Goin' Down, Under travel blog

Sunrise in Auckland Harbour

Auckland awakens

Auckland business district from atop Mt. Eden (crater is below)

Maori totem at the Auckland Museum

Japanese "Zero" at the Museum

Largest lily pads I've every seen

Paul & Jim over Auckland harbour (at NZ's 1st PM's monument)

As is typical on a cruise, our final night was somewhat spoiled by the requirement to have your suitcases packed and left outside your cabin door the final night. That didn't seem to stop our group from enjoying a terrific final late dinner, and after-dinner cocktails in one of the ship's lounges though. As anyone who knows me will recognize, that meant I didn't get my packing done and head for bed last night until after 1:30 a.m.

Although I woke up early, at about 6:00, I discovered the ship was already in port at Auckland. I went up to the top deck, took some pictures of the sun coming up before grabbing breakfast and getting ready to disembark. Although our group was among the first groups off the ship at 8:00 a.m. (to ease congestion on the pier, everyone is given colour-coded tags and you're not permitted to leave until your colour is called), problems with our bus meant we didn't leave the pier until about 9:30 a.m. Then it was off for a tour of Auckland.

We had an interesting trip up to the top of Mount Eden, the largest of dozens of vocanoes that cover much of the city's landscape. Great views, but the visit was somewhat marred by the grey skies and high winds the kept up for most of the day. We then had an opportunity to visit the Auckland Museum. Unfortunately I spent far too much of our allotted time visiting the Maori exhibits on the first floor, and all but ran through the second (natural history of the area) and the third floor which was devoted to New Zealand's history with warfare and things military.

I must say our tour guide on this occasion was awful. Highly disorganized and not all that knowledgeable of the city. That meant the drive around in the afternoon was an almost complete waste of time. By the time we checked into the hotel late that afternoon, most had already enjoyed a nap on the bus, or were so tired from the experience of the droning tour guide, they were ready when they got to their room.

Our usual small group headed out to a wonderful Italian restaurant in the evening, while gale force winds and rains blew through the city. Clearly we're in the fall shoulder season, and winter is on its way.

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