|We spent the last couple of days relaxing and getting our onward travel to Chile sorted out....today we jumped on a Stray Bus Tour and headed out to see the Auckland city sights....our first stop was at the Sky Tower, the highest structure in the Southern Hemisphere at 328 metres....NZ being the place for all things adventure, the Sky Tower has a free fall jump from the 195 metre mark of the tower.....people who are daring enough (as one soul on the bus was) get suited up and hooked to a cable and are then lowered to the ground using the cable and guide wires in a freefall that takes mere seconds....we then made our way out to a city park, home to a memorial to Michael Joseph Savage, an Australian who was the first Labour Prime Minister of NZ. The park has views of the suburb of Devonport on the North Shore across the Waitemata Harbour, along with Mt. Victoria and North Head, two dormant volcanic cones that are 20,000 years old. A little further out in the Pacific is Rangitoto, another volcanic cone which rose up out of the ocean about 600 years ago, the youngest and largest in the area. The name Rangitoto means "Blood Red Sky" and was most certainly viewed by the Maoris living on nearby Motutapu Island to have garnered such a name. Rangitoto and Motutapu are now connected by a causeway.....we then made our way to the other side of Auckland (the city of 1.4 million people, about 33% of NZ's total population, sits on a narrow strip of land between two scenic harbours with the Pacific on one side and the Tasman Sea on the other) and up to Mt. Eden, also known as Maungawhau, another of the 48-odd dormant volcanoes around Auckland with great views...a group of funseekers planned a prank one day....they hauled a bunch of old tires up to the crater and filled it up and lit them on fire...the resulting thick black smoke rising out of the crater looked like, well you know, that the dormant cone was about to light up the early morning sky.....people all over Auckland got all bent out of shape and were trying to figure out what to do about the impending volcanic eruption, without bothering to send a chopper up to fly over the volcano to have a look-see...that's when the pranksters called in to a radio station and said "April Fool"...the people of Auckland were not impressed....another of the dormant volcanoes jokingly called "No Tree Hill" is also visible from Mt. Eden...it's Maori name is Maungakiekie or Mountain of the Kiekie Tree....at one time No Tree Hill actually had a lone Kiekie tree growing atop the hill, which was replaced by another tree after the ancient tree was felled (presumably by disease/old age)....someone took exception to the replacement tree being planted on sacred Maori soil and attacked it....they were unable to save it and the powers that be felt it inappropriate to plant another tree in its place and erected an obelisk in its stead. We made our way down from Mt.Eden and stopped for lunch at the Cardrona Speights Ale House and sampled an Apricot Ale...it had the slightist smell and taste of apricots...similar to having a Raspberry Ale at Brewsters back home...but more refreshing....after lunch we made our way to the Auckland Harbour Bridge and took a walk up under the bridge deck out to the middle of the bridge over the Waitemata Harbour and where the A.J. Hackett Bungy Jump is located...no one was in the least bit interested in making the jump so one of the operators demonstrated for us by jumping off twice, once with a running, flying leap.....some people are just plain crazy...we made our way back off the bridge and that was the end of our tour so we headed back to our hostel....tomorrow, we're on our way to Chile....