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And so to New Zealand ...

...two days in Auckland

I flew from Sydney to Auckland on Saturday 1st February and took the Airport Express to the centre of the city arriving at the YHA Central around 12am. The only misadventure en route was as we were about to disembark the plane. You know how they always give out those announcements about being careful when you open the overhead lockers because things might have moved during the flight? And you always think, yeah, yeah. Well, as one of the lockers was opened two bottles of duty free alcohol fell out and smashed onto the head of one of the passengers. He was groaning, blood was pouring down the side of his face and we all had to sit back down so that a first aider could get to him. Fortunately it was his own duty free, ergo his own mis-packing of the locker, but it was a salutary lesson for everybody aboard.
Despite the lateness of my arrival the bus was fine and it cost NZ$16 for a 40 minute trip into the city. The YHA Central is not as well located as most I have stayed at and it was in a noisy location but apart from that it was clean and comfortable and the other guests were very friendly.
On Sunday I did a 30 minute walk to Mount Eden and although it was hot and, obviously, uphill it was well worth it for the views. 36EB58262219AC6817149BC0E7B72D05.jpg36EC2DC42219AC6817E216FF748FE500.jpg36ECE9452219AC681743678B27B97463.jpg36EE043F2219AC6817974E37734FF43D.jpg I took a different route back down to the city and it took me through 'The Domain' (the main public park for the city) where several groups were enjoying Sunday morning cricket games and where I came across a bandstand where jazz was being played and lots of families were out with their picnics. 37720D532219AC681751E169B7AD6C3B.jpg3774E7992219AC6817BA5796DD563DCA.jpg There is a really lovely Wintergarden in The Domain 3774257C2219AC6817776F940CFDE181.jpg377337832219AC6817977F770F4CD43A.jpg and the Auckland museum is also located there. I did not visit the museum but headed on into the city past the Old Government house with it's beautiful clocktower and which is now part of the University campus. 3775C2412219AC68176BFD2E61F23DF3.jpg377796D62219AC6817D27F867DB09E79.jpg
I ended up at Auckland waterfront and took the ferry to Devonport, home to the Royal New Zealand Navy, and an historic part of the city. The ferry costs NZ$12 for a round trip and is an excellent way to see the city from the water. 3778EE6B2219AC68177906C537FBACE5.jpg377D1E552219AC681768FC7F9B6CF7D7.jpg The view as you approach Devonport is lovely and when you arrive there is a horse and carriage taxi waiting for anyone wanting to see the town in a leisurely way. 377FBC622219AC681712D89AC5537D27.jpg Devonport is lovely with a short high street featuring lots of food outlets and gift shops, some beautiful (and clearly expensive) homes and a long promenade with the Navy Museum at the end of it. 3780EF792219AC68177427DB4D45FF3C.jpg39AD3EB32219AC6817D278DFF5F0FED6.jpg
On Monday I walked to Parnell, another historic, and very pretty, part of the city that is well worth a visit. 3817F88A2219AC681767B83F5B64D16B.jpg3817297F2219AC6817E9BD9DDDDB003A.jpg38164BE02219AC6817112EF5D69BCF32.jpg38152DF32219AC6817DD971A14370AEF.jpg I saw a charming little house to rent 3818F1332219AC6817F481BD476663DF.jpg and another that would be good 'dooer upper' 381A3D562219AC6817D371D684C7C6DB.jpg but I'm sure the prices on both would be quite hefty. The Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral in Parnell is amazing 381B09072219AC68171E073DACFBA10C.jpg381C39B82219AC6817EB4739BE48366A.jpg and the tiny St Mary's, located right next door to it, was built in 1886 and is regarded as 'one of the finest wooden gothic buildings in the world'. 381D546B2219AC681729D69513974986.jpg381E57352219AC6817B1C28DB6D6065E.jpg
Heading back into the main part of the city takes you past the Parnell Rose Gardens, where unfortunately the roses were already dying, and through a small park to the lovely Judges Bay 381F5E472219AC681790872328EEAF23.jpgFrom there it is a half hour walk back to the harbour where there is the Downtown shopping mall and many bars, restaurants and high end shops. 3820576B2219AC68172B62413631F4B4.jpg The Sky Tower, which dominates the skyline wherever you are in the city, is 'the tallest building in the southern hemisphere' and there is a viewing platform and revolving restaurant at the top. You can walk around the top, 192 metres up and harnessed only to a rail above you for the price of NZ$145 and you can throw yourself off, on a base jump by wire for NZ$225. NZ$290 will buy you both activities. Since I plan to do a tandem skydive in Queenstown I gave this one a miss.
I discovered a great little 'English' pub, The Albion, 3821429E2219AC6817914CAA0A8E485A.jpg just aross the road from the Skytower and had a quick drink and a long chat to the two very English ladies working behind the bar then set off for the art gallery. This is more impressive outside than it inside. Although there are a couple of nice galleries in architectural terms, nothing in the choice of artworks had the 'wow' factor for me and I have met a few other people, both old and young, who feel the same way. I'm not really sure who the curator is trying to appeal to with his/her choices here. 38221FA22219AC68172638FBC95EA428.jpg3822FA272219AC68173F821109F98662.jpg
Auckland has been interesting but I will be glad to get out of a city. Next stop is the Bay of Islands, sailing and Waitangi Day. Can't wait ?!

Posted by busyboots 23:05

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Lovely pictures, bringing your trip alive! x

by suelloyd

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