag chairs (and expansive views of the ocean are helpful, too).

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Mom and Dad: FYI..

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And finally, on our last day in Auckland, Travis went bungy jumping off the Auckland bridge–video to come! Stay tuned for posts about Sydney (amazing city) and some forthcoming posts from Travis.