Friday, March 2, 2018

Day 15 - Fri Mar 2, 2018 Auckland, New Zealand - Crystal Symphony - Sydney to Tahiti

Day 15 – Auckland, NZ – Fri Mar 2, 2018

We watched the sail-in to Auckland and sunrise as we walked on the Promenade Deck.  Auckland is located on a narrow isthmus between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.  It is NZ’s largest city at 1.5 million and has a beautiful skyline.  Queen’s Wharf is our docking location and we are steps away from the city.  It is nicknamed the “City of Sails” and it is evident why when you see all the sail boats in the harbor.

Today we decided on a City Highlights Tour with Time Unlimited Tours to give us an overview of the area.   The tour included a beautiful shore side drive, beautiful beaches, panoramic views, a visit to the marine village of Devonport.  A highlight was the two extinct volcanoes that we hiked to.  Our volcanologist guide Romy was very personable and full of facts and enthusiasm about NZ.  It was very informative and enjoyable.

One item Romy told us was how did New Zealanders get the name Kiwi. It turns out that it came from World War I. Kiwi polish was made in Australia with a Kiwi bird on it (had nothing to do with New Zealand, other than the name and bird being on it). The New Zealand soldiers all brought Kiwi boot polish with them to fight and eventually they got known as the Kiwi's because it was something they did (shined their boots with the Kiwi polish).

Auckland also has a 3,348 foot bridge that joins the city with the North Shore.

We visited the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park. It was originally Maori land that the government asked if they could build a military base upon. The Maori said sure and gave it to them government. But the government changed its mind. Eventually they decided that they were going to sell it and turn into very valuable real estate. The Maori objected and basically built a tent camp to sit on the land and protest for 206 days. Near the end, a small child died and the government relented returning the land to the Maori people. The Maori's then decided to just make it a public park which endeared them to the local people. This was a huge turning point in the relationships.
Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park.

Our guide Romy telling another story from the top of the Mount Victoria volcano.

The harbor bridge from Mount Victoria.

The New Zealand Navy (all of it according to Romy).

Rangitoto Island, the youngest volcano in Auckland (600 years old). The toadstools are ventilation vents.

Mount St. John - a true volcano crater.

Once back on onboard we headed to the Marketplace for a quick lunch and then down to see the afternoon movie “The Last Word” with Shirley Maclaine and Amanda Seyfried.  We both liked this tale about a successful businesswoman who no one had a nice thing to say about, including her family.  She wanted her obituary written while she was still alive and set out to make a difference in some people’s lives so that there would be nice things to say about her.  It had a lot of funny lines and she turned her life around prior to her death.

Dinner tonight was in the Waterside.  Julie enjoyed Terrine of Buffalo Mozzarella, Appetizer Fusilli Arrabiata and Steak Diane for her entrée and Chocolate Mint Trifle for dessert.

Bob had Ibertico Portk Secreto with Mango Beads, Siracha-Cabbage Slaw and Coconut Gel, Appetizer Fusilli Arrabiata and he also had Steak Diane (and triple caramel ice cream for dessert).

The evening’s entertainment was local Maori dancers that were brought onboard to talk about how they came to this land, how they trained for battles and finally performed the traditional dance, The Haka.

Here is a video of the Haka:

We are overnight in Auckland tonight.  The next cruise segment starts tomorrow, with many passengers leaving the ship and new ones boarding.  We sail out of Auckland tomorrow evening.

We walked 5.94 miles, 14,340 steps and 32 fights of stairs.

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