New Zealand: Auckland

New Zealand is the birthplace of adventure tourism. Specifically, Queenstown is home to the world’s first commercial bungee jump, Rotorua invented Zorbing, and Auckland is home to SkyCity. As our days in this adrenaline-fueled country came to an end, we had one last day of crazy adventure seeking left before relaxing in wine country to polish off the trip.

Before departing Rotorua, Sean somehow convinced me to stop at OGO Rotorua. OGO is the original Zorb and in 2006 they sold the rights to a different company but continued operating under the new name. It’s confusing but worth mentioning because sometimes people know what Zorbing is, no one knows what OGO is, and many people don’t know what on earth I’m talking about. It’s ok.

So what exactly is OGO/Zorbing? Well, it’s difficult to explain. You basically roll down a hill in a large transparent plastic orb with a little bit of water and get very disoriented and may end up punching your spouse in the face. Sounds…fun? It actually was a total blast and I completely destroyed Sean when we went separately and raced.

From Rotorua we drove up to Auckland. After ditching the car at the airport we went to our hotel for a little bit of downtime before jumping off the tallest building in New Zealand.

If you know me, you’ll know I’m pretty terrified of heights. I have a huge issue with those glass floor experiences because every time I really feel like I’m stepping into thin air. This time, I would willingly(ish) literally step into thin air and free fall 630 feet (192 meters). And this was my idea.

Unlike when we were repelling, I was unable to mask my terror as I prepped for this jump. However, we did look awesome in our 90’s superhero flight suits.

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It was pretty incredible if I do say so myself. I’m not ready to go skydiving anytime soon, but the adrenaline rush was pretty addictive. With the jump, you get free access to the observation deck, so we went back up while we waited for our dinner reservation.

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If you are in Auckland, you must eat at Depot Eatery. After living in Annapolis for 2.5 years, we developed a taste for seafood. Then we moved to the landlocked Tajikistan and have been craving seafood ever since. We’d been eating our fair share throughout this trip, but Depot has the best mussels I’ve ever tasted.

Also.

I’ll say this slowly so it can really sink in.

Wine. On. Tap.

Yes, really.

Totally worth waiting an hour for a table.

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Travel Notes:

  • Where We Stayed: Ramada, Auckland (the one on Federal Street) – great location! So much within walking distance.
  • Where We Ate: Depot Eatery, Auckland; Auckland Seafood School, Auckland – I have a major bone to pick with the Auckland Seafood School. The reason they didn’t get the same treatment at Depot Eatery above is because we got in a fight with the staff. We ordered the seafood sampler platter which was amazing but apparently they put peanuts on the calamari and I’m highly allergic to them. It was frustrating to me that they didn’t list a MAJOR ALLERGEN on the list of ingredients, because who puts peanuts on seafood?! The staff was also not very responsive to my concerns and the manager only came over to check on me when we insisted to speak with him. Not exactly stellar service.
  • OGO Rotorua – this is the original Zorbing company and has been a certified adventure operator since the register began in November 2014. There have been reports of other companies being investigated by authorities, but none involving OGO Rotorua.
  • SkyJump/SkyWalk – for the lesser thrill-seekers, you can also walk around the outside of the Sky Tower. Don’t fear you’ll be fully teatherd to the building with no chance of falling off.
  • SkyCity Auckland
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