Auckland, New Zealand

February 21 and 22

What wonderful weather awaited us in New Zealand, temperatures in the 70s and very low humidity.  Perfect. We arrived at 11 am yesterday and headed out to the ferry building to take the 11:30 ferry to Devonport, a historical seaside village just 12 minutes across the harbor by ferry.

The ferry building

Devonport originally consisted of 3 volcanic cones, Mount Victoria, North Head and the former Mount Cambria which was largely quarried away during the settlement of the area.  The earliest Maori settlement of the area dates back to the 14th century.  We enjoyed some shopping, a hike up to Mount Victoria and then a leisurely lunch at the Esplanade Hotel and Bar. There are lots of Victorian homes and the building facades are beautiful.

Esplanade Hotel

It was a very steep walk up to the top but what a view!

View from Mount Victoria

Lunch at the Esplanade

Everyone is so friendly here.  An older woman wanted very badly to drive up up to the top of Mount Victoria, insisting she wasn’t trying to kidnap us! When we said we really wanted to walk, she replied incredulously “it is straight up! We found out later that our friends James and Shelly took her up on it and had a delightful ride.  We have heard that the local people are like that, very friendly and giving.

Mount Victoria is 283 feet above sea level and was built to protect the harbor. They used these disappearing guns.

There are remnants of the Kawerau tribe there as well and spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland’s North shore and Auckland city.

Of course we had to have a stop at Devonport chocolates where we sampled and bought port and prune chocolate truffle slices. Delicious!

We saw the New Zealand America’s Cup yacht sailing in the harbor area.

We returned to the ship for dinner on the terrace and a second performance by Chris Powley who was great.

February 22

Today is the day almost 400 new passengers and 70 new crew arrive, the end of the second segment of the world cruise.  This one goes until Bali.  So it is a good day to be away from the ship!. After breakfast we headed out for a walk in the city.  We went to the Sky tower, a landmark here in Auckland.  It is 1176 feet high or around 37 buses standing end to end.  Lots of people like to walk around the outside of the tower or bungee jump off…. But not us!. We loved the view and these glass floors that you could look down through.

Our ship is the middle one

We took this one lying on the glass floor. People thought we were nuts.

It also has a hotel, a casino, a revolving restaurant and 20 other restaurants and bars. We enjoyed our time there and took some shots of the Sky walkers and one person getting ready to jump.

We did a bit more walking in this vibrant city, the largest in New Zealand. It is called the “city of sails” because of its beautiful location between two harbors and its beautiful weather. It was the former capital but the capital city since 1865 is Wellington.  It is built on 50 volcanoes-  none have been active in some time.

And, in the tradition of finding fun signs.. How is this one?

After a nice lunch at an outdoor cafe and some FaceTime calls to Adam and Mark, we found some delicious gelato and headed back to the ship for the 4:15 lifeboat drill and sailaway to Gisborne at 5 PM.

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