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Home : New Zealand 2003 : Kia Ora!

December 04, 2003

Kia Ora!

Our flight from Los Angeles to Auckland wasn’t too bad considering we were in coach class. Air New Zealand is promoting itself as the “airline to Middle Earth” and references to the Lord of the Rings were everywhere: LotR logos on the backs of the seats, the front cover photo and four or five articles on the movie in their in-flight magazine, etc. Peter Jackson must have single-handedly boosted New Zealand’s tourism profits into the stratosphere.

So, we are here in the largest city in Middle Earth, Auckland, since yesterday. We pick up a car this morning and will be driving north to the Bay of Islands. Auckland city is nice enough, though somewhat expensive. We made the mistake of buying the hype about Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Adventure, a small aquarium, a recreation of Captain Scott’s 1910 antarctic exporers’ hut and a penguin exhibit. Like some Disney World ride you board a fishy-smelling “snow cat” and ride through the penguin colony on a metal track. We did get to see several cute penguin chicks, at least.

Next, you ride a moving walkway which loops around a smallish sea water aquarium through a plexiglas tube, nurse sharks, fish and rays swimming around and over you. It might be fun for small children, but not for anyone who has ever been to a decent aquarium. We are planning on a SCUBA diving trip in a day or two and I’m really hoping that it will wipe the Kelly Tarlton experience from my memory!

Posted by Scott at December 4, 2003 02:57 PM
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