Friday 21st November to Sunday 23rd November 2014
The alarm was set for 2:45 am and the cab was due at 3:45am – the flight to
All of the what if’s had been factored into the equation – what if we don’t wake up straight away; the cab is late or doesn’t show; there is traffic; there are a lot of departures and the queues are long.
The only what if we didn’t allow for was what if none of any of that occurs – which it didn’t
We woke up on time; ready early and had a chance of some breakfast; we were out early for the cab which arrived right on time; there was a clear run to the airport which only took 15 minutes; no other departures at that time; the check-in hadn’t even opened when we arrived and we causally strolled through the marked lanes even when they did open – we were 2nd through – no hassles, not even when one case was over 24kg.
We even had to go off and have a coffee waiting for the customs and passport control to open – when it finally did we were through there in almost an instant; we had allowed time in case the claim back of GST was slow or others in front – charming lady there was on her own with no-one to look after until we arrived – 5 minutes and the refund of $140 was done – no hassles at all.
Off to the gate where there was a chance for another coffee and we were all called to board – no fuss and not much of a wait – just 2 or 3 minutes.
|The plane was ready - it was still not yet light in the morning|
that's how early we were ready to go
So all of the preparedness from us only ended in a delay in takeover caused by the airline .
We did however arrive in
We gave customs a bit of concern – they X-ray the bags as you come into the country – seems we had something “organic” in one of the cases – in one of my shoes to be exact – “oh yes the carved echidna” would do that.
Rebecca was there to meet us – she had the day off and after a training lecture to nurses in the morning the rest of the day and the weekend were hers and ultimately ours.
We managed to catch the peak hour traffic around
Back to the hotel; the room was ready so we took the bags up and gave it a once over – small kitchenette; lounge; separate bedroom and two bathrooms – all very good.
Bec had told us she was going to be moving her place of residence in a few weeks so we thought we should check out the new area - Mission Bay – it coincided perfectly also with having a drink overlooking the water and as luck would have it, one of the choices of drinking establishments was a Belgian Beer Café – a neat two-storey place where we could sit our on the balcony and look out at some of the views of the bay – not a bad way to spend a Friday early evening.
|The Belgian Beer Café with balcony to sit and drink and watch|
the world go by - in this case the late Friday traffic
|Belgian beer and the views|
|Mission Bay - the park and beyond to the bay|
|more of Mission Bay|
|just some of Bec's soon-to-be noisy neighbours|
|and this old vintage vehicle in the main street|
So it was a relatively early night – in bed by about 8pm – looking forward to some sleep and some recovery.
We did sleep pretty soundly and when we awoke on Saturday morning the roads showed that there had been some rain overnight.
A bit of breakfast followed and then we headed out to start exploring the city – Bec had a staff Xmas party on that day and we had encouraged her that she should attend and we would share Sunday with her.
So first port of call was Starbucks, just around the corner; for some proper coffee and free internet, which both came in very handy – as did the newspapers provided.
After that we were off to visit the weekly French market that Bec had told us about – we found it without too much trouble – having decided to walk the entire distance – about a 2km walk.
|Skytower Auckland - where you can walk around |
on the outside, or if crazy enough, you can
|Symonds Street Auckland|
|St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church|
|Does my bum look big in this chair - oops that's not my bum|
|The French Markets|
Next on the list was to catch a bus and investigate some of the inner city areas of Auckland – we would have done just that, but the first bus to appear actually did a large circular route further out from the city centre, so we hopped on and paid our $4 each.
A lovely couple on board got talking to us and suggested another market to visit which was right by our intended stopping point anyway – so we did so – another gem in the centre of the city.
|new style coffee van at The International Market|
After that we were pretty close to the Viaduct Harbour so an easy matter just to walk through where we admired the boats moored and decided which would be suitable to buy and which we would bypass entirely – we also watched a boat reversing into a mooring spot – these boats have bow and stern thrusters and can be reversed easily in a straight line.
|A bridge opening for the cat about to leave|
|The water was so clear and clean - unlike the canals we will|
head back to
A wander around the shops and a chat to a guy now living in
|Which one will I get to wear when the Welsh beat the All Blacks|
only problem was the All Blacks won
|Queen St Ferry Building|
We found reasonable internet at the cinema complex and then chatted away to Sara in
After that it was just a short uphill walk to the hotel; a bit of TV and a snack before we were off to bed – early again.
We had had two glorious days so far, with only a bit of rain early on Saturday morning, and Sunday was a continuation – even better than the other two days.
The arrangements for today were that we would meet Bec around 9am and head off to the ferries for a day out at one of the islands.
We met at Starbucks, where we once again made use of the wi-fi; by this time we had made a friend of the young barista who was really good to us – the coffees kept coming as did the extra minutes of internet usage – maybe he just took pity on two old people – well one at least as Diane will tell you how much younger than me she is.
Bec met up with us and after another coffee we headed south – towards the water.
Diane and Bec made the decisions about the day – much easier on me then – I just go along with the final choice.
The sun was getting warmer and the day certainly looking like a memorable one indeed.
What do you do in a harbour city like
So a 35 minute cruise out past the cruiser terminals and cargo ships; past the hidden little bays – big and small – and out to one of the larger islands within the general harbour area.
We took the bus to the furtherest part of the island which could be reached in this way; had a bit of a stroll along the beach, admiring the houses around – most appeared to be holiday houses anyway, but all with the clear sign and plenty of money available.
Diane and Bec removed shoes and rolled the jeans up to let the water lap at their feet and ankles – seems that it was pretty cold at first and took a bit of time to get accustomed to it, but enjoyable none-the-less.
|quite simply a stunning location|
Stoneyridge Wines was not a name that I had seen or heard of, nor one that I had tasted, but it was right opposite the bus stop and the drive beckoned for some travellers – so we obliged.
There was a small charge for a tasting selection and as we sat beneath the palm tree and the cool of the shade had it’s desired effect on the three of us warm from the walk up the premises, the wines arrived and we looked out over the valley – which really was unspoilt – seemed like a nice enough place for lunch as well.
|no one's idea of a tough life....|
|...and views to match...|
|...and the restaurant is right there as well.|
Time then to move on and whilst we had every intention to visit another winery, the time was such that they were closing up and we decided that after a such a pleasing day we should head back ourselves, which we did with just a short stop at the main village for a look around; then to the ferry and the trip back to Auckland.
|From the water the City of Auckland creates a great skyline|
|Still not a tough life you two|
Diane and I wandered back to the hotel; Bec caught a bus back to her flat – the only thing we had to do was pack our bags ready for departure on Monday and tend to the sunburnt face that I had acquired.
This was definitely a day to savour and remember.