A Visit to the Auckland Zoo

Trip Start Jan 15, 2009
Trip End Mar 07, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, March 6, 2009

I slept in this morning, which was nice for a change.  I got packed up and checked out of the Crowne Plaza.  I got directions from the concierge and made an easy 15 minute drive to the Auckland Zoo.  It is a nice size zoo.  They have a great Kiwi Exhibit and some Tuataras in their collection, as well as a good collection of animals from the South Pacific.  They have a nice exhibit of Asian animals and African animals as well.  Their elephant exhibit is about to grow significantly, as yesterday the Auckland City Council approved their request to expand their elephant collection to support a whole herd of elephants and expand the zoo property to provide space for the herd adjacent to their current facility.  After a few hours at the zoo, it started raining, so I left the zoo and headed to the airport to return the Mazda. 

It took only about 30 minutes to drive to the airport.  I dropped off the car at the Hertz desk and went to retrieve my contraband honey from the Biosecurity Desk.  It took close to 45 minutes for them to find my honey and get someone to accompany it to the Air New Zealand desk.  They wanted to watch the honey go into my bag and see the bag checked and be carried away on the conveyor belt before they were confident that New Zealand was safe from my 2 small jars of honey!  When the bag was safely in the hands of Air New Zealand, they had me sign a paper and they left me alone.

From there, it was a visit to customs and immigration to get my exit stamp on my passport and then I had several hours to kill at the airport until my Air New Zealand flight NZ8 left at about 7:40 pm for San Francisco.  They served us a nice dinner on the flight and I watched the movie Slum Dog Millionare before dozing off to sleep.  Tomorrow morning I will be back in the states.  As I slept, we passed the International Date Line, so when I woke up it was still March 5th, but much earlier in the day.  I watched the movie "Australia" on the video monitor and ate some breakfast and before I knew it, we were landing in San Francisco.  I got customs and immigration pretty quickly and picked up my luggage.  I caught the Hilton Garden Inn's airport shuttle to the hotel and checked in.  I slept for a few hours and took it easy the rest of the afternoon and evening.  I wentg to bed early and tried to sleep off the jet lag.  In the morning, I will go into the city and catch a tour to Muir Woods.
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