New Zealand All Blacks Win the Rugby World Cup 2011!!

The All Blacks head to Eden Park to win the cup!

The night the country had been waiting for, a well-deserved victory for New Zealand rugby players and fans alike! I was fortunate to arrive at the hotel in time to see the team bus and the motorcade of motorcycles and security heading out to Eden Park.

The France supporters take refuge at the French restaurant on the corner!

A met up with friends at Glen’s apartment on K Rd and worked my way through throngs of rugby fans making their way to Eden Park for the final game of the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Fans making their way down K Rd towards Eden Park, flooding both sides of the street

I headed down Queen St and through Aotea Square, where the tiny band of Occupy Queen St protesters were stationed. The postered area seemed quiet, as I’m sure most of the activists were more interested in the rugby.

Occupy Queen St... after the Rugby

The entirety of lower Queen St was closed off in anticipation of the festivities. The New Zealand flag flew proudly between the buildings in Auckland’s CBD as hundreds of decorated and face-painted fans hooted and hollered in support of their team and their country!

New Zealand's Flag Reins over Queen St

The entire city felt like a massive all night party. I can’t imagine mardi gras being larger than an event like this! The excitement and unity of the people of this nation, the ex-patriots, the visitors and tourists is why I came to New Zealand during the world cup.

One huge party in the streets of Auckland!

The match was nerve-wrackingly close! It was anyone’s game until the whistle was blown. We all believed the All Blacks would win, but at this moment it was for certain. New Zealand beat France 8-7.

Joining the biggest party of my life!

We won we won we won!!! Go New Zealand!!!

Waking up to Auckland

A beautiful Auckland morning. I almost can’t believe I’m here. This is the third year in a row visiting the southern hemisphere. When I went to Australia and New Zealand for the first times I was told that I would never come back (to the states). Now I feel that both parts of the world are equally my home. I am thinking of all my friends in Australia, who I will most likely not get to see on this trip, and the cities I have woken up to in other travels. Spring time is here and frosty, chill mornings give way to blue skies and fresh sunlight bathes the countryside and our faces. After living almost five full months in Queenstown, it is strange to be in the big city in New Zealand, though I love the metropolitan feel of it.

Harbour Bridge

I am staying with Glen, my couch surfing host who lives off of Karangahape Rd (K Rd for short), just south of the Auckland CBD. Last night we went to a fun Zumba class at his gym, Club Physical; the instructor kept it lively and interesting with her choice of songs and a bit of freestyle. Afterwards we had some delightful Malaysian cuisine at Sri Pinang. The woman who took care of us was friendly and helped me choose the perfect dish. I had fish with vegetables in a strong chili sauce, full of flavor and just the right amount of spice, while Glen enjoyed the Nasi Lemak.