Tues. 2_20...Wed. 2_21...Thurs. 2_22...Wow...Travel start to finish was 40 hours...  We had a busy first few days!

Bob & I met Anna Marie and Frank at the Perkins parking lot on Watt Rd at 9:15 am on February 20th...(Not sure what to label this page since we left US on the 20th and arrived on the 22nd...)     We arrived at the Nashville airport in 2 1/2 hours.  Poor Bob & Poor Frank walked in with us to make sure Anna Marie's bag would past muster...and it did!  As our flight didn't leave until later we had lots of time to browse around the BNA terminal.  Thankfully, our flight to LA was uneventful... however when we picked up the luggage to transfer it to Air New Zealand...Pat's nylon duffel containing her backpack had been ripped in several places.  The packing tape offered by the counter agent didn't do a very good job...however it was just enough to keep everything together.   (I repaired it with my trusty duct tape upon arrival in NZ)  After wandering around the LAX terminal.. Anna Marie finally decided upon a salad with lots of veggies...I opted for a Whopper Jr. (but no fries... starting my diet slowly...)  Boarded our 12 hour flight right on time at 8:15 .  Our dinner was a delicious chicken and vegetable creation with free wine and/or champagne.  Although the movie choices were many, I decided to finish my book... But I did sleep from 9 pm to 4am when breakfast was served...(with champagne again)  Anna Marie slept most of the flight.  Our breakfast was just as good as the dinner...This was the best airline food I have ever eaten. 

Arrived in Auckland on time at 6:45 am. Thursday February 22nd.     AM & I waited for the plane to empty so that we could go upstairs for a peek at how the other half flies.   The pilot was just leaving and invited us to sit in the cockpit and even took our picture...AM warned me not to touch anything!  Customs seemed to take a very long time...I am glad I didn't keep the bus reservations that I had originally scheduled...as we would never have made the connection.  We ran late from here forward...missing the airport bus to the terminal and also the shuttle to Waitomo. We made good use of our free time and wandered around Otorotonga and went to the grocery...which was a Woolworths.   It is true that all is well that ends well and we finally made the right connections and were settled in our rooms at the Kiwi Paka YHA in Waitomo by 6pm. 

We grabbed a quick bite to eat and hiked up the road to make the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves 8pm tour.   We were told that the night tour was supposedly the best and we weren't disappointed.  Our tour guide was a Maori woman who was entertaining and quite knowledgeable and the dark of the night made everything seem more spectacular.  We visited for awhile with a friendly Canadian Mom & daughter duo who gave  us a ride back to the hostel after the tour. 

We cooked hard boiled eggs and planned our for our next couple of days on the Queen Charlotte Track.