Kia ora is a Māori language greeting which has entered New Zealand English.  It means, literally, be well/healthy and is translated as an informal hi.  It is also used as a farewell and expression of thanks.

16 hour flight from Los Angeles, 19 hour time difference – meant I left Friday night but didn’t arrive in Auckland ‘til Sunday morning.  Yikes, where did Saturday go?  EVERY day’s a run day but my first run in New Zealand would be on Colorado time 🙂  Restroom stall change-of-clothes, packing service watched my luggage, then logged 4 miles on NZ’s North Island.  Heavy humidity & cloud cover, but no rain.  Hung a right outta International, mile+ past Auckland’s Domestic Terminal, then north…running roadside – pasture on the left, swampy waterway on my right.  Much of this former swamp’s been drain — ‘reclaimed’ in New Zealand talk.  Meanwhile…my CT bestie Dawn arrived via San Francisco.  Airport splash bath, taxi to town centre, first night digs at the Grand Millennium.

Luckily, caught a few zzz’s in Economy…’cause my NZ two-island itinerary didn’t include a rest day.  LOL>  Bags at the hotel, prepaid voucher on Auckland’s Hop-on Hop-off Tour.  Double-decker YELLOW bus, four long blocks toward the Harbour.

Rode thru a handful of stops, already afternoon so was super selective with my Hop-offs.  Auckland Museum, check – that’s my stop.  Walked the perimeter, viewed the War Memorial Statue, then crossed Auckland Domain (city park) to Winter Gardens [self-toured past a local cricket match].  The grounds of Winter Gardens, stunning.  Introduced to a multitude of tropical flora native to the Island.

2nd stop – quick hike up Mount Eden.  Off a plane for 6 hours now…so why not? 🙂  Short quarter-mile trek UP, long walking path ‘round the rim of an ancient/sacred crater, depression from a dormant volcano.  Absolutely serious.  WOW, just WOW!

Hotel return, power nap, Sky Tower before night fall.  Similar to Seattle’s Space Needle, great view of the harbour.  Bit unnerving on the Skywalk, standing high above traffic on see-thru glass.  Yikes!

730am bus to Rotorua in the morning – but not before a 10K treadmill trot at the hotel gym (running on NZ time now).



Auckland Domain (city park)



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