Arriving in New Zealand was a bit of a shock to the system after the gorgeous hot weather of Australia. We were greeted by the all too familiar sight of grey skies and drizzling rain- a little taste of home I suppose! We hoped into town with the help of uber and met with the really cheerful hotel concierge even though it was the middle of the night! He gave us lots of tips for our upcoming adventures and some free drinks vouchers which was a great welcome to NZ!
The time we flew and arrived meant that our body clocks were pretty messed up. We didn’t wake until not far off lunchtime but it felt like the early hours of the morning still! We had a gorgeous room which was lovely and we could even see the Sky Tower not far from our room which meant that our morning/ lunchtime coffee was sipped with a view.
We organised a meet up with our local friends, Kelsey and Bernie, who we met in South East Asia for late afternoon so we set off into town to get some essentials such as a local SIM card and a New Zealand guide book! Seeing the familiar faces of Kelsey and Bernie was lovely, and we trundled off in their car to a local beach for fish and chips which Kelsey said was a New Zealand arrival must. She also prepared the most adorable little Kiwi starter kit for us including some of the finest in NZ confectionery. The pineapple lumps and chocolate fish were a big hit!
As evening set in we said our goodbye to the Kiwi dream team and headed up the Sky Tower. It was a pretty view of the lights over the city particularly as the sun set and the town started to light up. We enjoyed a selection of NZ cheeses at the top of the tower before hitting the hay for an early get up.
The early get up to head to Paihia for the dolphin experience was pretty painful, and a fairly long drive to the town meant that car parking was a challenge. However we managed with the help of a very very unfriendly staff member to board our boat on time. The ladies running the boat were talking a little cryptically about what they had seen in the morning which led me to believe we may not have much luck in seeing dolphins. My hunch was correct. Three hours of windy cruising around the Bay of Plenty produced only a couple of tiny penguins. It turns out that the solitary dolphin they had spotted in the morning had been behaving very strangely, darting out of the bay at the speed of light. The ladies believed it was probably due to an orca nearby, and we headed home a little disappointed but largely very very cold. Apparently it’s extremely unusual to not see dolphins in that area so I guess it just wasn’t our day! The drive back was long and we were both super tired, so seeing the Sky Tower in the distance after a couple of hours behind the wheel was a very welcome sight!