Sunday, 5 September

Arrived in Auckland in much better shape than we expected. Watched Shrek 2 on the plane. Breakfast was actually yummy, we almost wished that we had stayed up for supper. Complimentary tea and coffee on arrival. Did us right, as the lady said. Everyone very nice. Had a Moro bar — like a Milky Way. Caught the shuttle bus into the city. Driver was nice and agreeably chatty. Drive to city - trees are weird. Sisal and palm tree looking things and almost-but-not-quite regular looking trees. Many trees blooming with bright pink flowers, apparently called prunus (they may be Taiwan cherry trees.) They bloom at the start of spring. Saw a hybrid bus in Auckland. Downtown Auckland is very hilly, with narrow, windy streets. Rather charming. Had 2nd breakfast at Esquires Coffee House (avoiding the Starbucks), Jess was amused. The bathroom has dual-flush toilets (one for wee, the other for poo). Also, tiny sinks.

Ferry ride to Waiheke Island was pleasant. Sea was a lovely bright blue. Arrived at our B&B, Kiwi House, turns out that they have neither city water nor wells, all the water comes from what runs off the roof. Jess took a 2-minute shower, mine was 2 minutes, 15 seconds. Both under the 3-minute guideline. Had lunch at the Schooner Cafe, split fish and chips and a hot cocoa. The fish was hoki, a local NZ fish, and was quite good.

After being cooped up on the plane for a day, we decided a nature walk was the way to stretch our legs, so we headed out on the Church Bay circuit. We walked forever (5 hours), taking in much beautiful scenery. Narrow path took us through nature reserves, along cliffs, through cow and sheep pastures, past vineyards... Nerve-wracking for Jess, but the amazing views were well worth it.

Ate a good dinner at Mudbrick Vineyard’s restaurant: good bread and olives, sundried tomato and caper crusted rack of lamb, pumpkin ravioli. Jer’s wine was pretty good (cabernet/merlot). Jess’s was very good (riesling). Middling tea and apple dumpling for dessert. In bed by 8:45, up 18 hours.