The next stop on the trip was Rotorua, New Zealand.  We again visited the Polynesian Spa and Te Puia.  Students had the opportunity to visit a number of different locations to experience the differences in culture. 

New Zealand countrysideGlow WormsTwo meanings of today's title. The day was dreary as it rained for most of the trip to Waitomo and Rotorua and we visited Waitomo Cave.  

The image above provides insights into the type of day it was. For Waitomo Cave, you are not allowed to take pictures inside the cave so I will upload the "institutional" photo we received(paid for) later.

The observation for today is that when I first visited in 2006, there were less than 100 miles of expressway.  Today as we were driving to Waitomo, there was a great deal of construction extending the roadway.  The new construction must have stretched more than half of the way to Hamilton.  The plan seems to be to connect Auckland with Hamilton by 2020. 

Mitai logoThe other item for today was our visit to Mitai.  Mitai is a traditional Maori dinner and cultural performance.  Over the years, the event has not changed. They do minor tweaks to make it go more smoothly and more enjoyable for the participants.  It is still a good time to be had by all.  

table settingToday was wine country.  We took the ferry to Waiheke Island.  The ex-hippie colony, and now an expensive bedroom island for Auckland (average price for a home is nz$1.13M) is a 30-minute ferry ride from the city. We visited three wineries and an olive grove. Much like the other islands in the Auckland area the Island is a mix of cliffs and small beaches (except on Waiheke where they have a 2 km beach. 

I have always enjoyed New Zealand reds as much of what they produce are blends.  The Auckland area seems to be the home to the Bordeaux grape production (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec).  Today I got to sample several great examples of this variety. 


Always thought I knew what good olive oil was.  I was wrong.  The grove that we visited grows to different varieties of olives.  Each has its own distinct taste.  So different from the stuff you purchase in a store. 

Finished the day with another item I so like, a meat pie.  Today’s choice was Steak and Mushroom.  I know it sounds a little strange, but they think that putting pumpkin in a pie shell is strange. 

The cargo container takes over (no pictures yet – just figured it out this evening).  The sell shipping containers with windows and doors in them, that open up etc.  I wonder if this is an outcome of what happened in Christchurch

  • Weekend pizza take-away location
  • Walkway
  • Gelato store
  • Housing
  • Offices

Some quick observations:

  • I was asked if I was from here. Yea!!!! – of course, it was an international student
  • America is not a country (why do people from the United States always say they are from America?
  • Why are folks from the US the loudest group?
  • Why do folks from the US take the entire sidewalk when walking as a group?
  • On this trip, why were the folks from the United States last?  Often making people wait.
  • Can you tell a country of origin by the clothes you wear?
  • People go food shopping for the day and every day
  • Everything is so clean

End of the Day

Sunset behind Ringitoto