By Ben |

Sun, June 30

First thing Sunday morning, we packed up to leave the hotel and could not find my hiking boots anywhere. Since we both remembered the joke she made while unpacking them, it's a mystery... I guess they were made for walking!

We took a car with our luggage for breakfast at the home of my college friend Jonathan Shearer, who lives with his wife Stacey and two sons in a neighborhood near the airport that he described as one of the two worst neighborhoods in NZ — by way of pointing out how high NZ standards are! The two of them are elementary science teachers, and their kids are attending a Māori immersion school that has them all quite fluent in the language. They have planted many edible and native trees around the place.

Jonathan dropped us at the airport. Our flight back to Sydney was uneventful. I got a SIM for the week so I wouldn't have to keep relying on wi-fi. While I did that, Jessie was able to change our reservation with Hertz to the airport location, though we had to upgrade to a larger car and pay a bit more. The rental agent apologized that it was “quite a large SUV” — but clearly Aussies have different definitions, since it was hardly larger than our Nissan Leaf at home.

We had some trouble finding the Southern Cross Hotel, which is on a very busy intersection where both roads are divided, so you can only approach from one direction. The room we got faced away from the street and had no exterior window, which was quieter than being on the street but also gave no clue as to day or night! We had dinner in the pub that the restaurant is known for and went right to bed, since we'd just gained two hours and it felt very late.