My friend Christina Walker is a TV writer and all-around cool chick. She came to New Zealand recently and I begged her to do some guest-posting on Stumbling Through Kiwiland.

Here’s her first installment!

DAY 1:
I arrived in the early Kiwi hours of the day. Got my luggage, directions on what bus to take, and an idea where my hostel was located.
Off I went. The first thing I noticed was everyone driving on the wrong side of the road…I had arrived.
I got off the bus and started to trek with my luggage down one way only to find the numbers getting smaller, so I decided to turn around and trek back up the hill I had just climbed.
After about 15-20 minutes of walking I made it to my destination, or was at least close. I had to be.
I saw a building with a bunch of young people walking in and out and guessed that this must be where I was headed.
I walked in with my confirmation asking if I was in the right place.

A woman named Lynn helped me. Explaining and then showing me on google maps the loaction I was looking for. (I had been close but had needed to turn once getting off the bus.) Seeing my face and bags Lynn offered me a ride to my hostel. I was exhausted and not sure I’d make it on foot, so I gladly accepted. While driving down many of the one way streets I found out that she was from Croatia, where my own past relatives are from and some still live there. It truly is a small world. As she dropped
me off in front of the small, easy to miss sign, of my hostel; I thanked her profusely. This was my first taste of Kiwi-kindness.
My hostel was perfect – right off Queens Rd and very much close enough to the thick of things. While in the city, another moment of Kiwi-kindness was meeting John and Ben – two guys working at REVEL, the coffee joint next door that was more restaurant than café. I was convinced to make the time change over in 1 day so the guys and I soon bonded after a few visits and chats. (I highly recommend doing this as often as possible.)
That night I was lucky enough to have drinks with my buddy Steve and Steve #2 who is a part of the NZ Writers Guild, his girlfriend who’s also a producer, and another producer/writer named Kathryn.
The spots to hit in Auckland: A Marae (a kiwi meeting house), Auckland Museum, Auckland Zoo, Mt. Eden, One Tree Hill, and Bastion Point. I lucked into doing a tour with Toru Tours where I met Paul who showed me around to all these sights. I also happened to be the ONLY one on the tour so it wound up being a private tour.

DAY 2:
My next day was spent wine tasting. I paid for a tour in the Kumeu region which is west of central Auckland, and with it raining I winded up having an additional private tour. We started out in Nobilo which is one of the older and larger vineyards in the region. Settled originally by Croatians. (who knew?) Anyway, they had several different labels to try, which included Kim Crawford – I HIGHLY recommend his whites. (Kim Crawford does NOT have his own tasting room and instead sells his wine to others. You can also purchase his wine in the states and it’s just as delicious.) Next
we went to West Brook Winery. And then found our way to Matua, which was also a delicious variety of both reds and whites. I was surprised to see dozens of sheep grazing amongst the vines, but found out later that this is a normal occurrence and that the sheep are natural pruners for the wineries.

The next stop was a small little boutique vineyard where the grower ONLY produces Cabernet Franc and Merlot blends called Twin Totara. Now I’m a red lover, but not a huge fan of either of these varietals yet somehow they worked together. (Not only was this wine tasty, but was also an amazingly affordable price.) I couldn’t help but add another bottle to my bag. The last stop was a nice little spot called, but I’m honestly blanking on the name. I will admit while they still had good ones nothing really blew
my socks off.
After all this drinking I went back to my hostel with my 6 bottles and proceeded to pass out.

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