Fireworks and Caving and Mountain Biking, Oh My!

Wow, where should I begin? The past several days have been a whirlwind. On Saturday I was in Auckland and now I find myself in Rotorua, with four cities in-between. I’ve watched the most amazing choreographed fireworks show, gotten smacked around by intense waves, rappelled down a 50′ waterfall in an underground cave, learned about glow worms, mountain biked some incredible trails, and met a bunch of new people. It has been a fun week! Lack of time and internet access have made it difficult to update the blog but I hope to get you guys a post every couple of days.


In our last exciting episode I was staying with my Airbnb host Jody in Auckland in a really nice area called Herne Bay, with an incredible view of the Auckland bridge. Jody invited me to join her and a friend at an outdoor event where free movies are shown on the side of a big silo and food trucks make available any kind of fare you could want. The movie that night was Breakfast at Tiffany’s so I saw a few ladies dressed in homage to Ms. Hepburn. I met a friend of Jody’s, Diane, who invited me over for dinner on Saturday to meet a flatmate she was hosting from America. They were complete strangers but what did I have to lose?

I walked a couple miles to Diane’s place around 7:00 and had a nice (free!) dinner with her and Sidney, who is from New York and studying marine biology at Auckland University. After dinner we walked up to the Auckland Domain (park) to eavesdrop on an event that I’m not sure I can do justice in describing. Kicking off the Auckland Arts Festival was an outdoor show called The Breath of the Volcano. I should mention that many, maybe all, of the domains in Auckland are built atop dormant volcanoes. The Breath show capitalized on this by directing the fireworks at an angle from all sides to mimic a surging volcano. It was incredible and exceeded all of our expectations. We didn’t actually pay for the show because it was $28 per, so we stood outside the fence but still had a decent view. The volcano was beside a museum and images were projected on it to add effect. There were also men running around in glowing LED suits and fire cannons. I told you I couldn’t describe it. Afterwards I walked away thinking that $28 would have been well-spent to see the show from a proper perspective. Definitely the most creative and entertaining “fireworks show” I have ever seen.

Saturday evening I stayed at a hostel in downtown Auckland and woke up early Sunday to hop on the Stray backpackers bus to begin my tour of the north island. I think the Stray experience deserves its own post so when time and internet connectivity allow I will tell you all about it!

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3 thoughts on “Fireworks and Caving and Mountain Biking, Oh My!

  1. Uncle Bob says:

    Good to hear from you. Now your trip is “in my mind” what “backpacking across Australia” would be like. Again you’re proving your trip is not for an old man for sure. Your dad told me about the bus trip across New Zealand one day at a time and I think that is magic. Miss my bus? Who cares, grab one tomorrow. Use today up here in this yet to be discovered special place. WOW, your uncle is proud, jealous, envious and a couple of other things I can spell, of your trip. Everyone back home is cheering you on. Excuse us if we are a little greedy for information. We are, as you are, discovering as we go. take care, stay safe, uncle Bob

  2. klheavrin says:

    Fireworks looks amazing!

  3. David says:

    Talked with your mom the other night. She called to let us know that you were okay, and that we needed to be patient. It’s quite difficult to be patient when you are doing so many amazing things, and so many people are waiting to hear what they are, and experience them, vicariously, through your writings. BUT, this one really takes the cookie. What an incredible display!!! And (apparently) that was only a small part of the week’s fun. You have captured the hearts and imaginations of so many people here, and should be so very proud of what you have accomplished. You can’t help but come back a different man than you were when you left for Utah. I am very much looking forward to meeting that person when you finally get back here. Keep it coming when you have a chance, and I (for one) will try to remain patient. Take care, have fun, be safe. Love you Unc

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