Trip Start Jan 16, 2008
Trip End Jul 28, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Monday, July 14, 2008

Our Kiwi fan club, otherwise known as Jemma and Charles, had amazingly flown up from Christchurch for one final autograph! It was fantastic to see them again, as we will do again in January for their wedding - hopefully, although to date donations to this great cause have been a little thin on the ground!?!
An enjoyable lunch outside at a restaurant on the harbour front was a very pleasant change from the usual cheese sandwich. Catching the ferry over to Devonport, we wandered the shops, grabbed an ice cream and enjoyed great views back towards the famous city skyline.
Our timing for the Sky Tower couldn't have been better as we were afforded both day and night views as the sunset from the two viewing platforms over 200 metres above the city. Charles, the pilot, turned a little white as we made our way up in the part glass-floored elevator...heights worry him a little?! It was a good job that I was flying that plane in Christchurch!

At the bottom of the tower, the casino provided some light-hearted entertainment. Kim and I bet and lost the grand total of $2 (80 pence) on a slot machine we didn't even understand. Charles, similarly lacking knowledge, turned his $2 investment into an mind-blowing $10 return! The casino manager was left weeping in the corner...It was an extraordinary experience to watch people moronically feeding money into these machines seemingly devoid of all thought. One guy appeared to have so much resting on his huge investment at the roulette table that he was shaking all over - fortunately, this time, his gamble paid off but goodness knows how much he had already given the casino over the past few hours or days...
Off to the liquor store, we grabbed supplies to be enjoyed in the luxury of Jemma and Charles's hotel room and enjoyed a fun evening chatting away reliving our tales of NZ.
The next morning we headed over to the Kelly Tarlton Antarctic centre to see real penguins, a replica of Captain Scott's Base as well as masses of marine life, including some ridiculously large stingrays. Although probably mainly aimed at children, Kim and I unashamedly still had a great time!
The afternoon was spent wandering the grand Auckland museum, although all parties were starting to feel a little weary from a frantic few days of sight-seeing.
Sadly we had to bade farewell to Jemma and Charles as they had to fly back to Christchurch that evening. We had had a ball and was brilliant to see them again...see you in 6 months time!?!
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