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Photo/Video Gallery From New Zealand—Editor Julie Pendray Returns

Images from Auckland and the Bay of Plenty are coming your way in a series this week.

Kia Ora,

Readers may remember that about a month ago I left Sonoma Patch in the hands of Christian Kallen so that I could return to my homeland, New Zealand, for a family visit.

It's spring in New Zealand and it was so beautiful there that I couldn't help but take photos and video to share with all of you. I've visited the country every few years since coming to live in the United States 32 years ago. I usually visit Auckland, the country's largest city. This time, I also took in the coastal Bay of Plenty.

New Zealand's profound beauty is deeply etched in me and still amazes me each time I go. It's about the smell of the soil after the rain, plus the ethereal nature of the Maori songs—some of which recall long voyages across the Pacific centuries ago. It's about the changeable maritime weather—which blows fresh air into everyone's faces and can carry away your hat and "brollie"—and the subtropical rain that leaves everything so clean, green and wild. The song of the tui and bellbird from the trees, even in mid-city parks, is so sweet.

In today's photo gallery, you can see the visitors' entrance to the country at Auckland International Airport, as well as Manukau Harbor, the historic Pah Homestead and views of Monte Cecilia Park.

More images of Auckland will appear this week on Sonoma Valley Patch. Stay tuned to see spring lambs and calves in a favorite park—which is a working farm— plus photos from a few beaches and some shots from Auckland city waterfront and university.

These are my old "stomping grounds."

"Cheers," as they say Down Under. Oh, and see if you can guess the sounds people hear on arrival at the airport (in the video). Tell us in the comments.

Carlos Villatoro October 08, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Cool pics Julie! Welcome back!
Karina Ioffee October 08, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Welcome back, Julie. Can't wait to hear all about it.
Julie Pendray (Editor) October 08, 2012 at 04:31 PM
The Bay Area gave me quite a welcome back on Saturday. Coming over the Golden Gate Bridge, I saw the Bay absolutely filled with boats of all sizes. Then the Blue Angels flew over in formation, with a red, white & blue vapor trail. All of us on the bus to Sonoma County were enthralled. What a glorious day.
richard vandenbrul October 08, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Beautiful pictures. My father was in the US Navy during WWII and visited Auckland and New Zealand often. He served on a hospital ship the U.S.S. Solace. They brought the wounded Marines, Soldiers and Sailors to Auckland for treatment and rest. The local people were very welcoming and hospitable. He is 93 and still remembers New Zealand.
Keri Brenner (Editor) October 08, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Beautiful Julie! Welcome back!
Julie Pendray (Editor) October 08, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Thank you so much for your comment. That's nice to hear.

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