Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Having visited Tasmania and really loving the place it was time to move on.  Even with scenery like this we had to go.
I'm not quite sure where the idea came from to visit Tasmania first and then New Zealand but that was our plan.  In hindsight maybe doing NZ first would have made more sense but now we had to make our way to New Zealand.  You might think that would be an easy thing but actually it's reasonably difficult.  In the end we spent the better part of a day flying from Hobart to Sydney then Sydney to Wellington. 

We had heard that due to seismic activity that transport on the South Island was difficult so decided to limit our visit to the North Island.  It was a shame since I know the South Island is supposed to be spectacular but we were still limited by time as well.  I'd heard about the scenic train that runs between Wellington and Auckland and we were able to get tickets on the day after we arrived in Wellington.  The train runs north on one day then the next day it returns to the south so we had to leave on the day after we'd arrived.

The train has four carriages and a viewing carriage that has no seats or windows, the better for taking photos.  I spent a fair amount of time out there!  LOL  The North Island has quite a bit of farming in addition to lovely mountains and valleys.  I won't admit to how many photos of cows, sheep and horses I took!

I must admit that I wasn't the only one back in the viewing car.  At one point the train track actually goes around in a huge circle crossing the track again in a tunnel under it all to try and get down a mountain.  It brought out the photographers for sure.
The downside for the train is that it is a 12 hour trip and that's if you get off on time.  We were about half an hour late getting started so we were on the train from shortly after 07:00 and arrived in Auckland after 19:00.  The station in Auckland is pretty much a joke.  I'd read about it but hadn't really believed that it could be that lousy.  I was wrong.

There was a bus to take you downtown but it was full in an instant and our hotel wasn't downtown anyway.  There were a few cabs but there was a huge queue for them so we decided to walk.  We weren't out of the parking lot when a couple of guys who had been working on the train stopped us.  We explained we were going to walk to our hotel but they insisted on taking us in their car and boy were they lifesavers.  Our hotel was in a suburb called Parnell which is probably 3 miles from downtown and all uphill.  It would have taken a long while to walk not to mention we'd probably have gotten lost.  Thank you, Mark and friend from NZ Rail!

The next day we started exploring Auckland.  It is a beautiful city but you've got to like hills.  We ended up walking down to the city then taking the bus up the hill when we were tired in the evening.  That was a cool deal.  Of course we headed for the water first thing.
The waterfront is protected from intruders by this huge old fence.  It was painted to within an inch of it's life too.  It was definitely red.  Behind the fence were the wharfs.
This ship was visiting the first day we arrived.  The next day there was a different cruise liner in the same place.  Off to the right was a car carrier and, again, the next day there was a different car carrier.  The port is just crazy busy. 

One of the things I really love is the mix of old and new buildings.  These fantastic new creations are just across the street from a beautiful old building.  I thought it was just great. 

I didn't mention the reason for being in a hotel in the suburbs:  cost.  When we were looking we were seeing typical prices of $400 a night in downtown.  I know the NZ dollar is less than the US but still that was over our willingness to spend.  Even so we were in the $150 range.  An advantage of the suburb was that there were some really excellent restaurants around so that was enjoyable.
There was also the view from our little balcony.  It was nice at sunset with two chairs and a small table and a bottle of New Zealand wine.  Soon enough though we needed to leave New Zealand and return to Australia to continue our explorations.  Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

Croft said...

What a trip! My sister has traveled the world and says the two places she would most like to return to are New Zealand and Russia.