We had good tail winds, and arrived in Auckland at 4:30 this morning, about 35 mionutes ahead of schedule. to my surprise, we did not have to clear customs here -- the baggage went straight through to Christchurch, where it was no problem retrieivng luggage and getting through the formalities since our 737 was only about half full.
New Zealand is very strict about "biosecurity" and explicitly requires that you declare whether you have any hiking boots or other athletic footwear. In anticipation of a possible inspection of my cycling shoes, I was in the lavatory washing my shoes of all dirt at 3 in the morning. I was asked whether they were clean, but they took my word for it and did not actually inspect them.
New Zealand appears very cylcist friendly. I saw lots of cyclists on the way in from the airport, and they are all over the central city. All riding on the left hand side of the road, as the cars do. That will take some getting used to. My hotel offers free use of fat tire bikes to all registered guests. Since I am only here for the one day, I will probably not take advantage of this. Instead, I have been wandering around taking pictures -- the day is absolutely gorgeous, with bright sun and temperatures in the mid-seventies (I would guess.)
Tomorrow I ride to Picton in the Pedal Tours van and then we start our tour. We will be on the west side of the South Island which has had a lot of rain the last few days. I hope that it has spent itself and that the weather will improve for us.
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