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Published: March 27th 2008
Firstly, I should let you know that I've now been able to upload the photos that belong to my previous entry, but only to Facebook. If you click back into the entry, there's a link that will take you straight to the right page even if you're not a member of Facebook or I'm not on your friends list. For some reason the photo uploading feature on here still isn't working, but at least you can see my pictures now with the added bonus of them being much sharper - Facebook doesn't shrink them as much as this website does. I've done the same for this entry too and you can find the link to those pictures at the bottom.
Yesterday I headed to Waiheke Island which is about half an hour from Auckland by boat. It's a beautiful island, quite large with a population of 8000 and with lots of vineyards and farmland for sheep and cattle as well as beaches and several small towns. The weather was lovely when I was there and the views were amazing. I went on a tour on a small bus driven by a resident of the island, and we visited the main areas of population and had a stroll along Onetangi beach. After the two hour tour I ate lunch on the beach at Oneroa, the largest town, and then browsed through the shops before taking the pretty walk back to the harbour and boarding the ferry home.
That afternoon I went to the cinema to see The Other Boleyn Girl. The screen was on the fifth floor of a very tall building and the escalator had no walls on either side of it - it's probably the first time I've had vertigo at the cinema! The film was very well made with an excellent performance from Natalie Portman as Anne, although the historian in me spent the whole time trying to ignore the historical innacuracies and events that just wouldn't have happened. Despite this I really enjoyed it and would recommend going to see it.
Today I had the last of my three island adventures, to Tiritiri Matangi which is a wildlife reserve about an hour's sail from Auckland. After being turned over to farmland by the English settlers, the whole island was replanted with native trees about 20 years ago and is now home to many of New Zealand's native bird species that find it difficult to thrive elsewhere. Birds in New Zealand have no natural predators so are not scared of humans, and I had great close-up views of the Saddleback, Fantail, Stitch Bird, Bellbird and Tui, as well as the Kakape (I think it was spelled like that) which are large blue beasts that are very interested in sandwiches and won't take no for an answer! The weather was even better today and again there were stunning views as I walked round.
Tomorrow is my last day in Auckland and then I'm setting off on a two-week Connections tour of both the North and South Island on Saturday. I can't wait! This means that blogging may become a bit more sporadic as I'll be busy and staying somewhere new each night, but I'll try to update where possible and promise to upload all my photos when I get to Christchurch. Speaking of which, the pictures of Waiheke and Tiritiri can be found at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=45380&l=c7d72&id=503895728.
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