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Published: July 16th 2014
I was awoken by a text message. Thank you Vodafone because it was 9.40 am. I think that we were tired. I had to have coffee - yes I know it was a fast day but without the coffee I would never have made it through the day.
Well it was too late to do long distance exploring so we sauntered down to the pier to see what was on offer. We decided to go on "a harbour cruise". The cruise was one and a half hours and allowed us to see some of the many islands around the bay near Auckland.
New Zealand is volcanic and the lava has thrown up many islands. The newest is Rangitoto which grew out of the sea a mere 650 years ago. When the convicts were sent to New Zealand their job was to quarry the volcanic rock to build the breakwater along the mainland coast.
Auckland is a mixture of old colonial buildings and modern skyscrapers. Most of the old buildings have been turned into museums. Oh and there are a multitude of multi storey car parks. New Zealand has a population of something like 4m people, 7m sheep and
about 8m cars (the last statistic I made up) but it feels as though most of them are in Auckland. The freight that comes into New Zealand comes into the port of Auckland which is the largest container port. The port is built on land that has been reclaimed from the sea and they are still reclaiming.
Sights we saw on our cruise included Bean Rock Island with one of the original kerosene lighthouses. The light became automatic in 1912. Heading out we approached Rangitoto and saw Waiheke island in the distance beyond it. (More about the latter to come the next day.)
We then circled back to Devonport which is home to the New Zealand navy. The navy is responsible for search and rescue missions not only around the New Zealand Coast but also in the Pacific amongst other island nations. The old Devonport houses have to retain their original exteriors although the interiors can be modernised and updated. A developer built a skyscraper but after the first one the residents demanded the council to retract permissions for further constructions.
We came back under the harbour bridge originally constructed as a four lane traffic bridge, but
there was so much traffic that clip-on lanes were added. Now on a bad day it can still take 1 1/2 hours to cross the bridge so they are considering a tunnel under the water to augment the bridge. One of the features of the under bridge is bungee jumping into the water. Only for the brave hearted in summer and mad in winter!
We sailed past the Hilton hotel which is designed in the shape of a cruise ship. I don't think that we have seen such an ugly building! We also passed a really strangely designed building. On the exterior are small panels designed to absorb every particle of sunlight to turn it into heat for heating not only water but the entire building, as well as distributing light throughout the building interior. Wind is funnelled through a funnel on the roof to ventilate the building. It is a template for ecologically friendly buildings which will be constructed, obsoleting the huge ugly storage tanks which used to hold gasoline. Now petroleum is pumped directly by pipeline to and from the refineries. As well as ecologically friendly buildings there will be parks and greenery on the site.
After our harbour tour we wandered back to the hotel to break our fast on a cake and water. We then drove over to the girls' apartment where Gwenlli cooked a risotto. Finally back to the hotel to study a page of daf yomi and bed.
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