Back to Auckie to get my Sea Legs
Auckland Travel Blog› entry 18 of 52 › view all entries
There is a bit of a dichotomy about Auckland: To an outsider like me itâ€™s a fabulous cosmopolitan city with everything going for itâ€¦it has a distinct centre, fabulous cuisine, a lively entertainment scene, impressive buildings and beautiful coastal views on almost every corner. But then once you tune in to it thereâ€™s a current of Anti-Auckland bitching sweeping all over the country. Even Aucklanders seem a bit apologetic about their city although theyâ€™re not entirely sure why.
The problem is not least its size: at 1.2 million itâ€™s residents number over a quarter of all New Zealanders. Perhaps the lure of wealth drains resource from the rest of the country, or does it feed into it?â€¦I donâ€™t know, Iâ€™m hopeless at Economics.
The 2 other bones of contention are that â€˜It lacks characterâ€™ which is not at all true. It has bundles of character; It just happens to be that Aucklandâ€™s particular character is pleasant and middle class and convenient and new. Perhaps the council need to scatter a few decaying buildings about, held together with wattle & daub (ancient building method using dung) and sprinkle the odd junkie around the edges, to pacify the soul seekers who took a wrong turn when leaving Europe.
The final favorite whinge is about the public transport system, which is entirely justified as itâ€™s awful!
On board Galantis.
When Delicate Attributes were being handed out I was dearly hoping for delicate fingers, or ankles, or cheekbonesâ€¦.
Anyway I digress, what I meant to say was that I get very motion sick, so it was with vast helpings of stupiditude that I decided I wanted to learn to sail.
In the interests of word preservation, hereâ€™s an e-mail I wrote shortly after returning from the week on board the good ship Galantis, which basically sums up the whole escapade:
Happy New Year! Blah Blah Blah Blah
This week I've been learning to sail in the Huaraki Gulf.
Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah
Stay well - Love Nat x
What this message doesnâ€™t do justice to is the Total, Absolute, Comprehensive, There-Could-Be-No-Other Coolness of Skipper Tom. If I were a man Iâ€™d want to be this man: Heâ€™s softly spoken, yet as tough as an Ox. He has no pretences and sees the world as an adventure playground but not without being sensitive to the serious bits.
One last thing I didnâ€™t mention: The Huraki Coast is breathtakingly beautiful; thereâ€™s billions of islands, islets, coves and harbours, many playing host to rare & beautiful birds. The seaâ€™s a fresh twinkling blue and full of cute aquatic creatures. My favourite is the Pacific Blue Penguin which I saw twice. My least favourite is the Dolphin, which I did not see once, but everyone else swears are abundant so I can only assume they were avoiding me on purpose.
The Mount: Bay Of Plenty
The proper name for The Mount is Mount Maunganui which is a playground town with a stunning extinct little volcano sitting at the end of an attractive peninsula.
I was fortunate to be invited to join the Auckland crew; Graeme, Carole, Jenny, Dave, James & Jenna to spend my last NZ weekend at the Mount.
Less fortunate was the weather, which was so remarkably unsummery that it made national news. When we arrived at the mount on Saturday, all that could be seen was thick, thick fog. The others kept telling me â€˜I canâ€™t believe this, itâ€™s so beautiful and youâ€™re missing it!â€™ We kept crossed fingers for a better day tomorrow but if anything the fog solidified overnight, like a milk jelly in the fridge.
Breeding time at The Zoo
My final adventure in Auckland was to go to the Zoo with the express intention of seeing a real live Kiwi. Kiwi's are nocturnal so their hut is all dark save for some soft red lights. its almost impossible to see anything inside which is exactly what I didn't see on my first trip. So I went off instead to the African Adventure Park as a sort of practice for the real thing in 6 months time.
Thankfully before I became consumed with panic and made a move on the (very young but probably legal) boy collecting tickets on the gate, I spotted a lone Hippo, well actually a twentieth of a Hippo: a nicely asexual lump sticking out of the water, lolling quietly.