We packed like travellers, with collapsible pint glasses, a Swiss army knife and flip flops, all squeezed into brand new backpacks. We wore our comfy travelling clothes ( much needed for the 29 hours in flight ahead) and some might say we looked scruffy enough to be the part.
Then we entered the No1 lounge! It might have been 10am but the wine was included and there were croissaints…Obviously we did not expect the rest of the trip to be like this, but thought that we might as well start out with a little treat.
The flights are not really worth a mention, apart from the fact that Air New Zealand has a great sense of humour. Right from the sheep on the air stewards waistcoats, to the comedy book names printed on the walls of the plane toilets, to the most epic safety video ever.
And we’re not even Lord of the Rings fans! We have since discovered that Kiwis are particularly good at self depreciating humour, so I think we’re all going to get on just fine
When we finally arrived at Auckland International, we were greeted by the lovely April and Pete. I used to work with April back in London and haven’t seen the pair of them for years, so it was great to be greeted by their happy, smiley faces.
Once we had a day to acclimatise (in hindsight, I should probably have had about 5, but we’ll get to that later), April and Pete whisked us off to Waiheke Island, just off the coast of Auckland. Now, this is probably the first of many times you will see me write this but ‘WHEN DO WE MOVE IN?!’. The island is absolutely gorgeous and chock full of wineries, so pretty much perfect really.
We got the chance to stay at the amazing boutique hotel, The Oyster Inn, which you can read more about here.
One particular winery sticks in my mind. Cable Bay has some fantastic wines, including a lovely Pinot Gris (my new favourite variety). There was a French lad who ran our tasting; he couldn’t have been more than 22. Apparently he had just finished studying wine at school and decided to pop to New Zealand to hone his craft. Scarily knowledgable for one so young!
You can find out more about the wines and stockists here www.cablebay.co.nz
Easily the biggest and most cosmopolitan city in New Zealand, the city itself is still tiny to people used to wandering around London. Still, it has all the mod cons you’d expect, fancy apartments, a newly opened Prada and most importantly, an Irish pub! We ended up spending a couple of nights in the Azure at Eden Park Motel. Very handy for a number of reasons:
- It’s 5 mins from April and Pete’s place!
- It’s a stones throw from Eden Park (sadly there were no games on whilst we were there)
- It’s across the road from Eden Park train station.
The accommodation itself was comfy, if fairly basic, but very handy nonetheless. Especially when I started to feel ill…