Auckland, New Zealand
January 2012
January 26th              After disembarking from the Odyssey we checked into our hotel - the Quay West -
which we had stayed at in the past.  We were assigned a harbour view unit on the 21st floor, but the room
would not be available for several hours, so we started our first day in Auckland with a walk along Queen
Street with all its shops and restaurants.

Our last visit to Auckland was three years ago and the renovations in the harbor area continued with new
restaurants and shopping areas.  Everything was noticeably more expensive than when we last stayed in
the city, especially food.  In part this is due to the weakness of the US Dollar to the Kiwi currency, but also
to an  increase in food costs in general.  In fact, according to the local newspaper, food cost in Auckland is
now about as high as anywhere in the world.  Alas, we Americans have finally changed the customs here
and tipping in the better restaurants is now expected.  In the past we had been told in no uncertain terms
by our Kiwi friends not to tip, but with the increase in tourism over the years it is now expected, especially
from Americans.  I asked at the hotel desk whether New Zealanders tip in restaurants, and the answer was a
firm No!

Eleanor was very conscientious during our cruise and worked out on the treadmill every day.  To put it
bluntly I was too lazy, and as a result payed the price with muscle aches and pains as we began walking
around the city.  But - I know it is good for me and am determined to get back to swimming and walking on a
daily basis once we get to Hawaii.

January 30th                Monday the 30th was the Auckland Day Holiday.  Sailboats dotted the Auckland
Harbor and there was even an air show.  We had ringside seats on our balcony.  Auckland Day
commemorates the arrival of William Hobson in the Bay of Islands in 1840.  For more information click

Our 10 days in Auckland went by too quickly.  The weather was a bit cooler and windier than we would have
liked, especially during the evenings.  We did not venture out of the city and just enjoyed wandering about
the city.  A couple of times we took a bus out of the city center and then walked back to the hotel.

The restaurants in Auckland are really incredible.  The chefs go beyond anything we experience at home or
anywhere else in our travels.  It is expensive - but worth it!

February 4th              The ride to the airport went quickly and efficiently and we were well ahead of time for
our 10:30 AM Air New Zealand flight to Honolulu on Saturday morning.  We crossed the International Date
Line and arrived in Honolulu on Friday, February 3rd at 8:00 PM!