Monday, November 28, 2011


Once my counts were coming up, my mom and I left AMA (I know as a former hospital employee i shouldn't do that, but c'mon, it was time) and met my Dad and sister in Auckland. Since we were a few days late my dad and sister had time to explore Auckland on their own. They went on an America's Cup boat around the harbor and saw a natural history museum and a national forest.

When we got there we stayed at a place called Mollies which is a charming boutique hotel that used to be a private home. My room was pretty awesome and had a view of the harbor, so at least I got to see a bit before we left the next morning for our first stop at Poronui Lodge for a few days of amazing fishing and outdoor activities.

Part of Auckland harbor, view from room

Auckland's space needle, downtown

I must also mention that flying into Auckland has been one of the most beautiful things I have seen in all my travels this year! We came across from Sydney, which was also a great view of the bridge, opera house, and harbor (missing my term abroad), into the west coast of Auckland and then we came around to the Pacific Ocean before we landed. During this time I saw the most green and lush country I've ever been exposed to... And, well, that's saying a lot! (though in fairness I haven't been to Ireland, yet) The water is also unlike anything, an incredible mixture of bright aqua and dazzling emerald, scattered between rolling green hills and black and white beaches. It was breathtaking and if there hadn't been crazy turbulence I would have some insane pictures to show you.

The next day we were to fly but the weather was pretty bad so instead we drove to Poronui, which is close to Napier. Honestly, I'm glad we ended up driving because we got to see a lot of the countryside which was absolutely stunning. Everyone says how the South Island is amazing, and I'm sure it is, but this was truly beautiful as well.

Poronui is a fishing and hunting lodge where you can also shoot clay, ride horses, and hike. They have a very large property and something special they do is take you in a helicopter to find the best spots!

The main grounds. I took these pictures on our first full day. The rest of my family went fishing but I still wasn't quite up to par, so I walked the grounds and slept.

I walked across this field to get to the stables. The grass was very fluid in the wind and looked like waves on water.

Charlie- He was a very beautiful thoroughbred who was extremely friendly and came right up to me and let me pet and hangout with him for about an hour. He's also 17 hands!

My dad had "The best trout fishing day of my life" and here is why, they don't make 'em like this in the States!
FYI, for you fish lovers, don't worry, it was catch and release... plus fish don't feel pain silly!

Yeah... ridiculous! Needless to say he's an amazing fisherman and the rest of us did not get quite as many.

As our day came to an end we received devastating news and decided to end our trip early.

A beautiful sunset on the sunset of a beautiful life. In memory.

As we had a few days before we were to head home, we completed the rest of our time at Poronui. I was able to fish in the morning of the next day.

Ready for take off

First cast :-)

And after a five minute fight the slippery sucker coughed it out! Grrr!

The water is SO clear here you are sight fishing and literally cast right to them! For you non-fishers, that RARELY happens. It was an amazing experience. Growing up fishing waters in Wyoming and Colorado had nothing on this place!

I caught this boy right as the chopper was landing to pick us up

Team Trout!

That afternoon Lisa and I went horseback riding. After bonding with Charlie the day before, I knew we were ready for the next step in our relationship.

A happy reunion

Having ridden a Western saddle since age 2, it was fun to try an Australian-English, albeit a little strange.

Lisa on Little Man

On the trail

Charlie was all I'd hoped he be. It was a lovely ride with beautiful scenery and a fun run at the end.

That evening we had dinner in their famous wine cellar

The next day we left Poronui and did a day helicopter tour around an active sulfuric volcanic island called White Island. On the way we stopped on the top of a small mountain

Views from chopper

Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings in the background on the right.

Guess where I get my love of maps...

Geothermal springs

White Island

It all smelled just super!


After the island, we choppered back to Rotorua. On the way back we saw dolphins and pilot whales in the water! In Rotorua we took a tour of the Maori, New Zealand natives, museum which was really amazing to learn about their incredible culture!

After we drove to our hotel for that evening and bit of the next day before our flight. We stayed at a place called Huka Lodge. This is one of the top hotels I have ever stayed in. The scenery on the grounds was magnificent and we had our own cottage on the riverbed.

Amazing roses!

New Zealand could quite possibly be the most beautiful land I have ever been to... and I've only seen a quarter of it. We are all looking forward to coming back soon and continuing to marvel in the glory of this stunning and happy country!

Location:North Island, New Zealand