After enjoying more hotel breakfast, we climbed onto a bus heading to Auckland Zoo for a day of animalia – despite the rainy forecast.
We wasted no time once entering the zoo – we made a bee line for the Kiwi habitat to get a glimpse of the native bird. I think we were really lucky because we saw not one, but TWO kiwis in the habitat! And one was running around along the glass like crazy! Kiwis are not only nocturnal, they are endangered, so seeing one in the wild is extremely rare. Some people think they are a bit silly, which they are, but I think those almost-hairy, chicken-like, flightless cuties are precious. It’s pretty special that the fam got to see the official bird of New Zealand!
After checking off “kiwi sighting” from everyone’s New Zealand bucket list, we headed towards the Africa habitat, which was really beautiful.
The walkway is built above the field, so you are able to look down upon the giraffes, zebra, and ostriches as they roam around their prideland. David has always held a grudge against me since I got to feed a giraffe once, but he decided to continue exploring rather than waiting in the huge queue with a bunch of toddlers 😉
We saw a lot of other African animals, like lions, tigers, and cheetahs, but we also saw less vicious ones, like flamingos! I have a soft spot for these guess since they are so naturally spunky and good at balancing. They would make great yoga buddies.
My Aunt Paula told me that I had better see some Kangaroos, and though I think she was confusing New Zealand with Australia, I made sure to go in the Aussie Walkabout section of the zoo. I let David take most of the good photos since he had that really nice camera, but I did get this shot of a bright blue bird we befriended. Seriously, we were talking to him! He was gabbering on about something, and other birds were reciprocating our “hello”s. It was really cool! Plus, they were squawking so loudly that it hurt my ears!
But the birds weren’t the only ones making a racket! We saw some seriously territorial monkeys screeching and yelling so loudly. Apparently you can hear them from a kilometer away! The amazing thing is that their throats expand like a bubble to make louder sounds, and we got up-close and personal with the thing. It actually started to make me anxious, it was so powerful! But we saw cute moneys, too, lots of adorable little babies! Plus we saw little spider monkeys playing in their natural playground, and huge orangutangs snuggling under blankets. The oldest resident at the zoo is a chimpanzee who was born in the ’50s! I could tell by watching her spoon out food from a jar that she was very wise 😉
Another famous resident of the zoo was their one and only elephant. We saw them taking her for a walk around the grounds. Isn’t that crazy???? But not only elephants walk around the grounds, plenty of chickens, roosters, and pukekos run around the grounds. It felt like a farm-meets-zoo! Though we got rained on for a good part of the day (there was a perfect storm mid-day: a huge downpour right a lunchtime. It was like a zoo in the cafeteria, and only by some miracle were we able to get a table!) our trip to the zoo was superb. Not only did we get to see so many different animals, and see them doing so many interesting things, but we got to interact with them, too!
After a stop in the gift shop, we took the bus home and said bye to Hannah for the day. We rested for a bit in the hotel while watching Avatar, which I had never seen, and actually reminded me a lot of New Zealand! We also broke into one of the fruit liquors we had bought in Coromandel. We made feijoa wine spritzers. YUMMY!
We had planned on hiking Mount Eden for the views and the sacred, symmetrical crater, but we scrapped that idea due to the rain (and some sleepy family members). We mostly wanted to hike Mount Eden for it’s proximity to Galbraiths’ Alehouse, a microbrewery that David had found online and had caught my eye many times while passing it. So we took a cab there anyway.
One of my dreams came true at Galbraiths, I got a tasting tray!!!
I loved getting to taste them all, and my favorites were a really malty bitter and organic pilsner. I ordered the pilsner with my dinner since its a bit lighter in the belly and I’m afraid my beer belly is growing! They had a good-sounding menu, and I was amazed to see tofu as an appetizer! I knew right away that I would hardly ever find tofu in a pub again, so of course I ordered it.
The sesame-soy tofu was great with tempura veggies on top. The family seemed to enjoy their meals, too. My Dad even said their fries were among the top-10 best ever in his life! And that’s saying something! The service was great and we loved the no-frills yet quality atmosphere. It was a really fun night! Everyone was happy, including me!
After dinner, we took a cab home and stopped into the convenice store for some Cookie Time cookies. The original flavor boasts “New Zealand’s favorite cookie” and I happen to love them warmed up!
We got one of each flavor: white chocolate, triple chocolate, original chocolate chunk, and oat apricot. Mom prepared the cookies by nuking them in the microwave and cutting them into 5 even pieces.
She’s gotten good at that over the years. David hadn’t complained enough today due to the awesome zoo and alehouse, lol, so he complained about the cookies but everyone else loved them. I was in heaven with my hot Cookie Time cookie slices while watching Happy Go Lucky on TV, one of my favorite movies about a quirky British primary school teacher learning to drive.
I insisted on walking home, but since my Mom and Dad love me to a seriosuly-protective state, they forced me into a cab. It feels good to be loved so much! Also, it was Father’s Day here in New Zealand and though we didn’t do anything all that special just for him, I think my Dad has some pretty seriously unforgettable memories of Father’s Day 2011 🙂 ❤ Thank you for everything, Daddy! I LOVE YOU!!!!