Oz and The Land of Kiwis

Oz and The Land of Kiwis

I’m running out of creative ideas for these blog posts, y’all.

So for our last full day in Melbourne, we were taken around the city by a business associate of Derrick’s who wanted to give us a grand tour. We did a lot of walking (I think upwards of 8 or 9 miles?), but we saw so much of the city, and I’m sure we saw more than we would have if we had been on our own. We got to do a little souvenir shopping while in the CBD of Melbourne. Around lunchtime, we took the tram down to St. Kilda Beach, which is where the locals go when they want to get out of the city and get to the water. It’s an interesting little area and we actually had a warmer, sunny day than our first day in the city, so it was perfect weather for strolling around. Our very helpful tour guide left us around 4 after we got back up into the city.

Melbourne Cricket Grounds
Melbourne Cricket Grounds

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I decided we needed an afternoon snack so we got macarons from a place called La Belle Miette, which makes Conde Nast’s list of “The Most Delicious Macarons in the World.” Not being a self-proclaimed connoisseur of macarons, I may not have appreciated them to the full extent of their deliciousness, but they were quite tasty. For dinner we went to Rare Steakhouse where we treated ourselves to some very delicious steaks.

Our flight to Auckland the next day was around 11:30 am, so we really didn’t have much time before we had to head to the airport, although we did manage to grab another yummy breakfast at the cafe next to the hotel (Detour…I forgot to mention my breakfast from Tuesday morning which was toast, scrambled eggs, and pancetta. Where has pancetta been all my life? Oh my goodness. I mean, I love bacon, and I know pancetta is a lot like bacon, but I don’t know, the world seemed a little brighter with pancetta in my life…I exaggerate of course, but seriously, I think I need to start making eggs and pancetta on the weekends on a regular basis).

So we did the whole airport thing. Australia is really neat in that, you go through customs/filling out passenger cards, etc when you leave the country too. So that was a lot of forms, standing in lines, etc. I have to say though, it was nice to leave my shoes on to go through security. Something awesome happened while we were in the Melbourne airport: we bought Tim Tams (I guess a lot of this post is just going to be about food). Derrick had had them and told me we needed to buy some. I didn’t really know what they were but bought some anyway. It wasn’t until later that night at our hotel in Auckland that I tried them. But wow, they are delicious. They are these chocolate covered, chocolate filled cookie things. I don’t really know how else to describe them but I love them. I love them so much that on our last day in Auckland, we went to a grocery store and bought several packs of Tim Tams to bring home with us:

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Anyway, that was about the highlight of the airport and flight (although I did also buy Chicken flavored potato chips which tasted pretty much like eating baked chicken) to Auckland. The plane was nice; we actually had air conditioning the whole time…did I mention earlier that on my flight over there I had no AC for most of the flight and was burning up the whole time? We landed in Auckland in the early evening. This guy on loan from Middle Earth greeted us at the airport:

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And then we went through the whole customs rigmarole and then picked up our rental car. That Derrick drove the whole time we were there because I was maybe a little bit afraid of having to figure out how to drive on the opposite side of the street. Derrick was a little shaky at first, but thankfully we had a lot of highway driving to start for him to get used to it. By the time we hit surface streets, he was already handling it like a pro. We got to our hotel, the Skycity Grand Hotel which is part of this whole Skycity complex thing: conference center, casino, and another hotel, Skycity (not grand) Hotel. The hotel was pretty nice and had a convenient location. We had a harbour view room, which was a nice change from the dirty-rooftop and brick wall view we had in Melbourne. There were a lot of important people from the UN there the same time as us; we saw a lot of extra security guys with earpieces wandering around, keeping an eye on things, so that made it a little more interesting.

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For dinner that night, we went to a place called The Depot which is kind of like a tapas place. We order a New Zealand meat platter that was kind of like an antipasto/cold cuts type deal but it had boar salami, really thin shaved pork something or other, really thin-shaved, very red beef something-or-other, and rabbit rillettes (which I didn’t know what it was at the time, but now I’ve googled it and it sounds kind of gross to me, but I ate it and it was surprisingly delicious) served with crostini. Very yummy. That was followed with lamb ribs and cheesy potato skins and then a Mediterranean-flavored chicken and cous cous dish. It was all very delicious, but the meat platter might have been one of my favorite dishes of the whole trip.

So now we’ve made it up through more than half my time in NZ. For those of you who are incredibly bored by my ramblings about our adventures, culinary or otherwise, I apologize. Only a few more posts should get us through the whole vacation 🙂 Stay tuned for the next post: My trip to Hobbiton!

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