Sunday, 20 November 2011
Genealogy Notes 19-20 Nov 2011 - Auckland adventures
I originally said that I would put all cruise blogs in Diary of an Australian Genealogist but given the length of my report on the first Auckland onshore seminar, I changed my mind and detailed reports will go on my website and more diary like reports will go here. So my account of the first Auckland seminar is here.
Sunday was a late start because it took me so long to write the report, but we wandered out in time to see the start of the World Triathlon event through the main streets of Auckland. After watching the women riders for a while we made our way down towards the harbour (no easy feat with the closed roads and limited crossings when the bikes weren’t whizzing past).
We spotted a hotel serving New Zealand green shell mussels steamed with your choice of a delicious sauce (we picked coconut and lemongrass curry) so lunch was good, we could still see the race and our lattes came with a lovely little gingerbread.
Finally got to the harbour in time to buy our tickets on the ferry for a 90 minute tour round Auckland harbour (no getting off) and although a bit windy and rough in the more open places, it was great to see the various places from the water. Then at the last stop (about 15 minutes from the terminal) we decided to check out Kelly Tarlton’s AntarticEncounter and Underwater World as a few other people were also getting off.
After a few minutes of working up the nerve to jump from the ferry to the jetty (it was rough and there is no walk off plank, with the ferry moving up, down, in and out) I finally made it safely on to the dock. It took a few more minutes for the adrenaline to slow down and my partner, who usually says I’m just wimpy, admitted it was a bit dangerous. It reminded me of Bangkok where you have to leap in and out of the water ferries because the drivers don’t stop for long.
It was just a short walk then to Tarlton’s Underwater World where we found that the free shuttle back to Auckland had already left (why it doesn’t continue to run until the place closes is a mystery as we couldn’t be the only tourists without our own car). Anyway we still went in and were quite surprised to find that most of the place is actually underground which is why it isn’t a big building.
There is a snowcat vehicle that seats nine at a time that takes you through the penguin (both King and Gentoo penguins) enclosure and you see them swimming in the pool and up on land/snow/ice (not sure what to call it). There were also some nesting penguins with new born chicks to slightly older chicks but all so cute. I think I could watch penguins walking around all day, as it is so different to watching them swim (blink and you miss them, they are so fast).
Then there is the usual underwater tank with fish, sharks, sting rays etc but interesting to see some of the more unique New Zealand fish. The baby giant squid (dead, washed up on a beach) was huge/amazing and makes you really wonder about all those horror giant squid stories of ships being attacked. My favourite was the Seahorse Kingdom as I have a real fascination for sea horses and could watch them for hours and they had quite a few different species.
In the gift shop I couldn’t resist a new penguin key ring for my new (used) 7 seater Ford Territory (crystal green and to tow our new (used) caravan) which was delivered the day after we left home (sob), the obligatory fridge magnet (penguins) and a Rotorua mud face mask.
After a short walk to the bus stop we gave the friendly bus driver every New Zealand coin that we had and he dropped us as close to Queen Street as he could, given the streets were still barricaded off. On the way back we decided that we simply had to taste one more New Zealand beer, plus we were really thirsty.
Then just before we got back to our apartment we smelt a delicious curry smell. We had passed this place a few times in our walks to and from Auckland City Library so we decided it would be good to have a curry takeaway, a New Zealand chardonnay and watch TV - Rick Stein and his cooking adventures in Spain (which brought back memories of my trip there in 2000).
I also made the observation that Rick Stein (English chef, world traveller etc) had decided to retire to Mollymook which is next door to one of the towns we have been looking at retiring to. If it was good enough for Rick Stein, then why not us but my partner thinks I’m keen on it just so that I can eat at Rick Stein’s restaurant at Mollymook all the time!
The other great thing about takeaway and eating in, is that we had the washing on while we ate and then we tried out my new Rotorua mud face mask which was fantastic and I’m sure my skin looks softer and more glowing! By the end of the night our clothes were washed and dried without having to leave the room.
We picked our hotel via Wotif and got a great three night deal with more breakfast than we could eat (mango juice popper, fruit yoghurt, oat muesli bar, delicious mixed grain/seed bun, banana, tea/coffee) so it also doubled for lunch most days and one hour’s free internet each day. The banana was a bit of a luxury as most of the time in Australia we can’t afford to buy them. All within a one block walk of the library.