Highlights from Auckland, NZ

1.7 million people live in the city of Auckland alone. It’s more than the population of South Island.

Waiheke Island has over 30 wineries and breweries. 12$ for a 40 minute ferry ride over, $40 all day hop on and hop off all over the islands. Best buck for a quick trip.

Crazy fact: Stonyridge Winery sells the Larose 2015 bottle for $650. It’s being shipped to my house. I’m kidding. Just kidding. A glass of their 2014 was $60. We opted for the $18 tasting glass. Cue eye roll.

In case you didn’t know, it’s about $600 in American dollars. Yet, I suck at math so please don’t read this part.

Justin stumbled upon this gourmet ice cream parlor on Instagram and that’s the first place we stopped at when we arrived in Auckland. Giapo. Go follow them on IG. You’ll see what I’m talking about. I got the “Hot Chips in a Cone” with some kind of amazing ice cream called “Giapo Buono”. It had amaretti, caramel, and hazelnut pralines. I’m sorry. I was so hungry and tired I didn’t care what flavor I got and forgot to take a picture of my own. Justin got the “Donut Selfie” with “Kiss, Kiss, Kiss” flavor ice cream which was basically a donut on hazelnut chocolate ice cream! Cheers!

In fact, it was SO GOOD, we went back.

Indeed, expensive shit but worth every penny.

Quay St. wasn’t originally a street. It was water up to another street. Maybe two blocks. They filled it in and named new streets from there to the harbor.

Tipping isn’t necessary around here. There are some that will take tips and truly appreciate it.

If you’re hiking in New Zealand, you’re better off buying new hiking boots. Better yet, leave it in the box it came in with a receipt. It was probably one of the strictest customs we had to go through. They can be particular about checking your hiking soles for dirt and seeds you’re bringing in from another country. Because disease.

They’re protective of their Kauri Forrest. If you go up to Arataki Park (pictured above) which is about 30 mins from downtown Auckland, you’ll see so many green. They make you scrub your shoes and spray it before you step foot on the trail. “They’re prone to diseases.” It’s a “dieback” forest which means 100 yrs ago it used to be all farming before the government took over and grew back the forest that was once destroyed. One of their tree was about 300 years old.

1 big, old Kauri tree will build 15 houses. But save the trees here.

No snakes or crocodiles. No native mammals on the island. I guess circa dinosaur years it sank, “floated back” and the only the survived was birds. Chirp.

Black ferns and silver ferns are native plants. You’ll see them on many sport teams around here.

Did I mention we drove by a school and none of the kids had shoes on? The life!

There’s a fall that only has waterfalls if it rains. Beautiful sight. Karekare waterfall. (It poured the first day we arrived. Three days later, lucky enough to see this gorgeous rock still “spilling” rain water.)

Piha is a black sand beach. 300 beach rescues a year. You better be an experienced surfer slash swimmer. Sand was really warm (it’s the beginning of fall in NZ) and it has some sort of iron in it creating a magnetic effect. There’s 3 active volcanos on the other side of the island. Pihas strong currents brought the black dust on the beach.

Their aquarium, Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE, is pretty awesome too if you want to discover their native ocean species. If you’ve seen the movie “Blackfish”, they’re a firm believer in saving whales and other wildlife. Only bringing in species that have been in captivity around the world. I’m a mermaid so that’s like my guru shit. Thank you guys.

Next stop, P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney, Australia….

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