Jan 27 - And We're Off!!January 27, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C
First of all, KIA ORA!!! Pronounced KEY OR AH - it means, “Hello” in Maori.
Up at 6:00 a.m. Breakfast at 6:30 a.m. It was a really nice, extensive breakfast buffet, but I still choke at paying $30 CAD for breakfast.
Our coach is LOVELY!!! Check out the pictures - it even has Wifi! Our tour director is Linda - she is a wealth of information and is a very smooth driver.
We left promptly at 8:00 a.m. on another warm, sunny, clear day. We did a short drive around Auckland, but not the downtown area - the massive construction project for the subway system has made most of the streets impassable for the bus. We drove out to the Auckland Domain where we had gone on Saturday. Then we headed to a suburb called Parnell, named after Samuel Parnell who advocated for and won the 40-hour work week for workers in New Zealand. Parnell is now a very ritzy and desirable place to live. Then we drove out along the shore on Tamaki Drive - the same route that we took yesterday to go to the aquarium. The view is simply mesmerizing. What a beautiful day all the sailors got for the massive annual regatta. We saw the huge shipping docks again. There is a proposal to move the entire shipping enterprise 2.5 hours north of the city to allow more of the harbour to be repatriated for enjoyment. The cost of the proposal is billions of dollars and will need a huge investment in roads and railways. The north of the country is the most economically challenged so residents there are rooting for the move so they can enjoy the good jobs that will follow.
It was time to head north. We crossed the Harbour Bridge, the one where the light show had been on Saturday night. I found out later that we could have streamed accompanying music on my phone. Maybe next time!! The number of lanes of the Harbour Bridge was doubled a number of years ago - the work was done by Nippon who built “clip on” sections that were bolted to the original structure. Yup - they are called “Nippon Clip Ons!"
Many people say that New Zealand looks like Canada - and I have to agree, it does. We passed drove through low rolling hills with lots of farms (beef, sheep) and lots and lots of trees. It’s been very dry here, so many the fields were brown and withered.
Our first stop was in Parry Kauri Park near Warkworth to see the McKinney Kauri. Kauri is a coniferous tree that covered huge swaths of the North Island. Second only in size to the sequoia tree, kauri was valued for shipbuilding, furniture making and bracing for mines and tunnels. The forests were decimated by over harvesting, leaving only a very few pockets of growth today that are highly protected. The majestic McKinney Kauri at an estimated 800 years old has a girth of 25 feet.
Our next stop was the Kauri Museum in Matakohe. This museum tells the story of the harvesting of the kauri tree and its gum that was used to make varnishes. They have a replica steam sawmill so Doug was in mechanical heaven. The gum solidifies and looks like amber - there was a huge display of carved pieces - fascinating to see. Learned something important at the museum - that New Zealand women were the first in the world to vote - 1893!!!Read more