Celebrating a birthday in Auckland, New Zealand. (Oct 31 – Nov 3)

So where does the trip of a lifetime begin? Well, for me, it began in Auckland, New Zealand. Not a bad place to celebrate one’s birthday. Don’t you think? While Australia was to comprise the bulk of my trip, I couldn’t travel so far to the other side of the world and not make a short stop in New Zealand. People are constantly talking about how beautiful New Zealand, and I must say: they were not wrong. Three days in New Zealand is certainly not enough to appreciate its beauty and wonder, but certainly enough to whet one’s appettite, making you want to return and see more of this wonderful land. So, what does one do with three days in Auckland? Read on and find out.

Day 1: October 31st: Ziplining on Waiheke Island…while dressed as Batman.

My fellow zipliners! Americans! Aussies! New Zealanders! Great times were had.

My fellow zipliners! Americans! Aussies! New Zealanders! Great times were had.

There’s no rest for the wicked. I hit the ground running. Check it: flight arrives at Auckland Airport at just around 6AM. Baggage collection and customs, quite an easy process here, and I’m off to my hotel. As to be expected, room was not ready at 7 or so in the morning. No worries. Use the hotel bathroom to freshen up and change, leave the luggage with the staff, and I’m off to catch a ferry from the pier to Waiheke Island. A tranquil ride later, I and a group of people get picked up by the shuttle for EcoZip Adventures. <— Click on the link (to the left) to check out their website. A short drive to the top, accompanied by excellent commentary by the driver, and we arrive at HQ. Alright, now let’s get to ziplining.

Batman's ready to go ziplining.

Batman’s ready to go ziplining.

I should point out that I have never been ziplining. Anyone who reads this post and other upcoming posts will discover that this trip is full of firsts for me. This one is the first (see what I did there? No? Sorry. Not Sorry). Anyway, I was extremely excited, as was the rest of the group. Check these out:

Finally, after some amazing ziplining, it was time to go back to the mainland. So, there you have it folks, my first time ziplining. I definitely hope to do it again.

Zipline # 1

Zipline # 2

Zipline # 3

An amazing time that I hope to experience again. Such beautiful scenery. Not bad for my first day. 🙂

Day 2: November 1st (my birthday!!!): This day was the reason for this whole trip.

It’s my birthday!!!!! I’ve been wanting to celebrate a borthday in another country for quite some time now. It was about time! So, what would I be doing on my 35th birthday? Have you ever heard of the Auckland SkyTower? Check this out:

First at the SkyTower: The SkyWalk. The Skywalk is where you and a group take narrow walkway around the Sky Tower. This walkway is about 192 meters from the ground, and each person is secured with two safety tethers. Enough said: Check out the photos and video.

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The SkyWalk team. A good group of folks.

We got this!

We got this!

Look ma, no hands!

Look ma, no hands! Amazing view!

After all that was said and done, it was time to jump. The other activity is the SkyJump off of the tower. Let me tell you, it was an amazing way to celebrate my birthday. There’s not really much to say about it, so enjoy the video.

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First photo op before the jump.

Photo op number 2. Moment of truth. No backing out now.

Photo op number 2. Moment of truth. No backing out now.

Day 3: November 2nd: One ring to rule them all.

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Finally made it to Hobbiton.

Anyone who recognizes that quote will know that it is from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. One of the reasons I chose Auckland was because it is about two hours north of the Hobbiton Movie Set. This is where scenes showing where the hobbits lived, where Bilbo had his 111th birthday, and where he first met Gandalf, were shot. Booked through Bush and Beach, we were picked up by a shuttle bus at seemingly the buttcrack of dawn to make the two hour trek to the location, near Matamata, New Zealand. Suffice to say, I was very excited. I love the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. The tour was awesome. It ended with a free pint of ale and a free buffet for lunch. Oh yeah, and souvenirs were bought!! Not a bad 3 days in New Zealand.

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The Party Tree

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Bilbo and Frodo's house!

Bilbo and Frodo’s house!

No admittance, except of course, on party business.

No admittance, except of course, on party business.

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Found a place in New Zealand.

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The Green Dragon Inn. Time for a pint.

Got me a souvenir

Got me a souvenir

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