|is the only way to fly
New day, new city, new country. My time in New Zealand has ended and now I'm in Australia. Melbourne, Australia in Victoria which is in the south east of the continent. I arrived on Saturday the 27th of February and have 12 weeks ahead of me to explore the country.
My last few days in NZ were filled with friends. I met up with my friend Mike and we spent a day up in the Goat Island Marine Reserve scuba diving. The weather was perfect, the diving not so much. A few storms had been through the area and the normally crystal clear waters were murky with very poor visibility. There were strong currents, lots of surge and a lack of marine life. We had a great day anyway.
The following day I had to return the Spaceship back to the Space Station in Auckland. 81 days and 8,000 plus Kilometers later I can't say I was sad to see it go. It was definitely the way to see NZ and The Hoff (except for a few leaks) treated me well. I spent 54 nights sleeping in the Spaceship and that's a lot of crashing in your car! Thursday evening Mike and his wife Gaynor joined me for dinner in the city. We went down to Viaduct Harbour and had an amazing meal while watching the sunset over the bay. Good friends.
Friday, my last day in NZ, I met up with my friend Sarah who I had met in Fiji. She was one of the other "International Choir" members with me when we sang Amazing Grace at the village church in Waya Lai Lai. We went up to the SkyTower and had a fantastic day enjoying the various views and drinking coffee and tea at Auckland's highest cafe.
I had to rush back to my hotel to meet up with Lane, a friend from Ocean Beach, California who now lives in Auckland. He took me to his neighborhood and we had burgers for dinner (sure wasn't Hodad's) and then I was lucky enough to meet his family and new baby girl Brady. Great to see a familiar face and to enjoy a smile and for a moment be a part of his new life and NZ.
I had an early shuttle to the Airport and a hassle free journey to Melbourne, Australia. Travelin' Light, is the only way to fly. My friend Kevin wasn't quite so lucky getting snowed in in New York City for 2 days trying to catch his flight to come join me in Oz for 3 weeks. I posted up at the Hilton on the Park and roughed it for a few days waiting for him to get in.
I managed to explore the downtown area of the city a bit and met up with a friend Angela who I met in Fiji at the Sunrise Resort in the Yasawa's. She showed me around the cool cafes and we walked along the river front. She also gave me lots of great ideas on how to spend some time in this great city.
Kevin finally arrived and we met up with another friend Nic and his girlfriend Liz. They live here in the surrounding area and we know Nic from when he lived in the USA. Always great to have the locals show you their town and we had a very fun day and night in the CBD and then the St. Kilda section of the city. Restaurants, bars, a beautiful sunset and some city scenes to take in. Very cool.
We are going to head out down to Nic's house in a day or so - he has generously offered his house and his car as a home base for us to use while we go explore the Great Ocean Road. We'll then make our way up to Sydney at some point where more friends - Pete and Danny - friends from New Jersey - are meeting us. My friend Sarah and another friend Gemma and I are all trying to get together in Sydney also. Promises to be a friend filled adventure!
Hey old friend, it's been such a long time, since I saw your smiling face .....
All my love to all my friends - old, new and those I haven't met yet.