It's late afternoon, and we've finished seeing the incredible glow worms, stalactites and stalagmites in the Waitomo Caves in Raglan. We're now ready for an excursion to the Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua to learn about the customs, protocols, and stories, that have been passed down through the generations of the Maori people. This should be interesting!
We've completed the 5-hour flight from Melbourne to Auckland, and as soon as we are out of the airport, it's obvious that New Zealand is quite different than it's huge neighbor 5 hours away. This city is fairly good size, with a population of approximately 1.5 million. Nevertheless, we're about to find out that outside of Auckland, the North and South Islands are quite rural. Our first taste of the bucolic nature of this island-country will happen today, as we head by ferry to Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf to take in some rugged coastline vistas, and to hit a few well-known vineyards.