Monthly Archives: November 2019

NZ Day 2 & 3: Aukland – Waiheke Island

Day 2

Went to the sky tower to see 360 degree views of the city. The water here is gorgeous. Very turquoise. After we went to fancy lunch in the tower. The tickets for the observation deck were included with the food. Becca wanted to do the 3 hour long 6 course meal with wine pairings. I didn’t want to eat that much. So we opted for the regular three course meal with snacks and bread, which was about the same price. Becca got broccoli dumplings and I got kumara (sweet potato) and sesame seeds. Fancy food is funny. They are small portions with all the flavors purreed together and then a baby dollop of said flavors. It’s like fancy baby food. None the less, the food was amazing and delicious. While eating out we have learned that it is not customary in NZ to tip. We found this out after tipping a few times. Need to keep up the appearance that all Americans are made of money.

After lunch we headed to the ferry terminal and took a 40 mins ride to Waiheke island (another suggestion from Nicole Kidman). The island is known for its wineries and beach town vibes. We did not pay for the inaccessible bus but instead walked to the nearest town which was about 20 mins away. The walk felt much like Hawaii. I’ve never actually been but I’m taking beccas word for it. Once in town we window shopped and looked at the views of the ocean. Becca wanted to go down to the boardwalk but the pathway was very steep so I didn’t want to go. So we didn’t. By this time is was time to eat again! We went to “Too Fat Buns” Which is a burger joint. We split a feta quinoa burger with hot chips. They call ketchup tomato sauce. The sauce tasted gingery. Unsure whether that was a special recipe or If NZ ketchup has ginger in it. And of course becca got her daily gelato fix from a little ice cream trailer on the side of the road. Some NZ fruit that I couldn’t pronounce and tasted like a bland kiwi.

After feeding time we headed back to the beach by the ferry terminal. It was about 45 mins until sunset so becca did a timelapse (where your camera takes one picture every 3-5 secs and then it looks cool when you put it all together. My favorite part was when a NZ bike shorts man went into the frame of the picture with his dog and did tricks. I sincerely hope that becca’s camera took a picture of the dog jumping midair through its owners arms. Not once. Not twice but 4 times. I’m sure becca will share with you the end result.

Lena is getting better at her NZ accent. There are still words that give her trouble, like wheelchair. It comes out more Canadian. The key is to squish your words and talk in the back of your throat. And turn ‘a’s to ‘e’s. I think by the end of three weeks I’ll have forgotten how to speak American. Get excited.

Day 3

Went to church downtown aukland. We were trying to find a parking lot and we saw an older couple walking down the street who looked like Mormons. We were religious profiling and it worked in our favor. Turns out they were visiting and knew as much about the parking lot as we did. They were visiting from Utah but the woman grew up in alameda. Turns out becca went to high school with one of their sons. Utah county, man.

Happy and a little disturbed to report that “Pioneer47” also works in New Zealand. Church is much better with Polynesians. They are better singers and dressers than white people. We are sad to miss the Aukland ward Christmas pool party on Saturday. After RS, someone told us there were rolls in the kitchen. When we went the entire kitchen was full of bags of rolls and bread. Turns out someone’s husband works at a bakery and brought leftovers. So we took a 6 pack of garlic ciabatta bread for lunch. #thechurchistrue

We went to one tree hill (no the TV show, yes the U2 song) for lunch. It was a very cloudy and windy day. Becca pushed me up the giant hill to the top where we did another timelapse. I was not having a good time because it was cold and windy and we got allergies which didn’t help with the wind so my eyes were itchy and I was sniffly. But becca helped distract me from my misery by playing “ticket to ride” on her phone. She has had lots of practice with ornery children by having two nephews.

Afterwards we dropped off our rental car at the airport and took an Uber back to our Airbnb. When we got out, becca had a bunch of our supplies in hand and didn’t realize she left her phone in the car until we got inside the Airbnb. I started thinking… this will make an excellent story to tell in my email. But as becca was trying to access Uber through my phone the driver came up to the house and gave it back to her. It was a Christmas miracle.

After our emotional trauma we took a rest and played Zelda before going to dinner at a vegan restaurant near by. The Butcher’s son. We had mozzarella sticks that was more like cashew goo inside breading. I got an aloo tikka burger. And becca got soba noodle pesto. Everything was delicious.

Now we are back “home” resting. The next two days we are kayaking in open water to an island and camping overnight. Unsure whether the kayaking guides provide WiFi on the trip. But if they don’t I will email you in a few days. If we don’t capsize.


NZ Day 1: Aukland

Jenn-style travel logs

Day 1

Got rental car from shuttle driver who says Asians are terrible drivers. His theory was that they don’t read signs like normal people do; left to right. They see in pictures. Which doesn’t equate to good driving. As he said this an asian stopped his van in the middle of a roundabout. He also said his sister lives in Oakland. But that she’s useless because she will plan and reserve his whole flight and stay but won’t tell him any times for pickup. Also she orders food for him and he doesn’t like that. She will never get married. She has a baby but no husband. So he is correct. She also is a pharmacist, does real estate, and owns a restaurant. He prefers the more laid back pace in NZ which is work 8 hours then go home and do whatever you want. I quite agree with him.

Becca has mastered driving on the left side of the road. She has only scraped our tire once and her incident rate of using the windshield wiper instead of the turn signal is trending downwards. There is hope for us all.


We ate brunch at a very hipster joint. It was amazing food. Becca got avocado toast with puffed chickpeas which turns out is hummus. And hot chocolate where you pour the chocolate into the milk yourself. I got asparagus with aoli, fried egg, something called “rocket” (I think lettuce) and bacon. My drink was rose vanilla kombucha. Both were amazing. They also served us sparkling water as the normal water in our cups. I can get used to that. Also at the brunch place our table was very close to two middle aged women who somehow figured out we were travelers. Maybe because of beccas giant backpack. One of them looked like Nicole Kidman. Still no clear evidence that it wasn’t her. But they told us about a beach and an island we should visit while we are here. Which was perfect because our time in aukland was very flexible and we had no set plans.

We first went to muriwai beach. It has black sand and is hard to pronounce. I decked my wheelchair out with the freewheel and my new adventure tires which have tread like mountain bikes. Becca dragged me through the sand until the area where it was more compact. I could wheel pretty well around. It felt like I was hovering over the sand like a ninja. The water was pretty warm and very green. We ended up finding the bird colony that Nicole Kidman suggested. There were lots of birds and the rocks were all white. So. Many. Birds.

Then we headed to our Airbnb. But first we stopped at an ice cream place along the side of the road in farming country. They ask you what fruit flavor you want and then put real fruit into a mixing machine with vanilla ice cream. Note that this stand is right next to fields of strawberries. So it was very fresh.

When we got to our Airbnb we took a power nap. Which was great because when we woke up it was time for dinner.

We went to a pizza place and thought we were ordering margherita pizza but instead it had prochutto And a salad on top. Once we picked off everything the pizza was decent. Though we decided beccas pizza is better. The risotto though! Was. Amazing. It had mint and saffron and lemon zest with zucchini. The mix of flavors was incredible and not overpowering. Risotto was definitely better than the pizza.

Our Airbnb host got mad at us for parking in her spot. Hopefully she’ll still give us a 5 star review.

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