Subject: Re: Flying to New Zealand
Hi Carrie,

What a fantastic trip you have planned. On our visit to New Zealand we flew Air New Zealand and were satisfied with the service. Nothing extraordinary but efficient and friendly. On the plus side the plane was only about 2/3rds full which made it much more comfortable than the return flight on United which was packed.

The trip of which I'm referring was actually to Australia but we took a 4 day layover in Auckland. Despite some suggestions to the contrary we found the city to be charming and enjoyable; reminiscent of both my hometown of San Diego, as well as, Seattle. The hilly terrain overlooking a beautiful harbor with islands scattered to the horizon and not too far to the west the beaches fronting the Tasman Sea evoked the best views from the aforementioned U.S.cities.

The neighborhoods of Parnell and Ponsonby both deserve exploring for shopping and dining. Definitely get out into the harbor. This is a nation with strong attachments to the sea and it is quite evident on the weekends when the harbor and the Gulf of Harukai are filled with sailboats. Auckland Museum in The Domain would be the one place to definitely visit with such limited time.

We stayed at the City Garden Lodge which is a hostel located in the former embassy of the Queen of Tonga. Nicely located one block off the Parnell shopping district. We had one of several private rooms which shared a bath.

For dining I highly recommend Pluson in Ponsonby and Cibo in Parnell.

We used a shuttle to and from the airport which took about a half hour. This link should be helpful:

Have a great trip. John in San Diego