February 10th, 2015 - Auckland, New Zealand - Day 176

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise on our first full day in New Zealand.  Thankfully we all slept pretty well through the night, which was a big deal given that we were now 12 hours ahead of Argentiere.  So when we went to bed last night at 9:30 PM our bodies still thought it was 9:30 AM.  This must be the most difficult time zone adjustment possible and I think we have all been dreading it, but at least night one went smoothly.  

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) we still did not have an internet connection, so Stacie and I had a nice cup of coffee and then went out for a walk along the beach.  We are staying on the west side of Auckland in a little town called Glendowie.  It's a pleasant little suburb and other than the issues with the house we are really happy to be here.  The intent with Auckland was not so much to have a real destination stay, but rather to just break up our trip down to Queenstown and allow us a little time to get used to our new time zone, so we did not have a big sightseeing agenda for the day or even for the stay.  Our flight tomorrow morning leaves the airport at 7:00, so we are going to have to leave the house about 5 AM - meaning today is our only real day in Auckland.  

We went on a nice walk, although the bay we are on is not exactly beautiful.  In fact Auckland, itself is not all that impressive, it's just another big city.  It reminds me of Seattle and San Fran combined.  

After our walk we decided to go find a coffee shop with internet so we could update our family on our safe arrival in NZ.  Stacie and I went while the kids made their breakfast and showered.  After a bit of exploring we found a great little coffee shop in St. Helena Bay, which is a very cute town.  We updated a few things and then headed back to the house to pick up the kids.

The benefit of having to go to a coffee shop for internet - a great cappicuino

We headed downtown Auckland to have lunch and do a little shopping.  Our lunch was really good, but expensive like everything here in NZ.  We have found the people here to be the most friendly of any place we have stayed and had good conversations in every shop we went into.  

After shopping we headed back to the house and did a quick change over for dinner.  We headed back to St Helena's Bay to find a place to eat.  We settled on a cute little bar right on the water.  Unfortunately the food was not nearly as good as the location, but it was twice as expensive as it should be, so that was fun.   

We still had a good time and laughed a lot both at dinner and on the car ride home.  It seems to me that these moments of laughter are becoming more frequent as the trip progresses.  Don't get me wrong, we still have arguments, selfishness, grumpiness, and all of the other typical family issues, but we also laugh more than we ever have, and I for one cherish those moments.  

We made it home, packed our bags for the 30th time in the past 6 months and went to bed both dreading and excited about another day of travel.