Monday, February 12, 2024
Today is our last day to enjoy the sights in New Zealand. We are docked in Auckland, and tomorrow morning we will be leaving the ship to begin our travels home.
One of the first things we noticed as we were arriving in Auckland is the beautiful, large harbor, and all the sailboats. The inhabitants are very interested in sailing. The city has hosted the America's Cup twice, and there are lots of large boat harbors filled with sailboats and some very large yachts. There are even boat garages where a resident of an apartment or condominium can keep their boat when it is not in use. The Kaipara Harbour is the largest harbor in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the largest in the world. It spans 37 miles from north to south.
After breakfast we walked into the city to look around. Auckland is a large urban city with a population of 1.3 million people. One of its charms is that unlike many other cities it has wide streets, wide sidewalks, and lots of greenery, making it very pedestrian friendly. There is a mix of architecture, although it is mostly modern.
After walking back to the ship we dropped in on the Super Bowl party in the theater and had some lunch snacks. (We were wearing the 49er t-shirts we bought in San Francisco). We stayed to watch the start of the game and cheer for the niners. But then we had to go pack and get ready for our afternoon excursion.
In the afternoon we left the city area and drove through some smaller towns and coastal areas. We saw some beautiful houses, beaches, and parks. One house was designed to look like an English castle, by a man who didn't want his English wife to feel homesick.
The highlight was the trip to the top of Fort Victoria where we had a 360 degree view of the area.
Starting in the top left and going clockwise - view to the west; to the south; to the east; to the north.
Our final stop was in the village of Devonport with its older styled buildings. Finally, we took a 12-minute ferry ride back to our ship.
As our trip comes to an end, we are left with some overall impressions of the Australia and New Zealand area.
The people we encountered were all friendly and helpful
A respect for the natural environment and concern about climate change was prevalent everywhere
Multiculturalism was valued and promoted
Wildlife was amazing!
Heading home tomorrow - sad to leave this very interesting part of the world, but looking forward to seeing family, friends, and dogs!