The flight from Siem Reap to Seoul was a relatively short 6 hours and we arrived at Incheon Airport at 5:30am. Unfortunately, my connecting flight to Auckland wasn’t scheduled to leave until 7:30pm, leaving me with 14 hours to kill in Seoul. Since I had seen the city of Seoul before and the current temperature was somewhere in the low 20’s, I elected to spend the day in the Korean Airlines Lounge catching up on some work and updating the website from Cambodia. It was a productive day and before I knew it, it was time to board the 11-hour flight to Auckland.
I hadn’t originally planned a stop in New Zealand on this trip. However, I was determined to get to Tahiti and when I couldn’t get the inbound flight through my Skyteam RTW ticket; I had to look at other options. A quick search of the Air Tahiti Nui website revealed that a one-way ticket from Auckland to Papeete, Tahiti could be had for around $300. I was able to get a flight into Auckland through Skyteam and then a flight out of Papeete so I decided to spend one day in Auckland and booked my own ticket to get to Tahiti. Not a bad deal actually, since I loved New Zealand on my first trip a few years back.
When we landed in Auckland and the customs agent flirted with me with that cute little kiwi accent, I knew I had made the right decision to come back to NZ. And he was actually cute – a nice change of pace from the first few weeks of this trip. Honestly, it was just nice to be back in a country where English is the native language. After 3 weeks in Southeast Asia, I was ready to lose the language barrier and, especially, to eat western food again! I was craving a burger.
My hotel, the Westin on Lighter Quay, was beautiful and had great panoramic views of the city. It was a picture-perfect Sunday afternoon in Auckland, mid-70’s and not a cloud in the sky, and it seemed like the whole city was out on the harbor front enjoying the day. I decided to take a run first since I’d been severely slacking off in that department due to adverse weather conditions (i.e. it was super hot).
Later, I spent the afternoon walking around the city enjoying the weather and then had a terrific dinner of New Zealand green-lipped mussels on the waterfront (not exactly a burger, but when in Rome). I was so happy to be back in the land of my favorite wines…New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs! It had been weeks since I’d had a good glass of wine so, of course, that was top priority. I even bought a bottle to take with me to Tahiti figuring wine would be expensive over there (little did I know just how prophetic that thought would be).
All in all, the perfect way to spend one day in Auckland and a great stop-over on the way to paradise.
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