13 Days in New Zealand: Christmas and New Year in the Antipodes!

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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You know all those postcards that you see around at Christmas when there is no snow? not even the shadow and Santa's hat? worn by people in costume lying on the beach to roast themselves like prawns? Here? I wanted to be one of those prawns!
And at the same time, I have always wanted to visit New Zealand, what in my opinion? a land that has been able to perfectly interpret the livability criteria? with respect for traditions and roots.
And finally? come on, I have to do the Haka with the Maori !!!

1 day

Let's go! Inevitably, the first day slips away between flights, connections and a bombshell jet leg! Rome Dubai with Emirates (super efficient company, exceptional aircraft and super staff!).
The Dubai airport I think is more? large than 60% of Italian countries. Impressive, other than city,? a metropolis the only airport! Immense, in fact if you don't pay attention you really risk getting lost!
We do a few strolls between shops here and there, but without practically buying anything, already? this trip is costing us an eye and we can't stay there to buy tobleroni, snacks and junk at the airport.
After the 3 hours of connecting time, you take the flight to Sidney! Yes, before New Zealand, we will give Australia a pat!

2 day

What a blow guys! 20 and spend hours of flight grind you! Luckily these flights are super-equipped: movies, more seats? comfortable of many and many beds of many and many hotels, snacks, food, entertainment? but they are always 20 and spend hours in the air!
Anyway, we arrived, we are in Sydney!
It's morning, but honestly for me it might as well be midnight why? I'm high not even I was on acid! We are +10 hours from Italy, and I guarantee you can hear it! But vab ?,? morning? and it's hot! Coming from the Italian frost in this period, better use some sunscreen or we really do the end of the Italian red shrimp!
However, ? morning,? before Christmas Eve, we are in Sidney and it is 30 degrees! So what, since? are we in Sidney? you go to the Opera House, and where else!
The construction ? truly remarkable, I'm certainly not an architect but it doesn't take a degree to appreciate this masterpiece. The whole area around? nice, with lots of bars and restaurants to frame the theater. We take the opportunity for a drink, we have a map behind us, but honestly we don't have the clarity? to throw down? also a hint of an itinerary. So yes, although it goes against my every idea of ​​vacation and travel? I think we opt for an open deck tourist bus, with headphones and hair blowing in the wind that make a lot of Asian tourists. I miss the time to think that already? that stay-at-home Vinnie (my partner) dozing? on the sprawling Homer Simpson bar table! So yes, isn't there? alternative: you go to the City Sight Seeing.
In the early afternoon, although we had promised ourselves not to give up and to keep up with the jet leg, we give up. Indeed, let's face it, come on: he gives up! Vinnie drags himself like a sloth on the side of a road, dangles not even if he was walking dead and clings to me like a stick of old age! Come on! White flag? you go to the hotel.
We arrive and Vinnie passes out. He doesn't even take off his shoes, he faints on the bed and occupies a huge area: I also have to move him with difficulty, weight, he doesn't understand anything and I cut out a corner for a nap? I'm at the point, I faint too!
We wake up that? dinner time, Vinnie looks regenerated and I a little less rinco? maybe it did us good!
Let us suggest a place to eat in Sydney, tell us that in The Rocks we can eat Witchettys? grilled larvae! Yum Yum? you go to larva!
Guys don't I tell you that goodness? are larvae a few centimeters long,? of course they make an impression, and man, they are larvae! But they are very good! What? like Oyster Soup, Barramunda (a strange fish, like tuna but less fat), and you end up with a papaya cut in half? and filled with lots of other yummy fruit!
We thought we had overcome jet lag, but between the rich dinner and? Exactly, jet leg, Vinnie faints me again? vab ?, next time I'm leaving alone!

3 day

Good morning! It's Christmas Eve! And Vinnie and I are in Sydney! Today for? no more fainting, clear pacts. Otherwise I swear I'll give him up, he goes to faint wherever he wants, but I have to go to Bondi Beach! And man, I'm in Sydney, not at Aunt Patty's house!
We go and, as expected, all the tourists are there? with red hats to take selfies to send to friends and relatives or to clog up Facebook and Instagram profiles! I want to do it too! Vinnie says that? a baggiana thing, what? too kitschy? sometimes I wonder why? I'm with him! Okay, better this way, at least I don't have to take a selfie and he takes the picture! Ohhh!
We bask in the sun, the beach? really nice?. Golden sand, very large, and the thing that pleasantly surprises me? what is it? the ban on bringing alcohol and cigarettes to the beach? something that in Italy would be unthinkable! Yeah, so as ? unthinkable to walk without peck at least one cigarette butt hidden in the sand? I'm too far here, period.
We cannot linger too long, in the early afternoon we fly again, 3 hours of flight to New Zealand await us! Ah? the water of the ocean? really cold rag?
It is 15.00 we are at the airport and we leave with Qantas for Auckland!
We arrive very punctual, just long enough to rush to Franklin Road to see all the houses with the lights, a fantastic show! Seeing these houses with lights and artificial snow in the middle of summer is a bit of a species, but? very beautifull!
A quick ride, time to buy the Discovery Pass to take practically all public transport, trains, buses and even ferries, and you go downtown, to the Sky Tower, to celebrate Christmas downtown! It is beautiful, c '? a lot of people, and the city? ? a fairy tale!
We spend the evening between romantic walks, drinks, food, and even chat! Didn't I expect New Zealanders to be like this? nice and expansive! We're late, and Vinnie isn't? not even fainted? if not ? love this! Merry Christmas from Auckland!

4 day

Ok,? December 25th now, and Vinnie and I are in Auckland! Today I am walking around the city, there are a lot of things to see. We still have the valid Discovery Pass, so let's walk around quietly and have a sort of checklist of things to see.
Let's start from the Sky Tower why? even if it costs a lot of money, do I want to have a drink on the thousandth floor, there, at the top, having a chat with God while I drink my Moscow Mule? that has nothing to do with Auckland, but who cares?
In 40 seconds we are at 328 meters, the view? holy shit, I can't describe it. Why? then Auckland is located in this strip of land with some islets around it, it has a very cool morphology!
Ok, let's not delay too long or the day ends. We go to the Auckland Museum, and the thing that strikes me, beyond? of the wonders of the museum,? here too the organization, cleanliness, order and the smile of all the operators. Sar? I was lucky, but not even the shadow of grumpy faces and irritated and irritating tones. Here they all look like in the commercials, but you can see that they are not fake smiles! Here it seems like people are happy, but really happy? even to work! Sar? that ? Christmas?? No, indeed? go to any place in Italy at Christmas and see how happy they are to work!
Anyway, we enjoy all the history of the Maori and all, and race to the next stop!
Auckland? the city? some sails, right? So let's go to the port area, where you can see sails as far as the eye can see! The whole area? full of bars and clubs, from super chic to informal ones. We enjoy the walk, then we go towards the parks. Auckland Domain, where practically a whole day slips away, and we realize that even if Auckland? all in all baby, are there too many things to see and do? too many!

5 day

Ok, yesterday we didn't respect the schedule, today we have to recover. Missions: Devonport, Rangitoto, waiheke island and Haka dance!
We take the ferry to Devonport, and arrived there? seems to be on a movie set. Beautiful, tidy, original? We see that segway tours are strong here, and so? we tag along.
Nice, nice panoramic tour, nice guide. We arrive at the viewpoints, we see the volcanic island of Rangitoto,? all a fairy tale. And then here in Devonport you eat like hell, don't you imagine how many delicious sweets there are!
Still missing a visit to Waiheke Island? we rely on the Potiki Adventures agency, and with the ferry we go to the island. Basically a whole day goes by, but would I like to stay my whole life? pristine beaches,? a wild, touristy islet, but in an ethical and sensible way. They take us on a tour of the vineyards, then a scenic drive along the coast, we do a lot of things! Kayak ride to reach some coves and rock gardens, mountain bike ride to the top of the hill, and then the best thing? exciting? the visit to a village of Maori artists, who taught us to play a traditional instrument and told us a lot about their culture! Wonderful? I was very excited, but Vinnie? I was losing him to a heart attack he was so happy!

6 day

Okay, do Auckland and Devonport end up here? another round another race, today we go to Rotorua! The expectations are very high, is there a lot of things to do in the Rotorua district?
This is a very famous spa, there are lots of geysers and spas. In fact, upon arrival, there is a smell of sulfur that is not exactly pleasant, that's why? the British call it Rottenrua!
First stop, Whakarewarewa spa village. Here we see the eruption of 2 geysers, with crazy jets reaching up to 20 meters! But above all, do they give us an explanation of how the Maori use traditional methods of botany as medicines, and do we feel a bit shamanic?
Another cool thing? see a cooking demonstration of how they use these hot muds and heat sources to cook their specialties. very good!
Then we take a 3 hour tour immersed in the Maori culture. Welcome ceremony, stories and explanations of their traditions, and finally? the war dance, the Haka made by real Maori !!
The 3 hours end with a delicious Hangi buffet, with all specialties. local!

7 day

Everyone in Rotorua is busy indulging in SPA, wellness, and Lord of the Rings tours, as Hobbit villages are here. We instead wanted to do extreme things! And do we know that there is an activity, which is called ZORB, and which consists of a descent from a hill? inside a rubber ball! We have to do it by force !!!
It was a super fun experience, rolling in this inflatable balloon with Vinnie, down the hill, with all the water in it coming at you? it was hilarious !! I recommend it to everybody!
Not happy and above all not tired, with the adrenaline still on us, have we booked another activity for the day? extreme! Rafting in the rainforest!
We crossed the river in a dinghy surrounded by crazy nature! The guide was really good, we made some stops to see some very rare bird species, and in general the scenery was breathtaking! The stretch of river also included small waterfalls that accelerated the race and splashed us everywhere, too funny! The only boredom, some girls with whom we were in a group and who emitted those unbearable cries with every splash of water not even throwing themselves from a plane! What the hell, you're rafting! Were you hoping not to get wet?

8 day

It's Wellington time! We shoot 7 hours by bus, but we pass by wonderful places? Huka Falls, Lake Taupo, Tongariro National Park, Mount Ruapehu and Manawatu Farms! 7 hours that have flown by, with some stops at viewpoints to take the usual photos? a crossing along a land that really made me fall in love?
We arrive in Wellington, we are still a little tired from the day before and today we woke up early? the impact? awesome! The capital of New Zealand has more? bars and restaurants per capita in New York! And then, ? the home of Rugby!
However, given the fatigue, with the risk that Vinnie goes into fainting crisis again, we give up again on the tourist bus, and take a tour of the delightful town! We pass by the Majestic Center, the Wellington Museum and above all the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, which we will see for good tomorrow.
Dinner in the center, c '? spoiled for choice? mammamia how many clubs and bars! And surprisingly, they're not expensive either! So dinner, we ate the lobsters that they say here are special, and they don't call them lobsters but crayfish, I don't know why. Are they right anyway? delicious!

9 day

Today in the morning we go to Te Papa, a very interesting museum with all the history of New Zealand, from the first Maori settlements, with some really very beautiful insights into the geological aspect, botany, Cook Island and Kiwi, the pretty bird symbol of the country!
We do not lose for? too long, why? at the port of Wellington the ferry to Picton and Kaikoura awaits us, where we will see the whales !!
The cruise is not? very comfortable, indeed? the sea not always? calm, if you suffer even slightly from seasickness, don't you? just the best. In fact, arrived on the boat, we find many bags for vomit, and this worries us a little? but it doesn't scare us! I do not hide from you that I felt a little nauseous, even more? for a while, and haven't I enjoyed it so much? but Vinnie? do you know the scene from Forrest Gump where Lieutenant Dan attaches himself to the mast of the boat and challenges a crazy storm screaming against the sky? Here, Vinnie looked like this! In total ecstasy, as if that march so? whirling of the boat did not scratch him in the least, as if he had literally merged with the sea and the boat! And between adrenaline and pure joy, as soon as we saw the whales, I agree that a tear? fallen from the eyes of my tender Vinnie? Not C'? price for such emotions.

10 day

Today ? January 31? at midnight ? New Year! We spend the day wandering around Wellington, does Vinnie look like he's transformed? this contact cos? violent with nature exalts him and at the same time sends him into crisis! Why? he, his life, would always like to live it like this.
Anyway, do I confirm Wellington's excellent impression? here then the sport? heartfelt! Rugby? a religion, all the clubs have at least some symbol that praises it, the games are broadcast everywhere and followed with fury!
In the evening we follow the crowd of people who flock to the center, are there music shows, colors, projections? then comes the countdown on the big screen, and lots of fireworks to greet the new year! Am I there, with my Vinnie, in New Zealand? what more can I want ??

11 day

Busy day today, despite the fatigue of the night. We go to the South Island, towards Kaikoura and its Hanmer Spring. The crossing, partly by ferry and partly by bus, is long and tiring, and we take the opportunity to rest. Arrived at the Hanmer Spring, we enjoy the first real day of absolute relaxation in the spa, with the very hot and refreshing water, enjoying a bit of intimacy. and chat, to talk about how many unique experiences we are going through together. In the evening we go back to Kaikoura at the hotel, dinner out and straight to bed? Mount Cook tomorrow!

12 day

Penultimate day in New Zealand? anxiety rises! We go to the Mount Cook National Park, to see the glaciers, the lakes, the sceneries that only nature can do. to offer? nothing artificial, nothing human? all superhuman, just nature.
The Tasman Glacier offers crazy reflections, with its white surface that reflects the sun's rays in plays of light and colors. Fortunately, no fog, which is rare why? usually you don't see each other very well.
Here too, Vinnie's bread for sharp teeth: the climbs are steep, the trekking? very demanding, but he looked like a roe deer, he seemed born in those mountains and climbed like that? easily that not even the guide could keep up with him. How was it possessed? but after all he? pi? animal than man, but in the super positive meaning of the expression. It is instinct, and it has a relationship with visceral nature.

13 day

Departure. Do we have time to get to Queenstown Airport and say goodbye to New Zealand? an experience that has deeply marked us, and that we will remember for a lifetime!

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