The worldwide Augustana College experience

Welcome to New Zealand… and Middle Earth

After a six hour drive to Chicago, a four hour flight to San Francisco (We also sat at the gate for a hour to fix a static intercom system), and a 12 hour flight to Auckland, we finally arrived in New Zealand! After getting our passports stamped, and going through customs we got on a coach bus to drive around the city (at 6:00 am local time). It was really cool to see the city, and the bus driver told us a lot about the history and the different places we were passing. We stopped at a park/ WWII memorial/ garden area. We took a 20 minute walk around the gardens to stretch out our legs. After that we checked into our accommodations, which are apartment style dorms at the University of Auckland. It is located at the bottom of a giant steep hill (which isn’t so bad going down as it is horrible going up). We were able to shower and relax a little before we had lunch. For lunch we got back on the bus and drove around the city a little more- this time by the harbor. We had lunch at Rickshaw Eddy’s – they ordered us sampler platters that had sliders, chicken dumplings, shrimp, wings, calamari, and some sort of pork pastry thing. There were various sauces and for the most part everything was pretty good.


View from the plane from Chicago to San Francisco


The Sky Tower located in downtown Auckland

We were supposed to do a scavenger hunt, but it was raining, which no signs of stopping (it still hasn’t stopped for more than a half hour at a time) so we went back to the accommodations. My roommates and I watched Soul Surfer (limited TV options) and relaxed until dinner time. For dinner we walked (in the rain) to the Crew Club, about 25 minutes away, for a group dinner. Walking in downtown Auckland is really interesting. Along the main street (Queen Street) the city has done a great job of mixed use development, with ground level shops and business with apartments above. It is very pedestrian friendly, with lots of room to walk and the ability to cross the street between every light cycle. This means you can cross in both directions and diagonally  while the cars wait. We arrived at the restaurant for dinner and had a couple of options to choose from.  I choose the fish and chips — it was delicious. Afterwards I came back and went to bed.


My fish and chips from the Crew Club

Today we went to the Hobbiton movie set from the Lord of the Rings movies. Even though it rained the whole day, it was amazing! The set was great and we learned all sorts of interesting facts. The area was beautiful and everything was so detailed. After the tour we had lunch in Hobbiton, it was a delicious buffet that had bread, potatoes, pasta, chicken, vegetables, roast beef and dessert. This evening was free and I spent some time walking around Auckland with Diana. For dinner a whole group of us walked around to find someplace to eat, however a lot of places were closed due to holiday hours. We ended up eating at Burger King, and it tasted so much better than it does at home!


Bilbo’s home from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies


Beautiful New Zealand Countryside


Hobbit-holes are quite cozy!


Tomorrow we are going on an overnight boat trip to do some fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, and exploring! Stay tuned to hear all about it!




3 Responses to “Welcome to New Zealand… and Middle Earth”

  1. Great to hear that things are going well! Sounds like some great tours during day 1 and 2. Thanks for the update! Karen

  2. So very jealous! I would love to go there someday. Thanks for sharing your experiences thus far!

  3. Glad to hear that your trip is off to a good start, Erienne! I hear that it is going to be 40° C (104° F) in Syndey today. Wow!

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