Thursday Day 1 – the 12 hour flight from LAX to Aukland on Air New Zealand was not bad. The seats were comfy and spacious with good hard support, so I slept most f he way. Leaving at 11pm on Tuesday and arriving at 8:30 AM on Thursday made the adjustment to NZ time fairly easy. Only the calendar noticed the missing day.
There was a slight delay at customs, because you have to declare hiking attire and even though I explained that my hiking boots were clean, they requested I dig them out of the bottom of the suitcase for inspection. We were greeted promptly by our tour agent, “uncle” and presented with maps, itinerary and loads of information then taken to our first hotel, Scenic Hotel Aukland on Queens St. there was an exterior renovation in progress, but the room was very nice and included a kitchenette with refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher. After viewing the menu prices in Aukland, we may be using the kitchen! The great thing about the hotel was it was within walking distance of the harbor, the ferry terminal and many restaurant and bar choices. Our favorite for the day was Danny Doolans Irish Pub. They had a great New Zealand beer on tap and awesome $2 fish tacos. Since neither George or Robert would eat fish, we scouted out another choice for dinner. We opted for pizza at Neptune Cafe & Bar. Robert was delighted with his veggie option, but we found the food and atmosphere lacking.
The weather on our first day was very pleasant. The breeze left a chill in the air, but a light sweater was all that was needed, even after dark.