Monday, 13 January 2014

Auckland Awesome-ness

Some places in New Zealand can come across like Jurassic Park, wild and unpopulated, its rugged landscape is what has made it popular with film makers and tourists alike. Auckland on the other hand is New Zealand’s most populous urban area. In 2011, Auckland was ranked third in the Mercer Quality of Living Survey.
Due to the level of people living in Auckland, it is easy to forget sometimes that that hill you are currently traipsing up is in fact a Volcano. Dormant Volcano’s seem to be a staple landmark in Auckland as there are in actual fact 50 all together, with Mount Eden being the largest. Of course people live on the slopes, and the top of Mount Eden is a popular tourist spot as its height provides a great viewing platform.
From here you can in fact see the next neighbourly dormant Volcano, mount Rangitoto. Just across the water –day trips are available to go over to Rangitoto Island where visitors are allowed to explore the cave like “lava tubes” of the Volcano. As long as you can run fast I’m sure.
mount rangitoto
One of the best ways to see this part of New Zealand is by boat. If you can curb your jealousy for long enough, you can spend days with families who spend their life on the water – sailing around in yachts, they catch their breakfast every morning and their dinner every night. At lunch time you’ll be treated to shellfish caught fresh straight from the ocean floor, and after that feel free to dive in and have a swim around. The water is crystal clear and if you’re lucky you might even see some of New Zealand’s ‘Blue Penguins’ who enjoy bobbing about in the water on their backs.
Waiheke Island – which is a name I find insanely hard to pronounce without doing a New Zealand accent, is also accessible by Ferry. Located just off the coast of Auckland it is most commonly known for its wine tasting and vineyards and is an actual fact nicknamed New Zealand’s “Island of Wine”. The climate is suitable for growing Bordeaux style grapes and chalets at the top of the island provide stunning views as you sip your wine in style. Well, style until you end up getting chased by some frantic bird with a blue body and a red beak. Which yes I later discovered to be a Pukeko, the countries least harmful bird. It was all very distressing.
waiheke island
Another aspect worth mentioning about Auckland is the museum. The National Museum of Natural History has recently opened a display showcasing the Giant Squid. Only in recent years has this elusive monster been seen by human eyes and Aucklands museum proudly boasts two, a male and a female measuring at 20 feet and 22 feet respectively. The museum is also home to tonnes of other native marine life, and is also a good place to learn about the Maori – New Zealands ancestral natives.


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