One can learn many things on an Auckland day tour. Most notably:
- Auckland’s Sky Tower is taller than the Sydney’s. The tour guide/coach driver was very specific about that.
- School children in yellow and black school uniforms are undistinguishable from bees. Make the same sound too.
- People with allergies like myself should stay clear of the Auckland Rose Garden *waaa-CHOOO*
- The Eden Gardens are the largest gardens in the Southern Hemisphere. Apparently, that matters. To someone. No idea who.
- 1.5 million people out of a total population of 4.5 million live in Auckland
Part of the day tour included time to spend at the Auckland Zoo. I wonder if the animals are shy or just fed up bring scrutinised. Almost all of them only had their hindquarters visible. I did, however, get to see a Kiwi bird.
That done, the afternoon was spent meandering through a reclaimed area of the waterfront now known as Wynyard Quarter. They have done this right. Where there used to be oil storage tanks is now upscale restaurants with name like Jack Tar, Urban Turban, Rush Worth and Gelatamio, which claims to have the best espresso in the country.
Craig said, “Yes, the planning council was very specific when deciding on zoning allotments.” Craig is a front desk manager at the Viaduct Events Centre and rightfully proud of the area. “More redeveloping is being planned right now. In five years all that area…” he made an expansive sweep northeastward “… will be completely different than you see it now.” He’s clearly excited at the changes being done, and with good reason.
Further along I meet Bryce. He and a small film crew are making a corporate video for Air New Zealand. “What part of America are you from?” I say Ontario. He frowns apologetically. “Oh. Sorry, mate.” I wave it off, no offence taken. I say that I live in Kitchener. “I have family in St Catharines,” he says, relieved. “I know where Kitchener is, never been there though.”
Heavy cloud started to roll in so it was time to cut my walk short.
I might just go to Urban Turban for dinner his evening.
It’s off to Paihia tomorrow morning to, among other things, try my hand at marlin or tuna fishing.