Exploring Auckland

Friday morning we headed over to the city via the regular ferry service that goes from our marina. We enjoyed the short 12 minute trip across and used our new Hop cards for the first time.

We wandered into the city….and headed up Queen Street towards the shopping areas and were surprised by the number of beggars we came across. We found numerous malls and department stores. The stores were top end near the Wharf area eg Louis Vitton and Gucci, with its constant queue of Chinese outside. The quality of the shops reduced as we moved further into the city. We got some drinking vouchers from the ATM along the way.

We stopped for coffee and headed into a camera store. We have had an eye on one particular model (Lumix TZ90) ever since Black Friday but kept talking ourselves out of it and had been completely indecisive. We even looked at the same one in Singapore but then we decided against. Well, today, Richard decided he did want it after all, so we treated ourselves to a joint Valentine’s Day present.

We continued walking uphill towards the Sky Tower. We enjoyed looking at the Tower but had already decided not to go inside as we are keeping this as an experience for when Clive and Val are with us later in the month.

We headed back down towards the Wharf and explored the Wynyard Quarter….which is more wharfs and lots of waterfront bars and restaurants. We visited a few and just enjoyed people watching. I’m fascinated by the little electric scooters that everyone hires and dumps them, anywhere they like, and they are collected during the night to be recharged and left back out on the street. They whizz along very fast – up to 20mph allegedly – and they are pretty hazardous on the pavement in the hands of an inexperienced rider LOL.

We decided to head back towards the main wharf and had supper in Shucker Brothers, our favourite wine bar on the wharf so far. Then back to the ferry and home to Morphie.

Saturday morning we got the 9.20 ferry to the City. We walked to the end of the main wharf road and purchased a 48 hour hop-on hop-off Explorer bus ticket.

We took off on the Red Route and the first stop was Bastion Point. We enjoyed looking at the memorial to Michael Savage, the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand plus the views across Waitemata Harbour and further away to the volcanic cone of Rangitoto Island.

We then took the path down the hill towards Mission Bay and enjoyed wandering around this quaint town looking at some of the Art Deco buildings and people just enjoying their time on the lovely beach.

Back on the bus we carried on towards Newmarket and, at the War Memorial Museum, our bus changed onto the blue route. So we continued on and got out at Maungawhau (Mount Eden). This volcanic cone is closed to traffic (other than vehicles to the disabled) so we took the very long hot walk to the peak, enjoying lovely views along the way, including visits from some friendly birds which looked like sparrows with yellow heads. Looked like they had had their heads dipped in paint LOL.

We reached the peak and looked down into the volcanic dome and all around at the 360 degree views, including many other domes dotted around the area. Was very hot with no shade so we were thankful for the brisk wind at the summit. We took some time out before making the long hot walk back down.

Oh yes and, of course, we had a bird’s eye view of the Eden Park Stadium, the home of the New Zealand All Blacks. Shame they are not playing in the city while we are here.

We rejoined the bus. drove past the Stadium, and got off at St Luke’s Shopping Centre. We managed to pick up a few things that we needed and then got the blue bus back towards the War Memorial Museum. We got off here and wandered up to the very impressive building and memorial. Was very nicely done.

We noticed something going on in the grounds and realised that this was gearing up for Chinese New Year celebrations – so enjoyed having a wander around and even got some silly photos.

We then came across a miniature version of Crystal Palace which was really just a big greenhouse.

Later on we headed back on the bus to the city and returned to The Viaduct area and enjoyed a few cold ones. We were both pretty tired but decided to stay out and enjoyed a leisurely evening on the wharf, admiring some nice boats, and some great views. Oh yes, and we found the Sea Plane parking spot.

Sunday morning we headed over to the ferry terminal, arrived in the City, and then got another ferry to Davenport. This trip was included on our bus tickets so we decided to make the most use of it and spend our second day over there. This is a historical area and also houses the Naval Base so we admired the scenery around us and watched some yachts racing in front of the port.

Getting off the ferry we were attracted by some music and came across a Folk Concert in the park. We thought we’d listen for a while but the (original) songs were a bit depressing and not particularly to our taste so we didn’t linger. Clearly the audience was much more appreciative than we were.

Moving on we wandered around and took in the sights and I bought a nice sun hat for my cruise! Yay, result….. The girl was shocked when I paid cash and she told me to be careful in this area, better to pay by card. Interesting….first time we had been warned about that. Oh yes, and check out the exhibits in the Art Gallery.

We then found a place for lunch which seemed very popular. We waited ages to be served and were on the brink of walking out but the food looked so good we decided the pain of waiting should be worth it. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch, was absolutely amazing, but way too big! Never mind….saves me cooking again later LOL.

After lunch we headed to The Patriot pub housed in the old Bank of New Zealand building. Spot the symbols for the English (rose), the Irish (shamrock), the Scottish (thistle) and the Welsh (dragon) on the facia. We found a shaded spot in the beer garden where we found a guy singing live. He was really good…and we thoroughly enjoyed his set. We had planned to get the early ferry back but decided to miss it and got the later one instead. We had an absolutely lovely time.

Monday we were both feeling tired so we had a lazy day on board. Later on we headed across on the ferry again to meet Paul in town. Richard met Paul 36 years ago when they both worked at the BBC and had crossed paths at other jobs along the way. Paul has been in New Zealand for 17 years now and we had a lovely evening together.

Tuesday we started preparing Morphie to be left whilst we go on our cruise. The bad news was that there was a Cat 3 Cyclone near New Caledonia that the forecast models were puzzled by. There was a 50:50 chance that the cold front coming up from the Tasmin Sea would push this storm towards Australia. The other 50:50 chance was that it would come to the top of North Island (which would be unusual in itself). Damn. So we started prepping the boat by getting dink off the davits and onto the bow to reduce windage. We have tied off and covered the halyards at the mast; double wrapped the lines around the genoa and the staysail and have covered the new navigation equipment at the binnacle. We also doubled up on all our lines and have springs in all directions – including the post to our stern.

After a hot day’s work we headed back over to the City and met up with Kieron (who lives in Sydney). Richard worked with him at Battle McCarthy and they hadn’t seen each other for 18 years. Kieron was over in Auckland on business so what another amazing coincidence eh?!? Spent a few hours in his company but left him to his business colleagues and headed back to Morphie after supper at The Shucker Brothers.

This morning, Wednesday, and we downloaded the latest weather gribs. The forecast looks much less threatening than before but I think we’ll continue taking all our canvas down, just in case. So blogging and laundry feature on my list today…. Tomorrow, Thursday, we’ll be spending on board having a quiet one and then on Friday we are heading to the hotel to meet Carolyn and Ron in preparation for our Friends Reunited Cruise 2019.

Bye for now