This was our first activity in a three-week visit to NZ, booked in part to keep us awake after a long flight from Toronto via Vancouver until our hotel room was ready. What an introduction to the country. From David, we got geology, history, flora, fauna, Maori culture, architecture, a splendid walk through the CBD, Albert Park and the University of Auckland grounds. Without him, we'd never have known to wander through the lobby area of the Vero Centre. So much of what he told us reappeared in more detail over the subsequent three weeks as we made our way down through Rotorura, Tongariro, and the west coast of the South Island. He pointed out the pohutukawa tree, New Zealand's "Christmas tree" whose red flowers bloom in mid-December. They were pretty well done for the season in Auckland, but still in profusion in Wellington. Knowing things like that to look for made the trip so much more enjoyable. He also recommended a terrific restaurant -- Vivace. We ate there twice.
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