AUCKLAND, New Zealand

Our next stop after the French Polyneshia was the country New Zealand.  I was sad to leave Bora-Bora and all the other islands but I am looking forward to a new country.  The plane ride to New Zealand was an overnight flight.  In  the airport I waited 7 hours for the flight.  you may think that is boring (and it is) but I made the time pass. and when your traveling this is the type of things you have to expect.  Its not all luxury.  When I was in the airport I suddenly heard a crowd of screaming people.  I was thinking “what on earth is goiong on” and my famliy and I went over to see what was happening.  . The person who got off the flight must of been a BIG celebarty because all the people went Crazy.  They were huddled around the kid taking pictures.  I had no idea what was going on but I saw a camera crew taking pictures of the kid.  I noticed he was holding 2 Really Big Medals and his shirt said “2015 World Champion.” There was a camera crew and  there was drummers and dancers doing traditional Tahitian dances and it was very loud.

After crossing the International Date line we arrived in New Zealand.  We lost a day of our lives when crossing the International Date line.  We left on a Friday and arrived on a Sunday (even though the flight was 6 hours).  basicly I had a day taken out of my life that I am never going to get back again.  its confusing but when I get to Europe it will all even out

Our hotel we stayed at was awesome.  it was a 2 bedroom apartment.  I have to complament my mom on such great booking skills.

New Zealand is separated by the North and South Island. See the map above. We went to Auckland. A harbor city with harbors on both sides of the city.  Boating and Sailing are very popular.  It is summer here right now yet it is still chilly.  like 60 degrees.

FUN FACTS about Auckland. One in three people in Auckland own a boat. Auckland is one of the most affordable cities in the world. More people live in Auckland than in all of the South Island of New Zealand.

The next day my famliy and I went to Maritime Museum.  It was educational and I learned a lot about New Zealands early settelers, early boats, modern yachts and the big yacht race  called the “Americas Cup”  and Captain Cooks voyages.  New Zealand was the last land mass to be populated by humans (with the exception of the Polar regions) on the map. Captain Cook was the first to document and chart New Zealand.  I purchased a book on Captain Cook and it has stories about all his voyages to everywhere he went. I cant wait to read it. Captain James Cook was an amazing sailor, navigator, surveyor and sea man.

IMG_1061an early wooden boat used by south pacific natives to get to New Zealand. These are turtle shells the people used for many different reasons, for survival and for weapons. IMG_1064

As I was in Auckland geuss what  I saw… a Christmas parade!!!!!!! if you know me well you would know how excited I was to see this because of my love for Christmas spirit. Sadly I only saw the last part.  We walked around the city and saw the sky tower. 

FUN FACT- the sky tower is the largest building in the southern hemisphere. sure the sky tower was definitely big but growing up in NY I see bigger buildings all the time.  I am a little bit surprised that’s its the biggest one in the whole southern half of the earth. 

image I also walked through the University of Auckland.  Mom said it is a world renown University ,the campus was beautiful. 

Since we had this nice apartment so convenient to everything we walked the entire city over the next few days.  To the supermarket, park, Sky tower (to check out the Casino that is in there), the Harbor and Museum. We ate in our apartment mostly, although, according to my parents the prices in Auckland were very reasonable and the US dollar when exchanged for New Zealand dollar does very well.  One New Zealand Dollar equals .65 cents US. So it is favorable for us. IMG_1260The money is colorful and shows native birds on one side of each bill. Our favorite bill is the $5 because it has a photo of “Sir Edmond Hilary.”

FUN FACT: Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mount Everest (in Nepal) and was a very famous New Zealander from Auckland.  He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth because he went to Nepal with a British Climbing Team of 8 men. Only Hillary and his guide made it to the top.  It was a very big deal in 1953. 

We read about him and looked up info on his successful climb in 1953 with his guide, Tenzing Norgay. The $1 coin has a Kiwi Bird on it and the .50 cents coin has Captain Cook’s ship “the Endeavor” on it. seeing all these different money makes the American dollar seem SO boring.

FUN FACT– the US is the only country in which the money is the same size and color. how uninteresting is that!

On TV we watched a “cricket match.” No not the insect but a sport called Cricket. We watched and learned somewhat how to play. I would love to try it out sometime.  The big sport here in RUGBY. Rugby is the countries National Sport. There are a few NZ professional teams but the NZ ALL BLACKS are the Nation’s pride.  That is why in the Olympics you see all the athletes representing New Zealand are wearing black.

They are professional players, celebrities, and every kid who plays knows their names, positions, stats, etc.  Just like some USA kids follow baseball or basketball or soccer. picture got from the internet. 
FUN FACT:  The New Zealand “ALL BLACKS” professional Rugby team won the Rugby world cup in 2015 and 2011.  The only team to win 2 consecutive World Cup’s ever!   All of NZ is huge supporter of the ALL BLACKS rugby team.  Another Fun Fact:  My Dad, Tom, played Rugby in College on a club team.

We will be traveling around the North Island for the next 4 days. So keep checking my blog and I will update soon.  I miss all my friends and famliy back home. I can be reached at rileymeckley@yahoo.com