We woke two days ago (3 days for most of you) to the beautiful view of the waterfront in Auckland. I hope someday the Seattle waterfront is as nice. We took a long walk, saw some beautiful boats, ate a yummy breakfast and packed up for a tour of Auckland and then our drive to Rotorua.
Colin, our tour guide picked us up and we headed out to learn about Auckland, it’s history and botany. Colin was a wealth of knowledge. We stopped by the University of Auckland and he showed us this very interesting stone perimeter that was built in around 1845 when one tribe of Maori asked the British for protection from another musket toting tribe. He also shared a wonderful knowledge of the trees including the rare Pohutukawa tree which was harvested almost to extinction because of its great height and strength. It grows so slowly that it is very hard to grow back in large numbers. I also personally loved the fern trees and the silver ferns (a NZ icon like the kiwi bird).
The Maori’s strong warrior culture made them a strong ally in times of war and we had the opportunity to see the war museum memorial. It’s perched on a hill with a great view of the city.
Colin dropped us off at the Sky Tower to get an even better view of Auckland. It’s much smaller than the Space Needle, but gave us a great perspective. Then we head to the north shore (similar to West Seattle) for another lovely view of the city. All along the way we learned and shared great conversations.
We said our goodbyes to Colin as he dropped us off for our rental car where we had a bit of tension before truly experiencing the effects of the time and latitude shift. We were heading out to drive on the left side of the road chanting: “stay left!”
We got the hang of it pretty easily as we drove. The forests we passed as we got closer to Rororua were dense and primeval with their tall ferns trees. Another shift in the space time continuum is that as we drive south we get more fall colors and of course we are entering fall. We skipped spring and summer (which we understand intellectually, but it is still odd).