Some things we discovered as we wrapped up our South Island visit and a couple of fast nights in Auckland.
They have a bug that bites.
While New Zealand is in many ways similar to Hawaii when it comes to dangerous critters, they do have Sand Flies and these little guys are very capable of taking a bit out of you. If you’re a visitor, you’ll also discover that your body might react to the bite more intensely than those who are a regular blood source for these persistent pests. In our case, it was longer than we imagined. Thankfully, the day we enjoyed their company, we were in long pants and sleeves. Having actually watched one take a bite of a wrist and then spin around like an auger would suggest that our good fortune could not be understated. However, the hike that day along the Mt Crichton trek was scenic with views of 12 Mile Creek as you went along. Sometimes you were right beside it and at other times it would miraculously be 50 to a hundred feet below you. The loop trail led to a cabin of an old gold miner by the name of Sam …… We went along the trek at our own speed and found a junction in the creek where we enjoyed a picnic lunch. Our return to our car included a brief soaking of our feet in the icy water.
They have great food on offer in Arrowtown.
We did quite well with our meal choices. Of particular note, everywhere we ate in Arrowtown was very good. From the Fork and Tap pub to the eclectic Chop Shop eatery to the La Rumblas tapas bar, we enjoyed them all. The eclectic Chop Shop served half a dozen or so widely different meals, freshly prepared and quite delicious. The local pub did a good job with fish and take out from the Thai place was better than we might have thought.
Ponsonby is kinda hip
Not to be outdone, we had some great meals in the greater Auckand area as well. It turns out that we booked our stay in an area that has gone from hippie to hip. Ponsonby is heavy with good places to eat, live music, and kinda chic shopping. Very easy to walk the street and find a variety of bars, restaurants, shopping and feel like its own neighborhood. It still has a a few hangouts from the past, but apparently those have been steadily closing as the rents go up. Prego was a good Italian restaurant with good service and fresh ingredients. While we were out on a search for a Shanghai Lil’s bar on a Saturday we took a detour to get out of the slow moving traffic to discover that all that traffic was because of one particular street lit up with Christmas decorations on nearly every house. People walking their children and the ongoing traffic of others in cars cruised the street from end to end.
New Zealand will require a return visit
We must go back. New Zealand is a beautiful country. This was our introduction trip and our visit was too short. You sacrifice a day in each direction and one more crossing the dateline which made our 11 day trip into 8 full days. There is a lot to do and a lot to see. We intentionally kept our focus to only Auckland on the North Island and Queenstown/Arrowtown on the South Island. We left the cultural and native art aspects of the Kanaka Maori for a future visit. That’s a very big area of involvement for Kilohana and it is going to require more planning and scheduling than this little getaway could offer. Kia Ora Aotearoa. See you soon.