Auckland, the Super Bowl, and Waiting and Waiting for Corinne and John

We arrived into Auckland and stayed in an Airbnb property for two nights.  We knew we were going to spend 3 more nights in Auckland when John and Corinne arrived, so we really weren’t too eager to add another two days to that, but we had no choice if we wanted to have a place to watch the crazy Superbowl this year.  We made the best of it.  Everyone has their preferences, and Auckland for us was pretty much our least favorite place in NZ.  I guess it it just because it is so large and seems to have less character compared to the other areas in NZ.  But, we had a great place to watch the Superbowl in the Parnell area and we were able to walk to many downtown destinations.  We even had a view of the Sky Tower.

Our Night View.  For some reason, I really like this photo, with the big ‘ole satellite dish and the star in the sky…

We walked around Auckland both before and after the Superbowl, probably because we pigged out on snacks during the game (e.g., chicken nuggets and BBQ, veggies and Ranch, chips and Mexican layer dip, etc.).  We decided to climb trees in honor of the Patriots.  Okay, it wasn’t in their honor, but we did climb a tree.

In the park by the War Museum, people were setting up for the Chinese Lantern Festival (as it was almost Chinese New Year).  We learned we would still be in Auckland for the first night of the festival, so we decided we would take John and Corinne while they were here on their third and last night in Auckland.  As luck would have it though, John and Corinne got stuck in San Francisco.  Not only were they ONE day late, but they were TWO days late.  We felt terrible that they had to endure such a travel nightmare.  The first night was weather related delays and the second night the plane had a mechanical problem.  With one flight a day to NZ, there was no choice but to sit it out and wait.  Crazy.

Daytime View of the Chinese Lantern Festival During Set-Up.

In the meantime, I celebrated a birthday, which entailed eating out at an Italian Restaurant and walking around the waterfront.  It was very low-key, to say the least. Oh, and two days before, I had the best pizza I have eaten since I was in the United States.  It was REAL NY style pie and I couldn’t have been happier eating those two big slabs of floppy cheesy goodness.  Just writing this makes me dream about it right now.  Yum.  Okay, I’m not kidding; I miss that pizza.  But guess what?  I just looked it up and I found out that there is a Sal’s here in Christchurch too!  No way!  I have to get pizza there just one more time before we fly out on Sunday.  I just HAVE to!

Lunch in Auckland

Finally, John and Corinne made it to New Zealand!  We picked them up and hightailed it back to the not-so-great apartment we were now staying in.  We then went to Mount Eden for the long-range views, grabbed a bite to eat, and headed out that evening to the Chinese Lantern Festival. Unfortunately, it did start to rain while we were there, but it was pretty regardless.

Mount Eden

All of Us Together at the Top of Mount Eden

Sky Tower During the Day

Chinese Lantern Festival at Night.  The lanterns didn’t come out as well as the larger, blow-up displays, but they did have hanging lanterns of all types (fish, flowers, traditional lanterns) hanging from the trees as well.

Alas, it was time to head out of Auckland once again.  The next day, we were headed to Matamata (for Hobbiton) and then on to Rotorua for three nights…