Saturday, February 28, 2009

Auckland photographs.

Rained Out

Hi everyone!

So, today we intended to rent a car and have Cameron drive and Dallas navigate the way to Cathedral Cove.

But the weather looked like this (with threats of getting worse):

We were very sad, and decided not to rent the car.

But, we cheered ourselves up with some retail therapy by going to Dressmart, a local retail outlet mall about a 15 minute drive from the city center. The exchange rate was amazing! The prices were already excellent because it was an outlet mall, but with the exchange rate we could pretty much divide the price in half for the price in US dollars.

Afterward, we came back to the city center and grabbed some food. Curiosity also led to Dallas getting this:

After lunch (and the sad loss of Cameron's sunglasses to some unknown whereabouts), we decided to go check out the Sky Tower, the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere:

It was actually a bit unnerving going close to the edge of the platform, but we eventually got used to it. However, Dallas was scared because she's jumping into a canyon in about two days.

We then had mochachinos and sweets from the tower cafe, and talked while the sun set behind golden rain! Tomorrow, we're heading down to Queenstown for crazy adventures. Stay tuned, and wish us better weather!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Auckland: Wine Tour and... ANOTHER Zoo?

Note: Parker informed me that his mom, Gina, expressed a desire for more commentary on the photos in our gallery, so I just went in and added some. Feedback appreciated, we aim to please. ;)

Quote of the day: “I just read Butchery as ‘Butt Cherry.’ I was confused.” – Dallas

So, we started our day with breakfast in our hotel's cafe. Dallas's cappuccino was pretty!

Next, we embarked on our ever-so-sophisticated wine-tasting tour , which is amusing because neither of us are really wine-drinkers. We visited three wineries (where we tasted several kinds of award-winning wine), a black sand beach, a café, and a honey shop. We were accompanied by a Russian woman who had just moved here with her husband, her absolutely adorable two-year-old daughter, and her mother. As always, the bulk of the day's pictures can be found by clicking the 'Photos on Flickr' link above, but here are a few to start with:

After our wine-tasting tour, we decided to go to the Auckland City Zoo, because Dallas had her heart set on seeing a Kiwi. It was an amazing zoo! So beautiful and well-designed. All of the animal habitats felt very open, spacious, and natural. We got to see the Kiwi, but there are no pictures as the exhibit was way too dark. Unfortunately a few of the animals were unavailable because parts of the zoo are undergoing renovations, but we did get to see three young tiger cubs frolicking around! Dallas got some positively stunning pictures of these tigers, and we had some fun frolicking around the Zoo as well. :)

At the Zoo, a guy approached me, told me he was from Indonesia and asked me where I was from, and then asked if he could take a picture with me. So if any of you come across a photo on the internet of me with a random Indonesian dude who does not resemble any of my friends, you can disregard it. ;)

The Zoo closed at 5:30, so we headed to the shop to grab a couple of souvenirs and post cards. After that, we realized that we had taken a cab there, but had only Dallas's cell phone (no pay phone in sight) and no cab phone number. We walked out to the street and discovered that the last tram had left at 4:30. So, we headed out to another street and found a bus, then spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out where it would take us. We eventually caught a bus and made it back to Queen Street in Downtown Auckland.

Dallas is feeling just slightly under the weather (I think she may have caught the little cold I had), so she wanted some spicy Korean soup. We were a little sketched out by some of the hole-in-the-wall places we passed, but I spotted this from the bus and thought it looked promising. And bright green.

We located the nice little creperie that our wine-tasting tour guide had recommended. I got some french onion soup and then we headed back to the room to eat. I got to talk to Parker today, after some phone-card complications, and it was great to hear his voice again. After Dallas and I were done with our dinner, we went back down to the street and each grabbed a dessert crepe. Yum.

We are now winding down for the night. It's raining outside and I'm feeling a little apprehensive, because I'm supposed to drive (with Dallas as my navigator) to Cathedral Cove tomorrow and that was daunting enough without the rain to complicate things! We'll see.

We will conclude this post with a couple of video clips from our time in Sydney:

Thanks for reading! Good night. :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

In Auckland!

Hello all! Today started at 4:00AM, which is when we woke up to get ready to leave Glenferrie Lodge. We had only realized the day before that our flight out of Sydney was at the unpleasant hour of 6:45am, so our hotel booked a taxi to come get us. At the front desk, we met another Glenferrie guest trying to get to the airport, so we split our taxi with him. He was a nice Australian man in town for a business conference, and was a sales rep for touristy goods. Our taxi driver saved us from being run into by a large truck with some quick maneuvering. I'm fairly convinced everyone drives crazy here...but still not as crazy as in Rome.

Here's a view out the window from our first flight, going from Sydney to Melbourne. It's smoke from some of the wildfires. So sad...

We then immediately got on a plane from Melbourne to Auckland. The flight was about 3-4 hours long, but I slept and there's a two hour time difference between Auckland and Sydney, so it was all very confusing about how long it actually was. At the airport, Cameron found a hotel shuttle bus that was cheaper than a taxi, and we eventually got to the hotel. Here's our room:

After dropping our bags off in our adorable (and eco-friendly!) room, we went wandering around the city.

That last photo shows a bunch of young people (who had been partying in a bar next to the Mexican restaurant we ate dinner at) starting some kind of Mardi Gras march. Many of the guys were wearing skin-tights spandex pants. It was amusing.

Cameron and I also found Lush! (This is the 3rd or 4th international Lush I've been to...terrible, lol.)

And gelato!

After that, we went to see He's Just Not That Into You to wind down the day. The movie was okay, but it really made us appreciate our boyfriends. :)

Now it's time for bed, as we're getting picked up at 10:00AM for a wine and cheese tasting tour! How sophisticated of us! ;)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 4 - Featherdale Wildlife Park

Hi everyone! So, today we took two trains and a bus to Featherdale Wildlife Park. Dallas uploaded around 72 photos we took of the experience to flickr, so make sure you check those out when you're done here. :)

Dallas and I geeked out a little on pictures of Angel stars who had visited Featherdale previously:

Inside the park, we spent some quality time with wallabies, kangaroos, koalas, and a variety of other super cute animals:

When we were done at Featherdale, we took a bus and two trains to Circular Quay to grab something to eat and visit an ATM. Then we rode the ferry back to Kirribilli, where our hotel is located.

Tomorrow, we fly to Melbourne at 6:45AM, which means we have to leave our hotel around 5. From Melbourne, we catch a flight to Auckland, NZ, where we will be for around 3 days before continuing on to Queenstown, NZ.

As for right now, Dallas and I are getting ready for bed. I am SO sleepy... been fighting off a minor cold, I think, and today was my lowest-energy day. Hoping to get a good night's sleep before tomorrow's early departure.

We are thinking of and missing you all! Thanks for reading. :)

P.S. Emus are evil.

About Us

Cameron Gage and Dallas Nagata both graduated from college in December of 2008. As a reward for all their hard work in school, they decided to take a graduation trip to Australia and New Zealand from February 21st to March 8th. This blog will cover their trip with photos, journal entries, and more!


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