Day 3 – Start of Cruise

Only a short entry today, we watched our ship dock – or should I say Carol watched our ship dock.  I managed to rise to catch the sunrise over the ship.  The Royal Caribbean — Voyager of the Seas has not as yet arrived and I would guess it will dock after the customs people are done with the Oosterdam. Auckland - Oosterdam

Off to catch a bit of breakfast and last minute photos of the sailing ships (if they are still in dock) and then checkout of our hotel for our 1 PM embark to the Oosterdam.  The end of our stay in beautiful and very friend Auckland.

Auckland - Carol & Oosterdam

Carol from our room enjoying a little coffee and sudoko in the warm morning sun with our ship in the background.



Day 2 – Auckland

We woke up for sunrise, though not the best angle with the cranes for shipping between us and the sunrise, but it was still very pretty.

Auckland - sunrise


And we found that bear could not be trusted as he and the kiwi were trying to figure out how to open the wine in our room.Auckland - bear & kiwi

We spent our time taking in the sights around Auckland.  We decided to go with the Hop On and Hop Off Bus tickets and see some of the top attractions/views of the city.

Auckland - around town


Interesting what you may see around town.

Auckland - Carol at gardens-2 Auckland - Carol at gardens


Carol enjoying one of the many gardens we visited – this one was the MJ Savage Memorial Park.

Auckland - from the gardensA view of downtown from the memorial gardens.

Auckland - Carol flower


A couple of the flowers that Carol photographed in the Parnell rose garden.Auckland - war museum


The War Museum.  There was a cricket game being played on a field down the hill from this building.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum or simply the Auckland Museum is one of New Zealand’s most important museums and war memorials. Its collections concentrate on New Zealand history, natural history, as well as military history.

The museum is also one of the most iconic Auckland buildings, constructed in the neo-classicist style, and sitting on a grassed plinth (the remains of a dormant volcano) in the Auckland Domain, a large public park.

Auckland - sky tower a different view of the sky tower.

I wasn’t going to turn this into a food blog, but really now – when you see mussels like this, how can you not take a photo.  After our Hop On and Hop Off ride around Auckland, Carol and I had a calling to head back to the area we had dinner in the night before as I saw mussels at the restaurant next to where we ate and I had to come back.

I had 1/2 Kilo of these wonderful  not little guys – which was only 8 or 9 of them.  They were bigger than the fork, and you really needed to cut them up to eat them.  Served in a wonderful soup broth, with white wine and creamy garlic sauce. The sauce is so good you need to serve this dish with a spoon.  The New Zealand green-lipped mussel, (Perna canalicula), is also known as the New Zealand mussel.  Take That PEI mussels, there is no contest. Yum.  Carol had a chicken sandwich, that I am not sure was a salad, first, covered with Turkish bread, with a lot of chicken stuck inside.  What you do not see is how high this sandwich stands – over 3 inches.   Hands down the V-grill is the place.  Auckland - v grillGreat Food.  Now I can’t recommend the ice tea, because to a real tea drinker, this is not even a close relative.  It’s made from a syrup base, so it is sweet but the flavor is not there.  For those who drink wine, there are plenty of varieties to choose from.   

Auckland -sandwich The sandwich…..and

Auckland -mussels the mussels.

Tonight we stopped at a restaurant near our hotel and I had rack of Lamb and Carol tried their snapper dinner.  We are learning the terms (just a few – entree is appetizer and main is the main course).  We will have it figured out by the time we get home.

I walked around a bit more trying to get the skyline with the big camera and tripod.   The one I posted for yesterday was done with the canon S100 hand held.  It was ok, but I like to get my skylines crisp so they can be blown up in size.  Carol decided she needed to rest her knee so she retired back to the hotel.  Tomorrow is the start of the cruise.  Our ship and a Royal Caribbean ship will be arriving sometime in the early morning hours.  The Royal ship will be docked right outside our room, so the hotel has been sending apologies. Too bad it wasn’t our ship, so we would not have to walk quite as far, but ours will dock and the pier next one over so we will have a bit of a walk – not far, but dragging suitcases makes it further.  So rest tonight and curtains draw, lest the cruise ship passengers get a wakeup view they don’t want…


End of Day 1 – Auckland

A 3 hour nap and I was back ready to go, at least to dinner.

We checked outside before we headed off to see if it was still drizzling and we were surprised with a rainbow – over the cloud.
Auckland - rainbow

Carol and I headed out into the district around the Viaduct Basin.  This is where the Maritime Museum is located and where the sailing ships that in town for racing are docked – an America’s cup sailing ship’s hull is positioned right outside the museum and there are a number of vessels that you can be part of a sailing experience.  There are a number of small cafe, bar, restaurants in this area.  There was a catamaran race so there were teams walking all around the area.  Also the NRL (National Rugby League) was having games in Auckland, so those young men were also walking around.  Between the restaurants and the people watching, this is an area that is a feast for the eyes and body.  We had our first dinner, with me getting a seafood risotto and Carol getting a Chicken Marsala.  Both were very, very good.

Auckland - sailinga little sailing with the Vodafone NZ ship.
Auckland - from our room the view from our room

Auckland - ferry bldg

The Auckland Ferry Terminal was designed by Alex Wiseman, and built by Philcox and Sons. Completed in 1912 on reclaimed land out of sandstone and brick with a base of Coromandel granite.  There are shops, cafe and restaurants in the building now.

Auckland - Auckland Lights a few of the lamps from the “red fence” near Queens Wharf.  The bearded face with the crown on the gate post/lamp base below (photo above) may represent Neptune or Poseidon (presumably symbolising power on the seas). The lions above may refer to Britain and again suggest power.

Auckland - Auckland Bridge the Auckland Bridge.

Auckland - The Cloud

The Cloud –

The Cloud is a temporary structure on the western edge of Queens Wharf. It was erected to accommodate Auckland’s commitment to host an inner-city Fanzone, festival and showcase event during the Rugby World Cup 2011, and it proved a very popular location to watch the games.  It is almost 180m long.
Auckland - sky tower the Sky Tower from just outside our hotel.

We walked around a little bit, taking in the sights.  We saw a little bit of the sky tower all lit up over the tops of the buildings.  A little bit of the Lantern Festival  was still there to be seen and of course, Auckland at night.

Auckland Lantern Festival Auckland Lantern Festival-2 Auckland at night

the city from the Queens Wharf

Auckland - Sky Needle the sky tower (hand held photo) to show the colors.

Day 2 was exploring a bit more of Auckland. More on that later.

Day 1 – Trip to New Zealand

Day 1 – Arrival Auckland

We started our trip from Los Angeles, California – LAX to Auckland, New Zealand on the new Hobbit Plane – for Air New Zealand –  Smaug.  Only Way to fly – on a dragon.  The safety video was Hobbit related, with airline employees  and actors including Peter Jackson from the movie giving the instructions (Hobbit related). It was quite cute.
The airline put Smaug on both sides of a Boeing 777-300 aircraft. Weta Digital, Jackson’s visual effects company, designed the 177-foot dragon graphic for Air New Zealand.  Link to the safety video –

Sorry I could not get a photo without the service trucks.

Smaug Plane

Service was wonderful on the flight starting with a blanket and a pillow and two choices for dinner, a huge selection of movies and very friendly flight staff, from England, New Zealand and Canada (at least those I met).  We did not sleep but at least I spent the time talking with various other passengers and the flight staff near the back of the plane.  Breakfast either hot or cold welcomed us as we neared New Zealand.

Our arrival at Auckland’s airport was very smooth.  No long lines and customs was quick and friendly.  Here is the first Welcome sign as we passed through the terminal.
Welcome at Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport-2

The Hilton in Auckland is on Princess Wharf and arriving before 9 am, the room was not yet ready, but they were very helpful and let us use the gym to shower and freshen  up.  Carol and I walked around a little but with no sleep and it was drizzling off and on, we stayed close to the wharf.   We found a little cafe for lunch and I had the seafood chowder and garlic bread with tea.

1st Lunch at AucklandWe passed by the Swiss Ice Cream place, but I had to stop and take a photo of the flavors for Gloria.

For Gloria

We have a room with a view of the harbor.  A nap is now calling. So until the morrow ………..zzzzzzzzzz