Remember the Waitangi Treaty grounds in Russell? Well today is New Zealand Day celebrating the signing of that treaty. New Zealand version of the 4th July in the US. We are docked at Queens’s wharf, which is middle of downtown and Treaty Day waterfront celebrations. There is a street fair outside our window with street performers (buskers), free carnival rides and a food truck area. There was laser light show on the harbor bridge too. The food trucks had everything from pork belly burgers to Mama’s best dumplings with lots of vegetarian options. Mel and I settled on a mango/pineapple shake along with splitting 3 tacos from a guy who said he learned to cook tacos while in Santa Barbara. The tacos were pretty good but the salsas had a BBQ sauce sweetness to it.
The day was hot, mid-80s. Our tour of the day was a 2 hour bus tour with sites of the city. We stopped a couple of times for pictures and gardens. The first stop was way around the Bay at Memorial Park where lots of people were setting up chairs, blanket and coolers under the trees for a picnic with sweeping views. At the Sky Tower (see picture of Auckland skyline), for $200 you can bungee jump over the side. Its free if you are over 75 years old. Guess I will add it to my bucket list to come back when I am 75. There is also a rotating restaurant that we ate at last time we were here 4 years ago.
Drove up into quaint suburban towns with pretty weatherboard houses. They tried stucco on houses a few years back, but it didn’t hold up in all the rain, so had to replaced it to brick or the weatherboard. Very, Very expensive real estate as the median price for a home in Auckland is over $1 Million.
After the bus tour we walked Queen St at to look around and also find a grocery store. Bought chips and snacks for us and hearing aid batteries for our ship friends, Nora and Pat. Nora is 87 and forgot to pack hers. Left them on the bed. Similar to me forgetting to pack my dress black shoes. So far, my dress sandals have sufficed.
Next day our bus tour drove out into the country to a sheep farm for morning tea and sheep shearing demonstration. The landscape was rolling hills with pastures, forests and semitropical gardens. Morning tea included a Orange/Barley drink, carrot cake (yummy), ginger crunch (shortcake crust with ginger icing) and chocolate rough (crushed chocolate rice Krispy that had been smashed together?). Mel and I liked them all!! The sheep shearing only took about 3 mins per sheep. Sean said he would shear 300 sheep a day when in season.
Next was a black sand beaches and a Gannet bird sanctuary. Gannets are large sea birds that spend much of their life at sea and migrate between New Zealand and Australia. They come back every 2 years to the same nest to lay their eggs.
No rainbow in Auckland, but the landscape more than made up for it.