I was expecting not to be too impressed with Auckland. Not sure why, just didn’t expect to be.
Our first night in Auckland seemed to bear that out – what walking we did do around the city’s central business district was “OK”, but nothing terribly different from other places.
Then we took today’s tour, and though it was a bit of a whirlwind (we had only the one day, after all) our eyes were opened. We’ve come to love Auckland.
The tour started with a simple over-and-back on the city’s harbor bridge, which gave us a very nice view of the city, then a stop at a point in the harbor that gave us the complimentary view of the bridge (and more).
We then drove up to Mt. Eden, a volcanic crater, from which we got gorgeous views of the city, bridge and the surrounding country side.
After a visit to the local penguin encounter, followed by a quick lunch, it was off to the Auckland Zoo, where we finally saw the fellow above (a Kiwi), as well as others trotting around in their nocturnal enclosure. They’re pretty cool little birds.
Then it was back to the harbor for a bit of a sail. We boarded a sailboat with perhaps 15 others and as the wind picked up, we went under the harbor bridge (watching the crazy bungee jumpers), and back past the docked cruise ships for the better part of an hour. The photo above is of our twin – two boats from the same company took the same path.
Finally, after leaving our bus (and another great driver) behind, we wandered our way up to the sky tower where we had dinner below and views above. It had actually started to rain as we returned from our boat trip, but it let up long enough for our trip to the top of the tower. If you look carefully at the harbor above, you’ll see lots and lots of sailboats.
It was a full day, a busy day, but we really enjoyed it, and it put Auckland on the list of places to return to so as to spend more time.
Tomorrow: a meet up, and the long trip home. It’s hard to believe our three weeks is already about to be over.