Due to our impending return to the frozen north, it became necessary to load up the Getz-mobile and begin making our way to Auckland for our homebound flight… but not too quick. The west side of the North Island remained unexposed to our inquisitive nature. But before the west coast could be enjoyed, we wanted to pay a visit to this little seaside town on the Tutukaka coast. Looking at the tourist info map that was given to us, it looked as though we could pass through it and continue south and westbound thereafter. After about an hour navigating the twisty turny back roads to reach this quaint settlement, we’re stopped at the bridge where the road on the other side continues. Unfortunately, the bridge was a foot bridge even though the map clearly shows the road crossing here. Questioning a local revealed that the only way around to the other side was to go back the way we came. We were tempted to use the carrying handle on top of our Getz but that would mean disrupting all of the people fishing and swimming from the bridge. Oh well, back from whence we came. Anyway, we still had plenty of time to get to Auckland. Here’s some snaps from around that area including surfers:
Arriving in Auckland, we went to this hotel that had been recommended and the person behind the counter quoted us $20 more than we’d been told earlier. So we passed on this place and went to the i-Site (tourist info bureau) just around the corner from this hotel and see what they could suggest. So we were surprised when they suggested the same hotel and got us our original nightly rate. Now you’d figure that they’re gonna get a commission and that the hotel was perfectly willing to offer the room at a lower rate and pay a finder’s fee out of it. Ya gotta wonder why they didn’t just offer us a better rate to begin with. Anyway, we were back at their desk with our reservation in hand.
Auckland is a world class city and they’ve done a great job with their waterfront. The cruise ships bring throngs of tourists and there are lots to see and do. Our one day and night in this city wasn’t enough. Here’s some pics from around Auckland:
It just by pure coincidence happened that the boat show was on, so a trip to the waterfront was next. The yachts that they had here were big… I mean huge… and expensive. Some of these beauties were 150’+. Ouch on the pocketbook! So, no new boat… yet!
They also have the New Zealand KZ1 built by the kiwis to challenge the 1988 America’s Cup. 116’ length, 26’ beam, 21’ draft and 38 ton displacement. The San Diego Yacht Club responded by entering a 60’ cat. Of course the kiwi boat was soundly beaten when put against a cat. Lots of legal battles ensued from this challenge. Now the boat’s mounted at the waterfront by the Marine Museum in Auckland.
We were also treated to a look at Rainbow Warrior, operated by Green Peace.
Dinner: They have these restaurants in Zland that offer what’s called a ‘stone grill’. This is basically a piece of ceramic heated up and they put a piece of raw sirloin on it and bring it out with all the fixin’s on the side. You cut off a piece and grill it ceramic until it’s just the way you like it. From there, it goes nice and sizzling right into a salivating mouth. So they offered a 200g side of sirloin… not big enough. They also offer a 400g size… still not enough. I pigged on a ½ kg of prime angus beef. I ate the whole thing with all the fixin’s. Alison was aghast when I suggested dessert. Anyway, the cost for this meal was ~$23cdn.
One of Auckland main attractions is a tower right downtown just like we have. We call ours the CN Tower; they call theirs Sky Tower. Ours is bigger which explains why they bill theirs as the tallest free standing structure in the SOUTHERN hemisphere. Cost to go up to the top is $25, but if you go to the revolving restaurant, all you gotta spend is $20 and you still get to play at the top. Nothing better than Chocolate Mousse, a good merlot and watching Auckland below go past our table. Our last night in Zland: Can it get any better?
Here’s a pic of someone taking the jump off the tower’s observation deck – ya, they actually sell tickets for this. You’re suspended by cables for the 630’ drop. You’re supposed to get a 14 second rush of free fall. You can just make out the person (spec) and the cables.
Alison didn’t want to me to mention this, but when she was packing for this trip, she managed to grab two right shoes from her stockpile of footware. She shlepped these puppies half way ‘round the world and couldn’t wear them. Poor girl!
In the morning, we’ll be sitting on our suitcases to get them to close again… something that we haven’t had to do since we left Toronto one month ago. Time has flown! Our last entry which we’ll post once we get back is to make our list of the Best Of's for our time in New Zealand. You know: best meals, best adventures, yadda, yadda.