Saturday, March 20, 2010


Today was our last half day in Auckland, and then a flight to Christchurch. This evening we are relaxing in a B&B in Christchurch and taking time to catch up on the blog.

Yesterday was a really lovely day. Yesterday morning we went to the Auckland Museum where we were to meet Katie's cyber friend from the baseball swap. We arrived at the museum early to see a little bit of it and to take in the "Maori Experience" that takes place at the museum. The Maori are the native people from the two islands. They were here hundreds of years before the first european settlers. They are of polynesian ancestry and if you know anything about the polynesian culture you know they basically populated the pacific islands over many hunderds of years. They knew navigation by the stars. Think of the book Hawaii. The Maori provides just a brief glimpse of their culture. The museum has a rather large section dedicated to their culture. The "Maori Experience" is stories, song, and dance that is typical of their culture.

We met "sally" at the museum and headed out to find some lunch. She took us across the bay bridge to a lovely cafe. From there we headed back across the bridge and ended up at the Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Enoucnter and Underwater World. It has a display of penguins and sharks. It was constructed at the site of the sewage treatment plant that served Auckland. It has a penquin habitat complete with snow and penguins. Think "March of the penguins" because it had the large Emperior penguins. It is also unique because Kelly Tarlton was the first user of large plexiglass tubes placed under water to view sharks and fish.

Then yesterday evening we met up with "Sally's" husband and had a lovely dinner. Overall a really fun day.

This morning, we walked from our hotel to the warf and toured the Auckland Maritime museum. It covers New Zealand maritime history, starting with the migration of the ployniseans (Maori) and the early discoveries by Able Tasman and Captain Cook. It also has displays on the importance of ocean navigation to the history of New Zealand. Of course it would not be complete without a display of the New Zealand Americans cup racing yachts.

This afternoon we flew to Christchurch. We picked up a rental car and successfully navigated from the airport to our B&B. (Remember, they drive on the wrong side of the road here). I have driven in England before, so it is not a new experience, but the last time I did that was over 20 years ago. But I think it is going to be like riding a bicycle, and will become easire tomorrow and over the next few days.

Tomorrow, we are off to Hammicker Springs enroute to Nelson and Able Tasman National Park. It should be fun.

These last two pictures were taken from the Skytower in downtown Auckland. I guess I'm adding them just to prove we are really here! In anycase enjoy the pictures.

Until next time!

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