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Sunday 8 Nov 2009
Auckland, New Zealand

Weekend in Auckland

November 7, 2009

We got a late start after working out at the gym across the street from the hotel (YMCA) and having a great breakfast. We shared blueberry ricotta pancakes and bacon & eggs.


The Hop on, Hop off city bus tour took us to 14 of the tourist spots in Auckland. Some we stopped at some we didn't. One of which was Kelly Tarlton's  Underwater World. It's a small aquarium situated in the old sewer under the road and next to the bay. We witnessed a hand feeding of sting rays as well as penguins in an Antarctic enclosure. A few of the penguins were holding chicks on their feet. There was a clear acrylic dome over a moving walkway that ran through two aquariums. One with sharks, rays, and Bonita, and the other tank with less exotic fish.


We also stopped at the MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology).  Amongst many of the areas of interest was a display of early New Zealand aviation pioneers - did you know that the Black Box recorder was invented by a Kiwi?  Also on display was the tractor that Sir Edmund Hillary used in Antarctica when establishing a Kiwi outpost.  I [Tony] even sat in one of the locomotive engines that was on display (Grampa would be proud !).


We ended the day at the Sky City Casino about 12 blocks from our hotel.  We'd originally planned on going up to the Observation Platform 186 meters up but thought we'd wait to do that during the day.  The casino slots were all the same - all video slot machines... no video poker machines, no 7 7 7 machines, all were similar to our 7 7 7 machines but they all had letters (A-Z) and animals (bears, elk, beavers, foxes...)....   We played $5 each and it took only about 15 minutes to lose that so we ended up at the bar sipping $5.00 glasses of a newly introduced champagne & watching people dance to the band. 

Came back to the hotel and watched a pay per view..... The Hangover .... Hilarious !   If you haven't seen it, rent it.... We laughed ourselves silly !

All in all a great day !


Sunday November 8, 2009

Grabbed a quick Subway for breakfast and boarded the America's Cup 82 ‘racing sloop for our first of 2 adventures at sea.  We spent 2hrs with 20 others sailing the Auckland Harbor.  We all pitched in as part of the crew working the grinders and manning the helm.  The grinders (4 in all) required 2 people on each to hoist  and/or trim the sails.  Tony also stood watch at the helm ("I vas stearing z boat"  Walter Matthau - Movie I.Q. 1994).  There were times we had the rails in the water and everyone was on the high side leaning so far back as we possibly could - Quite a rush !


We came back into port, grabbed lunch we'd pre-ordered and hopped aboard a 50' Catamaran and headed back out to sea to look for Dolphin and Whales.  It took about an hour to meet up with our first group of Dolphin and from then on they were all over the place.  They would swim in between the hulls of the catamaran and dart back and forth in front of the hulls playing. 


We also saw several humpback whales during our 4.5hr adventure - not as close as the Dolphins but plenty close to see them blow and then slowly see their dorsal fin as they dove 6:30pm.  We're trying to secure a 1-way rental of a minivan or camper van from Christchurch back to Auckland but so far, not been successful.  We may just end up w/a car and make our way back to Auckland by Tuesday, November 16th.


More to follow.

3 Comments for this Travel blog entry

Leslie and Greg Says:

9 November 2009

Thanks for the update! Sounds like your adventure has really taken off!

lola Says:

11 November 2009

rails in the water ! that had to be awesome!!!

Greg W Says:

17 November 2009

Rereading this, I really wish I could have been there on the racing boat with you - sounds awesome!

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