Wednesday was penguins and horse racing. . . .and a great excuse for doing nothing

Auckland Travel Blog

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King penguins

We had breakfast from the buffet at the hotel which would later prove to be a $ 55 mistake.  Note to self - never eat anything until you know what it costs. 

 

A cab ride to the east side of the harbor took us to see Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World.  This was our first chance to see penguins and also to walk thru those clear tubes inside large aquariums and see fish, sharks and turtles swimming around and over us.    Gentoo and King penguins were together in a large area (Gentoo are the ones with what looks like white earmuffs on).  Some Kings were swimming or incubating eggs but many were just lying around.  This is how they regulate their temperature (remember they’re black on top to absorb heat and white on their chests to reflect heat) and they also stretch their feet out to increase the heat flow.

This fish actually posed for me
  Regulating temperature is a big deal for penguins and they seem to spend a lot of time at it (in the future I plan to use this as an excuse for lying around  “Sorry, I can’t (wash dishes, sweep, clean, etc. . .) I’m busy regulating my temperature.”

 

The gentoo penguins are very active.  The Zoo Keeper said that Tarlton’s has a very successful breeding program and that the resulting gentoo babies are a real handful.  Between 1 and 3 years old, the penguin babies get into everything, tear up portions of the exhibit, and have even commandeered and started jumping on the rafts used to bring food to them. 

 

The Auckland Cup races were at Ellerslie Park today and we went to see the horse racing.

The Auckland Cup races
  Our cab driver gave us a few betting tips (which we were subsequently glad we listened to).   It was a dressy crowd, much like the Kentucky Derby with men in suits and women in dresses and wearing large hats.  The horses however run in a clockwise direction in New Zealand (as cars drive on the left side of the road).  The Racing Form was also different (that’s my excuse for not picking more winners) with the most recent results listed last of a maximum of three results.  It was all very familiar and very different at the same time.  We had coffee and watched people in between the horse races.  People in Auckland are generally tanned, fit and tall.  Also very friendly.

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King penguins
King penguins
This fish actually posed for me
This fish actually posed for me
The Auckland Cup races
The Auckland Cup races
Awards for the winners
Awards for the winners
Auckland
photo by: Fulla