Friday, October 07, 2016

Homeward Bound

Finally after a week in Auckland, it was time to head back to Palmy. I woke to see the little park outside my window for the last time, and the ground outside was looking wet once more-

 I haven't had a very good record of arriving/leaving Auckland Airport on time lately, but today's flight ran to schedule...
 We got to watch a few other planes leave before we did.
There was a bit of the landscape to see as we left Auckland, but it wasn't long before we entered cloud.

 I was lucky to be on the left hand window side to get a view of Ruapehu as we passed by.
 We emerged from the cloud in time to get some lovely views of the Manawatu countryside as we descended,

 and we could pick out houses over Palmy.
I had a lovely refreshing break in Auckland, but back at home the first thing I was aware of was the birdsong- especially the tuis going crazy in the kowhai tree in the backyard. So I love being home in my own house as well...

Botanic Gardens- Manukau

What a treat lay in store for us at the Auckland Botanic Gardens! They were expansive, and had many different 'sub-areas' to explore. There were curves, there was sculpture, there were little bridges over lakes and streams, there was a children's garden, so much to enjoy and walk past.

 The Botanic Gardens were very special- a lovely place to wander- and much care and thought has clearly gone into their landscaping over the years. If you are in Auckland, go there! (Free entry as well!)
 Yet again it seemed like we had a circle of blue just above our heads- and after a leisurely two hours or so, we returned to the car. It promptly started raining! Truly, our guardian angels were with us again!
 The last thing on my 'bucket list' for this trip was to take an Auckland train. So my niece deposited me by the Manukau Train station, and I enjoyed a relaxed journey back to the CBD.

The ferry trip to Half Moon Bay

On Monday there was another adventure planned with my niece- to the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manukau. When we were working out the options for where we might meet up, she suggested that I take the ferry to Half Moon Bay and she would collect me from there. So I had an excuse for another ferry trip, and lo and behold, it went via Rangitoto!
 When I woke in the morning it was raining again- this has been a very wet spring- but by the time I was walking to the ferry terminal the sun emerged...
 From the ferry- this is the old ferry terminal building.
 We're off into the harbour...
 It was a bit creepy passing by this Chinese spy ship in port for a few days.

 We quickly left the CBD behind.
 And before long we had reached Rangitoto.
 Not so many people were disembarking today.
 Soon we were off again, heading back to the mainland for Half Moon Bay.

 We passed various vessels en route, including some that seemed to be heading to Waiheke Island with vehicles. There was a marina and numerous yachts moored as we approached Half Moon Bay.
 Here is the view looking back towards Rangitoto.
 There weren't many of us getting off at this time of day, but many people were in the queue to get on the ferry to head to the city.

Weekend in Auckland

I spent the weekend exploring a few more places. It rained on and off, but with my raincoat and umbrella I managed to stay mostly dry. On Saturday I used my AT Hop card to get around on the North Shore with buses, then home on the ferry from Devonport. And on Sunday I walked between places- city stays are so good for building up the walking fitness.

My first port of call was a second hand store called JunknDisorderly. Then I headed to Takapuna where I spent some time on the beach that looks out to Rangitoto, and then explored a bit of Devonport.

 When I passed this school I understood some of the challenges facing Auckland schools: the original part of this school was on top of the hill, and all these more temporary buildings have sprawled over what must have been playground.

This sign was not far from the school, so I presume it was child-made.
 Kite-surfers were active off Takapuna Beach in the stiff breeze, and Rangitoto sat stolidly out in the ocean.
Back in port there was another container ship- orange- but a different one from yesterday...

Sunday was quite wet to start with, and a visit to the art gallery promised some indoor warmth.

 Luckily the rain eased off by lunchtime, and I was able to walk outside again. Albert Park had caught my eye as I walked on the Coast to Coast route earlier in the week, and today I was able to explore it some more.

 This was an 'old' part of European Auckland, and there were still signs of those earlier buildings in place.