Day One

(August 1-3)

Boarded the airporter at 11:30am, Cam already having left earlier the same morning. On board the plane by 4:00pm, 12 hr 45 min flight. Movies: The Day After Tomorrow, Laws of Attraction, Suzie Gold, Shrek 2. Arrived into Auckland at midnight, the morning of the 3rd, 19 hours ahead. Scouted out "beds" on the 2nd floor, but stayed awake until 2am, at which point signed up for the 2 remaining Berkeley classes. Slept for a few hours, then waited until noon for Cam's flight to get in. Picked up by Liz, of, and off to a small cafe and a chai latte. Next to the Arataki Visitor Center, and our first view and picture taking opportunity of downtown Auckland. After a stereotypical home-cooked meal, asleep by 8:00pm.

Day Two

(August 4)

Up at 7:00am, first adventure on NZ's bus system without a hitch. Hopped on the ferry at 9:15 to Rangitoto island, hiked up to the summit, and saw the crater, lava caves. Returning back, walked down Queen's Street and stopped in a few outdoor stores, for missing supplies. One bus ride later, back at Liz's. Takeout Indian for dinner and Master and Commander DVD for movie, and sleep.

Day Three

(August 5)

Waking up at a leisurely time, our bus ride into the city center this morning not until 9:35am. After a quick breakfast at the Britomart, off to the Maritime Museum. From Maori exploration to America's Cup, anything and everything related to boats. Next, the city Art Gallery, interesting combos of pointless modern art, interesting modern art, classical portrait painting, and Roman architecture line art (Parisini). For both: see sticky badges. En route to Pegasus Car Rental, stop for lunch at Toto's. So ensued a $120NZ Italian feast. Picked up the car, navigated back to the house. Met most of Liz's family for dinner: Graham, Kate,  Jordan, Erica, Tiana.

Day Four

(August 6)

Waking up met Clyde and Violet, the unknowns. Off early towards Rotorua, the hotspring tourist capital, managing to stop for coffee x2 times (the first time overlooking the coal power plant. Bought 2 shot glasses, frosted kiwi and tall w/ map). Getting into town made our way to Crash Place, the first hostel of the trip. Walking around, saw Blue Baths, Art Museum (w/ egg I would have purchased given another day, and should have purchased), Polynesian Spa, parts of downtown, and Lake Rotorua. Lunch virtually nonexistent, first budget dinner from the Pak'N Save $32 for dinner + supposed next morning's breakfast. Hopefully tomorrow marks the start of the 4-day Lake Waikaremoana tramp, without incident.

Day Five

(August 7)

En route to aforementioned hike, encountered "status of roads" sign (see picture), indicating the need for a 6-hour detour to arrive at the starting point. Therefore, arriving by 3pm to Big Bush Holiday Park, our accommodations for the night, took a short walk up towards the trailhead. One hot shower and texas hold'em game later, Zach (the son) arrived to sus out (NZ slang) the plan. We depart 9:00am, 50 min drive to the opposite side of the hike, which, without incident, begins tomorrow, in reverse.

Day Six

(August 8)

Day one of the Lake Waikaremoana Tramp (3 hr 15 min, 7.8 km). Gary, Zach's father, provided shuttle service to the opposite end of the lake. After buying hut tickets, recently increased $14 to $20 per person per night, left "base camp" across a swinging bridge, approx. 10:45am. Reached Waiharuru Hut shortly after 3pm, our first night's sleep. Dinner, followed by this, written by candlelight.

Day Seven

(August 9)

Day two of the Lake Waikaremoana Tramp (6 hr 30 min, 18.3 km). Set out at 9:45am, arrived at Waiaopoa Hut at 5:15pm. After the midway-hut/lunch ankle started hurting, as though slightly sprained. Soon after, knee, as though almost sprained. 800mg of painkillers later (no noticeable effect) survived w/ varying degrees of pain. Met Jan (from Slovakia) at the hut, had a communal game of Texas Hold'em - my first victory.

Day Eight

(August 10)

Day Three of the Lake Waikaremoana Tramp (4 hr, 7.6 km). Left at 10:00am, arrived at 2:00pm. Nice and short walk except for the fact that it was up a mountain, 600m elevation gain. Knee same condition as before, 800mg more. Met Elizabeth (from Montana), veterinarian, at our final hut, Panekiri, with good views off both sides of the mountain.

Day Nine

(August 11)

Final day of the Lake Waikaremoana Tramp (5 hr + 1 hr, 8.8 km + 4 km). Off by 9:00am on a "mostly downhill descent" to the end of the track. The additional time/distance is from the end to our car, along the highway SH38. Took off towards Napier, the Art Deco City. Arriving before dark, checked in to another triple at Criterion Backpackers Inn, a quite nice hostel. Dinner surprisingly hard to encounter, restaurants hard to find much less be open, settled on Mossys' Art Deco Cafe, chicken curry. Tomorrow reserved for exploring Napier.

Day Ten

(August 12)

Awoke. Breakfast at Brumby's, then split up meeting "on the waterfront." First saw the Soundshell & Colonade, then along the beach. Centennenial Gardens (w/ fake waterfall), then up the hill to Bluff Hill Lookout.

Sunken Gardens followed by the skate park, then circles looking for the cinemas. Found the Rialto-esque one, a film festival starts on August 19th so too late for this trip. Found the mainstream one, Hellboy planned for 6:10pm tonight, then off to Wellington first thing in the morning.

Day Eleven

(August 13)

Off by 9:00am, arrived into Wellington by 1:30pm. Checked in at Wellington YHA hostel, then off to the Te papa National Museum. Wandered around for a few hours until closing time, one painting of note: John Reynolds (NZ '92) "Plato's Cave," but no photography allowed. Reservations for the afternoon ferry tomorrow, internet cafe and Turkish kebab later, off to bed. Will miss the Lang Lang & NZCS concert tomorrow night.

Day Twelve

(August 14)

Visited the City Art Gallery (Scream Exhibition), newly opened photojournalistic gallery at the National Library (Ans ?), the "Beehive" and Parliament buildings, and Old St. Paul's Cathedral (somewhere in there too the Trolley ride to the top of the hill). Onto the Lynx ferry boat by 3:30pm, departure by 4:40. Arrived into Picton at night and immediately drove to the YHA in Nelson. Plans for the future largely unknown, Nydia Tramp possible.

Day Thirteen

(August 15)

Decided to spend a day in Nelson before heading south. Breakfast at the Yaza Cafe. Lunch, and dinner bakery/supermarket fare. Inbetween saw Man on Fire, walked to the ends of Trafalgar Street (both hill and ocean sides), explored all the closed-on-Sunday shops. Tomorrow an early drive down to Arthur's Pass.

Day Fourteen

(August 16)

Drove down the West Coast (first views of the Tasman Sea) to Greymouth, lunch at Anklebitters. On the way stopped at the pancake rocks/blow holes. Up to Arthur's Pass by 4pm (without incident, with unnecessarily rented snow chains). Dinner at the only restaurant in town, Chalet.

Day Fifteen

(August 17)

Breakfast at the next door cafe. Left Arthur's Pass heading back the other way to Temple Basin, and a short hike up the snowline. Then off to Christchurch, into the City Central YHA. After returning the snow chains (1 hr 30 min adventure), out onto the town & ate lunch, Chicken Fried Rice w/ Cashews. Went and found the James Hay Theatre. Returned later at 8:00pm for NZ String Quarter ft. Hariolf Schlichtig. Played {Mozart String Quintet in D K593, Mozart String Quintet in G minor K516, Brahms String Quintet No 1 in F Opus 88}.

Day Sixteen

(August 18)

The day to explore Christchurch. Breakfast across the street at the Kaufeehause, The German. Then off to the Christchurch Art Gallery (Icarus painting) and the Canterbury Museum. Brief attempt at shopping at the Arts Centre, then "lunch" at the Yellowback (?) Cafe. Off on my own ("City Mall", egg & nail clippers), then back to the hostel. Off to see Chronicles of Riddick with Ruth (Scotland), Zera (N. Ireland) and Ian (Sweden). After that quiz night w/ our STRAY / "The Latecomers" team at Saints and Sinners, the X Base bar. Came in 4th of 10.

Day Seventeen

(August 19)

Day One of the Return. Breakfast at same venue (The American), then we're off, leaving Cam to complete the rest of his travels in NZ and elsewhere (minus $$ and car). Reached Picton by 3:30pm, ate lunch, waited several hours for the [late] ferry at 7:30pm. In to Wellington at 10:30pm, back to the YHA and sleep.

Day Eighteen

(August 20)

Left Wellington at 7:30am, straight up to Auckland via SH1. Brunch = Burger King, first fast food of the trip. Dropped off the car and got a ride to the airport. Arrived by 4:00pm, an eight hour drive. Plane (movies: 13 Going on 30, Hidalgo, Envy, Wondrous Oblivion) departs 7:40pm on Friday, arrives at San Francisco at 12:30pm on Friday. Goodbye NZ.