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Published: September 24th 2006
View from Mount Eden
Looking across the crater back towards the Sky Tower.
Another week at work (our last) was punctuated on Tuesday night by some celebrations for Simon's 26th birthday. After some pub grub, we went to the Silo Theatre, part of 'The Edge' complex just off Aotea Square. The play was called 'Take Me Out' and had won a Tony award in 2003. Set in America, it dealt with attitudes/fallout from a baseball player's announcement that he was gay. Although we were aware that it 'contained nudity', we were to discover that the set contained showers and at one point six men were butt naked, showering playing out a locker room scene!! An interesting experience, especially since the theatre was tiny and we were on the front row.
On Saturday we headed out early after serious issues with our hostel. We have decided that after six or so weeks it is definitely time to leave the Kiwi hostel - many of the staff are complete morons and share a couple of brain cells between them. When all the electricity went off in the kitchen on Friday night there was much umming and ahhing, but nothing at all productive being done. Luckily we had just about finished cooking and could only watch
as some poor German people tried to prepare pasta with nothing but hot water from the kettle (which still worked).
We met our group near the Western Springs park and settled onto a coach for what was to be a short tour around some volcanic sites in the City, starting with Mount Eden. This is the tallest cone on the Isthmus (not counting Rangitoto) and would have had great views had it not been a very cloudy and grim sort of a day. As it was, you could still see a very deep and impressive crater and look around to see many other cones punctuating the skyline. It is estimated there are somewhere between 50-60, making Auckland a fairly unique landscape. After Mount Eden we had a look around some areas of lava flow and then the picturesque Western Springs reserve, which is where a lava flow meets harder rock, forcing crystal clear waters up. There were so many ducks, swans, geese and other birds, some with little ducklings who had done their best to survive the numerous eels that live in the spring water lakes - at one point a swan snapped angrily at some eels to protect
her offspring (although I think Simon was secretly hoping there would be some carnage).
In the afternoon we ventured down to the harbour for another free tour courtesy of the Heritage Festival, and cruised around the harbour. Auckland is known as the 'City of Sails' and there were plenty about in the blustery wind, including 'The Pride of New Zealand' which is an impressive sailing boat that is used by youth groups and other charities. The trip was finished up with some award-winning gelato at one of the wharf-side cafes - Yum!
On Sunday we climbed yet another volcano, but this time with fabulous views as it was a beautiful day. We had started out on another guided tour around Cornwall Park, which encompasses the One Tree Hill Domain, however (rather rudely but as subtly as we could) we had to make our escape after 30 minutes because the guide was so dull! The tour was not even going to take in the summit, so instead we had a quick hike to the top, passing plenty of baby lambs on the way. We also saw a Maori sacred rock dedicated to the God of the Kumara, and I
had a quick worship (somehow seem to have developed an obsession with kumara fries).
In the afternoon we chilled out in Albert Park (yes this City is full of gorgeous parks) after a screening of Auckland's historical moments at the Art Gallery. We followed this with a beer and then headed back to the hostel to chill out for the evening in front of the TV.
I thought I would round off this last blog from Auckland with an introduction to Kiwi-speak for you - they are a strange people, who like to invert all their vowels. The classic indication of a Kiwi is that they say "yis" instead of "yes" and other amusing inversions such as "pig" (peg). Some other interesting expressions might be:
"Tramping" = hiking
"Mini-meal" = packed lunch
"Jandals" = flip flops
"Bro" = used frequently as in "G'day Bro"
"Bach" = holiday home/beach hut
"www" = pronounced "dub dub dub"
"Dairy" or "superette" = essentially the corner shop!
"Sweet" or "choice" = cool Next on the blog:
We leave Auckland!!! We head south to Ohakune and Mount Ruahepu (essentially Mordor from LOTR) for some skiing, before we continue north through Taupo
and Rotorua up to the east coast.
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