Introduction / Jan 8, 2003

Published: 17 January 2003

For a detailed map of New Zealand, check out backpack-newzealand.com.

Last week, Norm, Teri and I were aboard the live-aboard dive vessel "Spoilsport" in the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea. There is, of course, a thorough web journal of that trip as well.

-- Wednesday, January 8, 2003 --

00:12 - Waitomo Caves - We woke up at 5am and took a shuttle to the Townsville airport, where we boarded an airplane to Brisbane. Brisbane airport is really nice -- it's modern, and had large couches for us to relax on during our four hour layover. Afterwards, we hopped on another plane for Auckland (which, unfortunately, was not a good experience. we had three rude people seated in front of us, a kid was using his water bottle as drumsticks behind me, and the entire back section of the aircraft smelled vaguely of vomit) and arrived in New Zealand at 6:15pm. A shuttle from Thrifty car rentals picked us up, and we drove south in our fancy Toyota Previa, arriving here at at 10:50pm. The green lushness of the area between Auckland and Waitomo Caves is amazing. I can't wait for the sun to rise. :) Everyone we've met here so far has been extremely pleasant.

Some irony: As soon as I finished reading Fast Food Nation, we stopped and ate at a Burger King, because it seemed that nothing else was open (we were in the middle of an expressway). Five minutes after finishing dinner, we drove through a cute little town whose main drag was littered with trendy looking places to eat. :)