Day 18 – Auckland, New Zealand
This is our second visit to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city – 1.5 million of their 4.5 million citizens live in this beautiful city on the country’s north island. Many times on a long cruise we are at the pier before we wake up and it is always interesting to see the locale for the first time. This time, rather a dock or a container pier, we were greeted by a condominium complex just a few feet from our balcony.
This stop is relatively long for a one day stop – arrive at 7am and sail at 8 pm, so Sally and I decided to make the most of it and got off the ship early to launch the day’s adventure. After breakfast we caught a ferry across the harbor to the town of Devonport.
Auckland recedes in the background, with our ship being refueled on the right and the Ferry Building on the left, as we head to Devonport.
Devonport, with Victoria Peak in the background.
We walked through town and hiked to the top of Victoria Peak, which afforded us great views of Devonport and Auckland and in addition had a huge cannon which was installed in 1899 when the Kiwi’s feared invasion from the Russians.
This cannon was fired once in 1899, but it broke so many windows in Devonport that it was never fired again.
On the way down the hill a rainstorm hit, so we hustled into the nearest pub, just in time to avoid the downpour. We enjoyed their local brew and some apple cider and watch the storm blow through.
We caught the ferry back to Auckland, and bought some tickets for the hop a bus for a ride out to the Auckland Museum, which from our previous visit we know to be a storehouse of info on Maori and Polynesian culture.
While this photo obviously can’t be read in detail, I included it because it illustrates a subject I have found very interesting on our visits to Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, Easter Island, etc. On all of those islands, populated by different Polynesian peoples, the languages are different, but have much commonality – indicating a common derivative source. Analyzing the languages, researchers have concluded that the Maori and Tahitians had a common source, the Samoans and Tongans did, and the Hawaiians and eastern Tahitians did also. This indicates the probable migration routes. The western countries on the map, Australia, New Guinea, Fiji, etc., were not populated by Polynesians, probably due to their earlier settlement by Melanesian peoples.
A Maori storage house. This belonged to the chief of a tribe and the carvings on it depict his ancestors. The carvings have iridescent shells for eyes.
The Maori are known for their “pre-battle” Haka, which is a ritual dance the Maori performed before entering battle. They used this to prepare themselves for battle and perhaps intimidate the enemy into giving up before the fight. Today, the Haka is performed as a pre-game ritual by the All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby team, who are World Rugby Champions. The museum has many of these carvings which show the Haka “look” with tongue extended.
Leaving the museum we jumped on the next bus which took us back to the wharf area. We walked down to the yacht basin which was built specifically for Americas Cup, when last held here. This was the Kiwi boat which was beaten by Dennis Connors, the first year he introduced a catamaran to the competition. He handily beat the Kiwis who promptly sued, claiming the boat was unfair. The case went back and forth on appeal, with the US prevailing. Today, all Americas Cup entrants are catamarans.
We went around the corner from the boat, to the Snap Dragon Restaurant, and had a delicious dinner before heading back to the ship. We spent all day far afield and hustled back to the ship just as we were setting sail.
If you can’t afford wifi, good marketing helps.
Off to Sydney.