Sitting in Auckland at 4:30am on a Sunday morning and I have to pack and leave for the airport in one hour. I depart Auckland for Sydney at 8:30am and arrive in San Francisco at 9:30am Sunday. There is a 21 hour time difference between Auckland and California, meaning I arrive back to the USA 26 hours from now.
Americans are the third largest nationality group of tourists to New Zealand at about 270,000 arrivals in past year. Australians are largest group at 1.3 million and more than 400,000 Chinese. UK is 4th at 215,000 visitors.
The average length of stay for US visitors is about 14 days. I was only here 7 days and that was most certainly too short a visit. Ideally I would plan for 14 to 17 days here for an opportunity to stay for several days in three different places around the country. Intra-country flights are relatively inexpensive. My round trip ticket Auckland to Napier was $122 NZD with paid checked bag, about $88 USD. I could justify coming to New Zealand for only one week since my ticket cost for San Francisco-Auckland was only $238 USD round trip.
No time this morning to write up a long travel post. Here are a few photos from my first full day in Napier when I was up early to catch the sunrise and back at the beach at sunset. There were clouds in the east over the Pacific Ocean in the morning.
The beaches around Napier are not soft sand and not pebbly smooth, more like small broken rocks. Not exactly the idyllic kind of place to go for lounging on the beach. Fine with me though. I live by sandy beaches in Monterey and Carmel and fine grains of sand are usually everywhere in my car.
Westshore Beach Sunrise, Napier, New Zealand
Westshore Beach Sunset, Napier, New Zealand
Westshore Beach view south to Napier Hill.
Each day my walk into Napier meant crossing Napier Hill to reach the city center on the other side. Those hill walks were one of the highlights of my time in the city.
View looking north from Westshore Beach.
Flock of seagulls resettling from the beach to the sea after a dog came along.
There are still so many places in New Zealand I want to visit. My second trip to this country and I still have not made it to the South Island.
Hope to return some day.