New Year, New Country, New Zealand

We took a 6am Uber taxi to the Honolulu Airport. The streets were empty, and so was the airport. Check-in was quick and uneventful. We had tons of extra time waiting for our 9:30 flight to Auckland. At 2pm we passed through the International Date Line. Champagne was served on the plane. We arrived in Auckland at 5pm, January 1, 2017, Auckland time. We’d missed New Year’s Eve completely!

Once through airport security, we got some New Zealand currency from the ATM and bought 2 New Zealand (Spark) phone cards for our phones. We finagled bus tickets ($3 NZ per person) and loaded our luggage and golf clubs aboard for the 40-minute ride up to Botany Downs Centre. We dragged our luggage the last 10 minutes to our apartment where we’d booked our first 10 nights. We found the key as pre-arranged and checked ourselves into a pretty nice 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment with good wi-fi, satellite TV, and comfortable beds. We unpacked and headed back across the road to the Botany Town Center, a shopping complex. Everything was closed – it was New Year’s Day. We finally found one open restaurant and shared a burger and coke. Back to the apartment, and early to bed.