Today was our last day in New Zealand and it's time to return home. We had a most un-photographic morning, going down into one of the Glow Worm caves to do a walk around and then a boat ride. The boat ride showed us thousands of worms on the cave roof and was amazing.
From there we drove through to a Kiwi wildlife park, where we managed to watch a couple of Kiwi in dark enclosures - one of which came very close to the glass.
After lunch of a shared pie from a van outside the Kiwi wildlife park, we drove north towards Auckland Airport. We stopped in Pirongia for a cuppa and then we did a Kauri loop walk (just north of Hamilton) of about 3km which involved far more steps up than we were expecting. We did see a large Kauri tree and I remembered at the Kauri grove that I'd brought a fisheye lens with me and not used it - I pointed it straight up in the Kauri grove and the result is in the main blip.
On the way back down after the walk we noticed a stick insect on the path, which we put back on a leaf (extra). We've since learned that there are many native stick insects in New Zealand - we didn't know that before! It was about three inches long.
We drove through a Pizza Hut near Auckland Botanical Gardens, ordered a takeaway pizza and the ate it in the gardens car park because it was soon closing. After that, it was time to drive to the airport and give up the car.
This was easier said than done - there were lots of roadworks around the airport and a distinct lack of signs for where to drop the car off. We ended up missing the place entirely as we approached the airport from the south - we turned around and the signs from the north were much better - still took a while to work out where to go.
The car drop of was at the domestic terminal, so we then followed a green line for 10 mins or so to the international terminal. After the queue for Honolulu had dispersed, we checked in and proceeded through security.
We're now sat in the departure lounge, waiting for the flight to Singapore which is due to take off at 01:15am tomorrow. This flight appears to be running, despite it being listed on a random document on the Singapore Airlines website as cancelled. The tannoy announcements on washing your hands and standing one metre apart in queues had the feel of a dystopian movie - definitely odd!
We didn't want to leave the country this time - we're usually done in after three weeks of constant holiday and just want to get home. This time, with the virus and all, we feel safer here that we will at home. We have tickets to get the train up to Leeds, but our new plan A is to avoid central London, stay in a hotel at the airport and then fly up north on Sunday morning. We'll see how it goes, we have options.
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