Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Kia Ora New Zealand, Day nine, last one

KIA ORA NEW ZEALAND!  In the Māori language, this phrase can mean several things.  It literally means, "Be well/healthy." It is also used as a farewell and to thank someone.  In this case I offer my thanks and farewell to a beautiful place full of wondrous sites and the friendliest people. 
After 864 kilometers (or 536.865 miles) I have barely begun to scratch the surface. Most of the South Island still awaits me and there were so many wonderful places that I could not go to, but I knew this before I set out, and I did what I wanted to; tour the island and see it from the road.  I stopped when I thought it was interesting and time permitted, got diverted through an area untouched by tourists, and met some terrific people.
I don't know when I will be back, but it will still beckon me.  I can at least scratch this off of my "bucket list."  Thanks for following me on my blog.  Please feel free to leave comments in the comments section.  I always like to hear feedback, be it positive or negative.
 After a late-ish arrival to a great beach side campsite just north of Auckland, Tanner and I walked to a nearby pub and heard some great music, ate a kabob at a Turkish food stand and enjoyed a relaxing evening before walking back and retiring for the evening.
We awoke to a glorious day.  A perfect 72 degrees. We emptied the Britz of its "fluids," before leaving and drove 15 minutes to the Auckland Water front, parked the camper van and walked around.  We took advantage of a one hour bus tour that took us around the heart of the city.   Auckland is beautiful.  It is also one of the mot expensive cities to live in, with real estate prices going up every day.
After the tour, we had a lunch at The Crab Shack, right on the water front (not "Joe's Crab Shack").  There we tasted Ray-weh-nuh bread.  It is a Māori bread and I wished that I had photographed it before we so quickly consumed it.  Needless to say, it was delicious.  We then ordered the "Nelson Paddle Crabs," a bucket of hard shelled crabs with a very buttery, soft meat.  If you eat crabs, you know how hard we worked to eat our lunch!  They are also very unique to NZ and very tasty.
After some shopping, we set out to return our trusty Britz Camper Van which served us well.  Off to the airport, and I write this as I await our flight to LAX. 
KIA ORA again New Zealand, you lived up to your billing.  I love your country.
At the AKL airport prior to departing

Nelson Paddle Crabs

Fiddlers and mandolin players in an Irish Pub

One last Meat Pie before leaving!
Our Auckland Camper Van Site

Beachside path in front of the camp site

Looking North along the path

The Island in the background is Rangitoto Island.  It is volcanic and is only 600 years old!  That is a baby in geologic terms.

Auckland from the bridge crossing the bay looking south.

The "Lenin" bar.  Apparently, no stigma attached to that name here.

On the Waterfront

The Ferry Building on the waterfront

The National Museum of Auckland


More waterfront

At the Crab Shack for lunch

The ubiquitous "Toe-maw-toe" sauce holder, shaped like a toamato

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