Up early at the Jamaica Blue coffee shop in Auckland near the Ibis Budget Hotel near the airport where we get picked up at 11 am for our journey to Rotorua to meet our rolling home for the next 40 days.

Minnesota nice must have gotten the name from New Zealand. My overwhelming impression from our day in Auckland is some of the most friendly, helpful people I’ve ever met…from the barber, Meha, who shared all about where to find a rugby game,

the 2 women at b-fast who couldn’t stop sharing specific places to visit, the kind of wine to find , or the woman at the bookstore helping to locate another store that had the last copy of the trekking guide that we were looking for.


We definitely got our 10,000 steps in wandering the cosmopolitan city,

learning to use public transport with our new French friends (and Cool Planet converts), Eric and Albane,

cruising fisherman’s wharf with amazing yachts and sailing vessels,

stopping into interesting shops

and a wonderful dinner at the Zookeeper’s Son and a fantastic waitperson, Helena, from Korea

who warned us of the sheep and cow poop on the way to the top of Lone Tree Hill in Cornwall Park that we climbed at sunset for a breath taking 360 degree view of Auckland to end our first day on this island nation.