We had to get up at 6:30am for our 10:30am flight. These early morning flights are finally hitting me. Hard. Especially since the only medicine that seems to be working for my cold is NyQuil haha. But we got Krispy Kreme donuts at the airport and Krispy Kreme makes everything better. We had another great flight with no problems. We got to the New Zealand airport and had to go through the most thorough customs I’ve ever seen. Everyone had to declare any food (except candy, which we thought was an odd exception) and any kind of gear (coats, tennis shoes, hiking boots, etc.) that you wore in nature or the mountains. We found out once we got to the counter that we had to report that I had taken shells from the beach in Thailand and our a wood sculpture. So those two things had to be inspected by a guy and then through an x-ray. Pretty dumb. But they are really worried about diseases coming into their country, but I don’t know what an x-ray would do to detect that. After the whole customs fiasco we caught the airbus to our hotel. We got checked in and decided to head over to the Auckland Civic Center. We found out that Illusionists 2.0 was playing their last show in Auckland that night. So we ended up getting tickets for it! It’s a magic show with seven different types of magicians from all over the world. Before the show we went and got a bite to eat down the street at Elliot’s Stables (recommendation from the guy working at the box office). It is kind of like a high end food court. You walk into this crowded hall with mini restaurants lining the walls and a bunch of tables in the middle. Basically you order and pay at whatever restaurant(s) you want. You tell them which table you are sitting at and they deliver your food to your table. We ordered from two different restaurants getting jambalaya and risotto. It was all very good. Then we rushed to change our clothes at the hotel and get back to the theatre. The illusionist show was really fun and we were quite puzzled by how they did some of the tricks. After the show we headed back to the hotel and got a great nights sleep on our king sized bed.
This morning we went to church down the street from our hotel at the Auckland 2nd Ward at 9am. We were almost the only white people there! Haha The ward consisted mostly of Polynesians. They were SO welcoming and friendly though. We felt very loved. As soon as we would open our mouths they would say ohh so you are from the states haha. After church we got some breakfast from a cafe nearby. They sold cronuts! I was like sooo did you guys copy the guy in NYC? And they were like yeah he didn’t trademark the name fast enough and we figured out how to make them so we make them now too! They didn’t look as fresh as Dominique Ansel’s so we tried their bagels and a Canadian beaver tail copy cat which was kinda like a huge American scone. It was all pretty good. Then we came back to the hotel for an hour nap. After I woke up we went to La Ciagle for their French styled market. It was small but cute. We got a pork belly classic sandwich and a ham and cheese stuffed croissant to share. The weather is pretty crazy right now. It’s cold and windy with the on and off rain. And I lost my jacket in Hong Kong…I think I left it in the temple dorms unfortunately. Michael has been so kind to let me borrow his rain jacket the whole time we were in Sydney and Auckland, so I wouldn’t be as cold. He’s just the best. It was super cold, windy, and rainy when we were at the market so we weren’t sure if we should try to go hiking or not. It started to clear up by the end of our meal, so we decided to go for it. Public transportation is a nightmare here. There is no convenient subway or train, so we only used buses. There are no bus stations so there are no bus route maps or stands to buy tickets. So we walked a while to get to a bus stop and then we took it as close to One Tree Hill as we could. It was all a long walk but worth it. One Tree Hill is the tallest hill in Auckland. It is commemorated to the Father of New Zealand by a large steeple on the top of the hill. Surrounding the hill is a large park called Cornwall Park with sheep all over just roaming free! Pretty cute. They kind of just doing their own thing unless you get too close to them, then they run away. Or if you get too close to a baby sheep and the mom doesn’t want to move she gives you a scary deep “BAAAAA” while staring you down. It’s pretty intimidating. But the baby sheep are just the cutest little things! They have a cute little baa and frolic all over the grass hills. When we made it to the hill I finally understood how Michael felt as a kid walking to school in the Wyoming cold, windy weather. (Check out our hair in one of the pictures below haha) I was knocked down multiple times by the wind. It was crazy up there but so, so pretty. It was also a muddy mess walking up the hill because there isn’t a real path so I slipped and ripped my pants even more and now I can’t wear them without being immodest haha. Michael slipped as well but only got muddy hands! On the way down we got a little lost but ended up finding a cool playground with a zip line. Michael made friends with a few kids and tried it out. It was entertaining to watch. Anyway we had a lot of fun playing with sheep and dodging their poop. We then went back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit. And hit the town for some dinner later on. And then we hit the hotel hot tub. We have been missing our hot tub dates, so it was quite nice.
So we got up and went to grab a bagel at the cafe down the street. Then we took the hotel shuttle down to the water where we met up with the bungy jump company. They took us down to Auckland Bridge where their office was to get us all ready to go bungy jumping! They had to weigh us twice, and we had to sign our life away (haha just kidding…but seriously…) We got all harnessed up and made our way across the bridge. We climbed to the middle of the bridge and then climbed up into a bunker where you bungy from. It was pretty intimidating walking up there. You have to clip into a line that makes sure you are attached the whole way while walking, but once you get into the bunker they detach you and you are free to walk where you please. But as I said previously it’s cold and windy here, so I was starting to get chills up my back and panic! They already had a set order by weight, so Michael was second to go! He was freaking out but ultimately super brave. When they put him on the platform he said just give me a sec, he took a big breath in, and was totally calm while they counted down for him to jump! And he jumped out from the platform really far! (We have this all on video by the way, so get excited! We each held the GoPro in our hand when we jumped.) Michael did scream the entire way down so that was pretty funny. Unfortunately for him, he did not get dipped in the water. He was hoping to get dipped in the water, but the cord they had to use for him was really new and not stretched enough. Anyway everyone else in our group went including a 70ish year old grandpa who was there with his grandson and both were not scared at all! I was comforted to see everyone doing it without any problem but also getting nervous because I was the last to go! So I get up on the platform and they count down “3,2,1…” And I basically bend my knees all the way and my arms were up like a divers touching my toes and…….. I didn’t move. So everyone started laughing… awesome. They count down again, and I bend down like that again and somehow my body just went over the edge without my brain realizing haha. Everyone was shocked I dove off the platform almost completely straight down rather than jumping out. When I finally hit the end of the cord and bounced back up again I couldn’t believe I was down there! My mind was still up at the platform and I didn’t start screaming until after I was bouncing back up haha. But once my hands touched the water I was so happy. It’s probably the coolest feeling dropping like that. I might do it again if we go to another cool place to do it…or if we come back to New Zealand and go to the south island to do the one that’s three times as high. We really enjoyed the experience overall.
After we got back to the pier, where they picked us up, we got lunch and walked along the water for a while. Auckland has the prettiest dock water I’ve ever seen. It’s super blue even with all the yachts and whatnot. I wish it was warmer here so we could have taken a ferry out to one of the islands for their great beaches!
we found a boat with owners from wyoming in the harbor…so random!^^
^^the bridge we jumped off of
After that we took the hotel shuttle back to the hotel and face timed with some family. Then we headed to Mt. Eden, a dormant volcano. We climbed to the top and watched the sunset. It was so romantic and we loved the view from up there.Then we headed back to the hotel, got some great Korean food for dinner, hit the hot tub, and went to bed.
We woke up at 7am in order to get our rental car by 8am. We packed up the rental and checked out of the hotel. We headed out to the Hamilton, New Zealand temple, which is about an hour and a half away from Auckland. The Hamilton temple is one of the original 12 temples that were built, so that’s really cool. We enjoyed the drive out there because it was all very green rolling hills with all different types of trees. There were tons of sheep and cows. We got off a little later than we hoped (Michael may or may not have gotten into an accident five minutes after picking up the car because he wasn’t used to driving on the wrong side of the road haha) so we didn’t arrive at the temple until 10:50am and the session started at 11am. All the other temples we have been to on this trip have been pretty small and had small sessions, but this temple is huge and had tons of members doing the work. So we ran in asking if they could hold the session for us and they were like no we already had them walk up to the room and they have started. We were like what!? It was pretty upsetting especially because we have names from Michael’s parents to do endowments. But they said we could do initiatories so we were happy to do some of those. Then we got to go up to the celestial room and talk for a bit. It was a beautiful room with three gorgeous chandeliers. That temple has tons of workers and most of them aren’t missionaries. The workers run a tight ship too haha. Although we didn’t get to go through a session we were happy we got to go to the temple in New Zealand at all.
After the temple we grabbed some lunch and headed another hour south to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. It was SO cool, but unfortunately we don’t have any pictures because the workers are very strict on protecting these caves (but google the caves and you can see some good pictures!!). These caves have these worms called glow worms living on the ceiling. These worms hatch from little eggs and immediately start glowing. They then spend the next nine months spitting down a pin size thick line of spit (up to 15 at a time, and as long as 20 cm long) vertically down from the ceiling. Their glow-light attracts flies and moths that come down to the cave and the bug gets stuck in their line of spit and the worm slurps them up and eats them. After nine months they cocoon and come out as a mosquito type bug, but when they transform they no longer have mouths or stomachs and they die within the next four days. So within those four days they reproduce and the female bug lays 120 eggs. So there sole purpose in life is to keep the species going and nothing else. How weird is that?! But really it was so cool to see them in the caves because it looked like millions of green stars. It was so pretty.
New Zealand is a beautiful country. The people were so kind and friendly! Like Australia we can’t wait to return and explore more of the country. We would also like to return during their summer months. The windy, rain beginning of spring was not ideal haha. But I’m so glad we got to see those rolling hills and dormant volcanoes in vibrant green grass.
I know it has taken me forever to blog about this trip. But now that I’m done, I’m really sad. Before the trip started I thought I would blog while travelling. How naive I was to think I could email our families, blog, and explore every day all day. We were always on the go or sleeping. I’m so glad I didn’t give up precious time doing fun things to sit down in front of a computer. I have loved reliving our trip through these posts throughout the past six months.
Our trip was a trip of a lifetime. Something I had always planned on doing when I found my other half. Traveling the world to learn and explore different cultures has been a passion of mine since my parents sparked that bug at a young age. Traveling gives you the opportunity to learn about the people you are with in a new view. Traveling with Michael has always reassured my deep feelings of love and admiration for him. He is my other half, my better half. He is the one I always want to be with. We have never gotten sick of being with each other too much. We will always set aside money to continue traveling the world. It is one our top goals. We want to show our children God’s beautiful creations as they learn about life.
One of the coolest things about this trip was the bounty of miracles and blessings Michael I saw over the 35 days. There could have been so many things that could have gone wrong, times we could have gotten really hurt, taken advantage of, or our plans not work out. The worst thing that happened was me getting sick multiple times. And that still wasn’t bad enough to change our plans too much or have me see a doctor in a random country. We couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to travel where we did before we started work and have strict time to take off. We are also really grateful for our loved ones who helped make this possible. You are greatly appreciated. We will never forget this experience. Forever we will look back with fond memories of those seven countries.