After 19 hours of flying and 6 hours of airport waiting, we finally made it to Auckland this morning.
As for the flight itself, my idea of putting Shea and me in Business Class and the kids in premium economy backfired when they found out that they were in a row with 3 seats not 2, the row was a bulkhead so they couldn't store their bags in front of them and they didn't have their own TVs (which fortunately they did after a bit of digging). Needless to say, there was less sleep and more kid calming than I had hoped we might experience.
We arrived at our hotel, The Sofitel, at 9:30 am and as expected, our rooms were not yet ready. Fortunately, the hotel had a great pool/jacuzzi which was a godsend as it allowed everyone to horse around for a bit and wash off a bit of the airplane "funk" we'd accumulated. The hotel couldn't be nicer and having two rooms was a blessing. We are staying in an area of town called Viaduct Harbor. It was created for the Americas Cup nearly 20 years ago and has become a pretty hip part of town. Definitely walkable to lots of restaurants and great views on to the water.
Once we got in our room, everyone changed and we headed out. First off, I would say that Auckland seems like a very cool city with a strong nautical vibe throughout. Probably the most notable attribute, however, is just how nice everyone has been. From the cashier at the sushi restaurant where we ate lunch to the folks at the barber shop where Yates got his "summer cut" to the guy who stopped his run to take our picture as we walked across the Viaduct Bridge to the staff at the SkyTower, everyone went out of their way to engage in a conversation and provide suggestions as to things to do.
Shutting it down now and will be back at it again tomorrow.