Day 34: Auckland

Weather:  cool and mostly sunny, with well behaved clouds that only rained when we were inside
Highlight of the day:  Walking around the streets and parks of Auckland

We arrived in Auckland at 5.30 am and met the friendliest immigration worker in the world.  We were a bit tired and confused and admitted that we weren‘t certain if we were in the NZ residents queue by mistake to be told ‘With this [Australian] passport you ARE a resident‘.  Once customs’ biometrics department had cleaned Disa’s walking boots adequately for her to enter the country, we were finally in New Zealand.

We took the city shuttle to close to our hotel.  Assuming it would be too early to check into our room, we hoped we could at least leave our luggage there; the woman at the reception counter didn’t even ask but gave us a free upgrade to a suite and we were able to go to the room immediately.  SHOWERS.  (Don’t get too excited about the word ‘suite’; it pretty much was a glorified hallway, however it did me we had wine glasses which we made use of later.)

After freshening ourselves a bit, we hit the streets in search of breakfast (sorry Air New Zealand; brekkie at 4 am doesn’t really go very far!).  We found a bagel café on High Street, enjoyed a wonderful breakfast and fantastic coffee, then made our way to Albert Park and the first geocache of the day.  From there we decided to follow caches around a rather indirect route to the Domain, and first found ourselves at Symonds Park, which was quite interesting – part park and part old Jewish cemetery.  From here we walked to the Domain via some geocaches near a hospital.  We explored the Wintergarden, including seeing an Elephant’s Foot plant (which reminded us of David as he’d let us borrow his hand to show the scale of the Elephant’s Foot plant that we saw in the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park).

We then headed for the Auckland Museum where we spent hours and hours wandering through the exhibits – Pacific Island cultures, Maori, New Zealand natural history, and NZ military history.   All very interesting, however the lack of sleep was beginning to tell on Disa and she was wondering how she’d make it through the rest of the day until we saw geckos -  ooooohhhhhhh geeeckkkkkoooo.  Upon leaving we found the Bledisloe Track, which took us from the Domain to Parnell.  We then made our way down to the water (on some of the worst streets for pedestrians) and found two more geocaches.  From there a walking and cycling track lead back to the city.  Scott being Scott, on the walk back he started to crave ice cream, so we decided to try the Ferry Building and bingo!  Valentine’s Gelato – we had lemon and chocolate and they were great!

Exhaustion was definitely impairing our ability to made a decision of any sort at this point, so after a little window shopping in the city we decided to take sandwiches and wine back to our hotel rather than track down a restaurant; and Disa wasn’t certain she could stay awake for a meal.  So back to the hotel were we had a rest and ate.  The television guide said there was a movie featuring the Harvey Girls, who we had heard about while at Grand Canyon, however our TV either didn’t have the channel or we were too tired to figure it out.  Wild and exciting people that we are, we had cups of tea and got into bed just before 8.30; Disa was asleep immediately.

Scott’s Comment
Disa has omitted the completely G rated bath we had together.  Being the gallant gentleman I am I took the tap end which resulted in me having to sit bolt upright, mostly out of the water, with the spigot hard in my back while Disa occasionally slipped almost under the water and had much trouble regaining her position as we attempted to drink wine.  A less sensuous and sexy experience is hard to imagine.

Disa’s Comment
Scott has omitted the part where he kept dripping cold water frm the bottom of his wine glass onto my knee, starling me and sending me slipping under the water.  Sigh.  A less sensuous experience is hard to imagine. . .

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