Our group of 8 flew non-stop from Houston to Auckland and the timing was perfect. Although we lost a day crossing the International Date Line; we had enough time to eat dinner, sleep for at least 8 hours and enjoy a quick breakfast. We all opted for NZ Air's new "Skycouch". You purchase 3 economy seats with footrests that come up completely so you can "lie flat" on a quilted mattress and be protected by a special seat belt. You can share the Skycouch to save money but this "poor man's business class" is a bit cozy for two.
We flew immediately to Queenstown on the South Island and ate lunch at Steamer's Wharf.
NZ has perfected jet boats that maneuver in water as shallow as 4 inches, spin 360 degrees and take tourists at exciting speeds through narrow gorges on the Shotover River. We loved it!
After all that excitement, we were ready to take the Skyline gondola up Bob's Peak (ascending 1476 feet in 2400 feet - steepest gondola in the southern hemisphere) to enjoy a drink and a panoramic view of Queenstown.
Too tired to eat out but wanting some serious lamb, we brought home generous platters from "Pedro's House of Lamb."