So the time had come to leave Australia and hop on yet another plane to the beautiful country of New Zealand.
Donned in my leather jacket and jeans (goodbye shorts) I arrived at a ridiculous hour ready for my whistle-stop four day tour of Auckland, not really knowing what I wanted to do or see there. In my experience, whenever you tell someone your heading over this side of the world all you hear about New Zealand is that it’s ‘really pretty’, the rest of the conversation quickly turns to what everyone is meant to do in Australia.
So whilst led in my extremely comfy bed in my very own room, (yes that’s right I got my own room!! First time in seven weeks and it was heaven), I had to make a plan…
Obviously I couldn’t go to Auckland without actually spending some time in the city itself so voila, day one Auckland CBD.
After paying a silly amount of money for a hop on bus ticket I enjoyed a short ride around and marvelled at the city of sails. Apparently one in four Auckland residents owns a boat. Crazy! No wonder Westhaven Marina is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. Fact for you right there.
As it turned out, I only hopped off twice. After my ‘quick look’ at Auckland Museum turned into a half day Maori extravaganza I didn’t leave much time for more exploring.
To anyone heading to Auckland, the museum is a must! The highlights being the Maori cultural experience (who wouldn’t want to see three men do the Hakka in traditional grass skirts), the volcano simulator and the National War Museum on the top floor.
Since the Bay of Islands was recommended by a few people I thought I’d better give it a look. I think most tours are about two days long but as I was on a tight schedule, I had to do it ‘the American way’. I’m still not entirely sure what this phrase means, I can only guess that it refers to getting up offensively early to sit on a bus for a 500km round trip whilst a bus driver talks about everything he has ever known about New Zealand. Relevant or not.
He was a lovely man, but I have to admit I did doze off for a bit. Sorry bus driver.
Anyway, the bus was only a means of transport. The real trip was a three hour Dolphin Cruise around the bay. And with dolphins guaranteed, not even the weather could dampen the day.
Pretty but then disaster struck. We quickly worked out by the drastic lack of dolphins that they must have gone on holiday for a long weekend. Fail.
In a bid to cheer up the hysterical children, don’t worry I’m not subtly referring to me, not only did the Captain take us to the Hole in the Rock, but we sailed right through it.
Please enjoy the following photograph as I did risk my life taking it. Thank you to the man who caught me before I went flying – nothing like a bumpy boat ride to bring you all closer together.
History of the island and vineyards
I don’t pretend to know anything about wine. I know it comes in red, white and rose. And some wines I like and some I don’t.
So trying to work out phrases such as ‘on the nose’ was a bit beyond me but the wine accompanied with the stunning views made the day remarkable.
View from Cable Bay vineyard
I think I’m in heaven.