Day 2: Auckland Scenic
20.02.2013 - 20.02.2013 25 °C
Good night's sleep followed by a sumptuous breakfast. We were very controlled but had one desired we could have put on 15 kilos in one sitting..... How about a hot chocolate fountain to dip your breakfast fruit pieces!! Plus the usual array of US, Asian and European alternatives to choose from. Spent the morning on the Inner Circuit bus system which runs around central Auckland. $1.90 for as long as you like but you have to pay again each time you hop off. We went right around the loop to get our bearings. Great bus system with digital timetables at all bus stops. Metro Circuit is free hop-on-hop-off we were told. Buses modern and clean. Drivers that we encountered very polite.
Auckland is not unlike Sydney but probably a bit closer to the older parts of SanFrancisco or LA. Built on an old volcanic field area so there are lots of
Peaks with some very steep climbs on narrow roads. Colonial past redolent in street names with some wide boulevards such as Great North Rd, Khyber Pass and Dominion Rd along which one can almost see the troops marching to and from the harbour. Queen St is the George St of Auckland. Older buildings of timber construction (weatherboard) or other flexible materials - even though there has not been a quake in this part of NZ for some time. Most residential places only two floors. Commercial buildings now with a different building code but there is still very little hi-rise. Tallest building is the Skycity Tower which dominates the skyline wherever you are in the city. It has a harbour bridge similar to but smaller than Sydney. Of course, being NZ, you can bungy jump from both.
Visited the Art Gallery which recently had a substantially expensive upgrade to check out some historical art depicting early European/Maori interaction. There was also some interesting modern art including dynamic/interactive pieces.
Back to the hotel to catch up on some business and a swim.
Meeting the rest of our Scenic Tour group at dinner tonight.
Only 27 people on the tour so plenty of room on the bus. Heading North tomorrow.