Sunday, December 26
En route from Tahiti to Auckland, it was announced that we were about to cross the International Date Line and in one split second we moved from Sunday, December 26 to Monday December 26 – 24 hours later. The flying time from Tahiti to Auckland was about 5 hours and the time difference was 1 hour earlier. I was able to stretch out on the Pan Am plane flight for an hour or so.
As we approached New Zealand, it appeared so green and brown beaches hugged the waters edge.
We were driven through countryside with small houses (suburban area) to the city. We viewed harbor and water all along. Drove up a steep hill to the Hotel Intercontinental which looks out on the harbor on one side and the hills on the other. We took a short nap. Ate at the Captain Sally (Jo had 6 small oysters ($2.00) plus seafood soup ($1.50) and I had a chicken salad sandwich ($1.50). Walked down the hill to Queen Street and took a ferry across the harbor to Devonport. Returned in same ferry. Visited a few open shops at the Airline Terminal Arcade. Saw sheepskin rugs, gemstones, black and unusual opal, leather goods, koala and opossum fur, Maoi carvings. Walked up the steep hill. Decided to take a nap before eating. Got into bed at 5:30 and didn’t get up until 6 o clock. Over 12 hours in bed!
Tuesday December 28
Found the restaurant was open at 6:30. Rushed up to the top of the building, then waited for a ½ hour. Had a buffet breakfast. Fruits, eggs, orange and watermelon, cooked peaches and plums, bacon, sausage, toast, fresh roll, cereals, tea. Brought wheat wafers and yogurt to our room.
Boarded the bus at 9 for a sightseeing tour. In Auckland are found Polynesians (largest population of South Pacific here – Samara and Tonga) Moais. Cook Islanders and representatives from other countries. Dutch discovered the New Zealand Island in 1742 and Captain Cook rediscovered it in 1769.
The Moais came over from Hawaii 500 years before the British. Since the end of the war of 25 years duration, about 1865, the Moai and whites have been peaceful.
We drove through part of the city, seeing the Farmers Department Store – 7 floors tall, 1 acre on each floor. As we drove along we saw one of the 60s volcanic peaks. We saw Rangitoto Island, the last to be erupted. There is little soil there, only shrubs are growing. We saw the Pokutara tree which blooms for only about 2 weeks at Christmas time. Beautiful red flowers – Mimosa type.
We crossed over Harbor Bridge, very tall so sugar ships can go under on way to sugar refinery. Beneath the bridge is a wharf on Waitemata Harbor where the group will go for dinner tonight. We aren’t.
Auckland is a city that was planned as was Wellington and Christ Church. It has grown and it is now the largest city in New Zealand.
- Ford Falcon costs $12,000 to $14,000 – cheapest car is $5000
- Today a new home covering 1,000 square feet costs $40, 000 - $80,000
- Real estate taxes on a $25,000 home is $200 per year
- Salary is $200 a week, take home pay about $130 a week
- Petrol costs $1.23 per gallon, may go up to $1.50 a gallon
- Fillet of steak is $1.20 a lb. Pork is $1.50 per lb.
- Hospitals and schools are free
- There is little heavy industry, exports are few in number, timber is exported
We drove to the Auckland Domain – the largest park in the city. We viewed the War Memorial out front and went into the museum. The first floor had a wonderful Maoi exhibit – tikis, carved homes, one canoe (80 ft long), various hunting and cooking utensils. The second floor had the natural history museum (saw a stuffed Kiwi and tuatara). Also there was an exhibit of archaeology – condensed but very good. The third floor has a war memorial wing and an area done for the centennial with quaint streets lined with various shapes. We had a coffee in the coffee shop.
We drove up to the top of Mt. Eden. This was once a Maoi encampment. Inside the mound was the leveled volcanic floor. Except for a small central rocked region, the entire hill was covered with grass. From this hill we could get a complete panoramic view of Auckland and the beaches.
Do you even remember what you had for dinner last night? Thanks to Cath's detailed journals, we know she accidentally had sloth soup for dinner 53 years ago while visiting the Amazon. Read through these interesting chronicles for memorable anecdotes from Cath's travels.