Each time we’ve traveled up North, it’s confirmed to us that good weather DOES exist in New Zealand…just not in Wellington. (It’s okay, we still love you, Welly!) Auckland and the surrounding areas called for rain, but it ended up turning into a spectacularly sunny weekend!

Dmitriy and I flew up to Auckland on Friday morning and spent the day wandering around the city. We strolled by the dock along the water, grabbed amazing brunch at Federal Delicatessen and stopped for some bubble tea. The weather did turn a bit shit for a little while, so we channeled our inner children and played some racing games at the arcade. We also saw a movie, but it was so horrendously bad that I’m embarrassed to tell you which one.

Auckland is a bit of a melting pot and has some great, diverse cuisine. We had delicious Korean BBQ and then headed to the Gin Room for amazing gin martinis. With an unbelievable gin list and extremely knowledgeable bartenders, this place is a must if you’re a gin drinker!

Our friends Hilary and Dave were traveling to NZ from the US, and while we weren’t able to take vacation and do a ton of traveling with them, we were able to meet them for a weekend. We met up and headed north to Bay of Islands. The drive is about three hours and, like most drives in NZ, is incredibly scenic. We stopped at the Matakana Farmer’s Market along the way for some coffee, fresh fruit and snacks. Along the way, we stumbled upon a sign for the Kawiti Glow Worm Caves, which we couldn’t ignore. Owned and run by a family, our tour was led by two cousins, who had grown up playing hide and seek within the cave. They explained about glow worms, shutting their torches off and allowing us to be awestruck by the glowing lights. This is one of the things we absolutely love about New Zealand: you can take a drive with no real plans and wind up stumbling upon something incredible.

We arrived in Paihia and spent some time at the beach, swimming and soaking up the sun. Our evening was spent enjoying wine and conversation on the deck of our rental.

On the drive back to Auckland the next day, we followed a road sign to the Whangarei Falls and were not disappointed. Though it was a little chilly for a swim, the views were stunning – the perfect end to a fabulous weekend with friends.

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