Homeward Bound

Thursday morning we woke up, finished last minute packing, left our lovely AirBnB, and headed to the airport. 

Auckland has, hands down, one of the best airports I’ve been to; from the security process to the moving artwork, everything has been designed with the traveler in mind.  Even the bathroom had family stalls—containing one regular-sized and one toddler-sized toilet. 

Also spotted: a life-size Gandalf made of Legos. Penelope was quite pleased, since I think she was expecting more Tolkien-inspired statuary (as seen at the Wellington airport).

After lunch and some final souvenir shopping, we boarded our first of two flights, bound for Fiji.  An uneventful three hours later, we arrived for our lengthy layover.  Fortunately, as a perk of our credit card, we have access to swanky airport lounges… so we checked into the Fiji Airways Premier Lounge, where we enjoyed comfy chairs, a kids’ entertainment area, and a delicious dinner.  And as if that wasn’t enough… Jeremy and I both spent half an hour in the Lounge Spa, indulging in the “Stopover Chair Massage.”  A most civilized way to travel.  🙂

So this is the last post of our New Zealand trip… and what a trip it has been.  I told Penelope on our outward bound flight that I’d been dreaming of coming to NZ for twenty years (and she duly repeated that fact to nearly everyone we met).  But it’s certainly true that this trip was the culmination of years of dreaming and planning—and I felt like the luckiest woman in the world to share this adventure with my family.  Not every day was as peak awesome as Hobbiton… but every day was still New Zealand—and that meant it was pretty much all wonderful.  This picture from last week is a fairly accurate representation of me during my time here.  Happy, happy, happy.  And definitely the tannest I’ve ever been.  Ha!

I’ll leave you with some excellent outtakes from the North Island. 

Much of the packaging and advertising here is in this vein. Love it.
Riding high in Windy Wellington.
Seriously. I love the Kiwis.
Did you know there were golden kiwi fruits?? Equally as delicious as the green ones.
Spotted in Russell, which is actually quite a historical-type place.
Also in Russell. One of many rather interesting lawn ornaments/mailboxes.
We seriously considered importing these. But we’ll be in Venice for Easter this year. Poor us! 🙂
If this car existed in the US, I would immediately buy a white one and name it Shadowfax.
All time favorite NZ snack food. Thanks, Megan, for the recommendation–these are delicious!
Often the gorgeous street artwork featured one or more of NZ’s spectacular birds. Spotted this pillar in Auckland.
Auckland harbor.
Okay, you have to imagine Penelope reading this out loud over and over and giggling. Perfect.

Farewell, New Zealand.  I hope we will be back soon!

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