Tourbus, secret santa and Mary P
With one day left in Auckland with the whole group we had a 'free' day to amuse ourselves. It was just a relaxing day though we had secret santa in the afternoon so with a budget and our secret names we all went off exploring different parts of Auckland. Mum, Dad and Nan spent the day on the main high street of Auckland doing some shopping. Rob and Math had met up with Amanda and Elle the night before after a short separation so who knows what they were getting up too-I am sure just prepping poor Amanda and Elle for our meeting this evening! James, Jen G&C took their rental car up towards the Bay of Islands for a scenic drive and exploration.
After breakfast with Nan, M&D; Darren, Mel and I decided we would do the great tourist experience of the city bus tour. We did some shopping of our own on the way to the pick-up point and Mel treated us to a delicious smoothie. The smoothies took forever to be made and we saw the bus drive straight past us towards the stop. In a panic we grabbed our drinks and ran to the bus. Thinking we had made it with a few seconds to spare we showed the scary bus lady our tickets and got on. Within two seconds we were chucked off 'no open drinks allowed on the tour!' We attempted to down our drinks, which is pretty tricky when it comes to smoothies and we all ended up with terrible brain freeze! There were lots of places to see on the tour and it took us to all areas of Auckland. We chose a few nice spots to get off. First was a viewing point of Auckland with a water tower, great views over the water and some beautiful gardens. From the top we walked down to the nearby seaside town and to make up for the abandoned drinks we had delicious Mövenpick ice creams! Our next stop was the Auckland museum. We had planned to stop at a few more places but the museum is so good we took longer there than we had initial thought. In fact it was so good and we raved about it so much everyone else went at a later date. There were lots of interesting exhibitions about NZ, geography, natural history and amazing photographs from the national geographic photo competition. We only had time to stop at one more place so chose another viewing point and somewhere to burn a few Christmas calories; Mount Eden. The walk up was pretty steep but we were rewarded at the top with views all over the sprawling city. We got back into the CBD and I had a few more dollars to spend on my secret santa so after ordering food I dashed off to buy some goodies and then managed to get back just as my food arrived!
The Mansfield/Smith party had a date with Mary Poppins in the evening so we all met in the lobby to open our awesome presents before we headed out. Everyone did so well with mainly NZ themed presents. Chris was probably the happiest with his, a tin of corned beef 'and it's low in fat!'
Mary Poppins was excellent and we (mainly M,D and me) have been quoting from it ever since MP e.g. 'Practically perfect, in every waaayyyy'. We embarrassed Darren and James when we saw the Wipers heading our direction with a re-enactment of the 'step in time' routine, Jenny obviously joined in immediately! The Wipers had gone for pizza and then Darren, Mel and I tagged along for a few beers at the Irish bar-especially for Amanda!