New Zealand Part One and the Virus

It’s been almost three weeks now that I have been back from New Zealand and unexpectedly in the States due to the Covid-19 virus that originated in China and threw my life a little upside down. Truth be told it’s been a roller coaster of emotions since returning, with a tragic loss of a family friend while managing the unknown of when I’ll return to China. I’m sad about the virus and burned out from explaining to people that yes I’m fine and discussing the sensationalized news stories. Yes the virus is very real, but as my colleagues and I have discussed many of times; we are over feeling like we have to defend China and our lives there. I left for New Zealand before the outbreak and changed my flight back to the states as my school was delayed starting and has since further delayed. It did put a damper on my trip to NZ, but of course I still had a great time traveling the country and seeing the sites!
Our first stop was in Auckland where I sorted out a suitcase debacle before getting the trip started! I have a coworker in Shanghai who is from Auckland who we spent the day with seeing the stinky gannet birds and beautiful coastal views.

In Auckland we had amazing food! I was very surprised by how good it was. My highlight was Giapo which was a fun gelato place where they do personal sampling’s and explanations of all the flavors. We also had great Mexican, mussels, and a dinner on a nearby island.
We visited Tiritiri island to go bird watching and had a great guide walking around for the day. I can’t say that I remember any of the names of the birds we found, but it was a beautiful ferry ride over.

Check out these views! We went to Rotorua for a few days.
We had a great night at a showcase of Maori culture and dinner. It was what you call a very touristy activity, but it was done so nicely and it was great fun.
A surprise highlight was a morning walk in the Redwood Forest! It was so beautiful and something I didn’t know existed beyond the Redwoods of California. We also did a fun skywalk to be high amongst the trees.
We took a flight to Queenstown which is such a beautiful town. Small and feels very quaint with quirks and lake views.

We went on a jet boat ride and it was SO MUCH FUN! The boat goes super fast in very shallow water. It was a highlight for sure. We also witnessed our amazing guide save an inexperienced kayaker from drowning who got stuck.

Stay tuned for part two!

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