Monday, February 25, 2008


Auckland University

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The best part of traveling by car or RVing in New Zealand-- you can eat when you're hungry, rest when you're tired, see what you want to see, and never have to worry about the tour bus pulling out while you're in the bathroom. And by the way, it's not a bathroom in New Zealand. You better check the Kiwi Dictionary on that one.

While you're in Auckland, you'll want to visit the Auckland Museum. In the Auckland Domain, near Parnell, you'll find the Winter Garden and the Museum, which was combined with a war memorial in 1929. The Auckland Museum has guided tours and a Maori Culture Performance most days as well as special events. Through March, you can step inside a life-size interactive video game. Or, visit a photography exhibit. Gil Hanley is showing "Protest Photography: relating to the nuclear free Pacific movement." If you enjoy music, you can listen to piano recitals by international artists. To find out what's happening at the museum while you're in Auckland, try their Events Calendar.

If you're interested in Blues, Pop, Heavy Metal, or anything else that has a melody or makes a noise, the Concert and Gig Guide will help you find it.

While I'm not a fan of organized tours, I like to take a tour of any new city just to get a feel for the city and figure out what's out there that I might want to visit. The Auckland Explorer Bus, a hop on, hop off sightseeing bus tour runs all day and offers free hotel/motel pickup. Leaving the Ferry Building at the end of Queen Street, the Auckland Explorer Bus stops at fourteen Auckland attractions including: Kelly Tarlton's, Parnell Village, Mt Eden, and the Auckland Zoo. If the bus pulls out while you're shopping or in the middle of lunch, there's always another one in 30 minutes.

Plan your New Zealand trip your way. Sometimes the things you remember most are the unexpected surprises or unique people you meet in another country-- something that's hard to do when a tour guide is rounding you up for dinner or you have fifteen minutes to shop before the bus pulls out.


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Monday, February 18, 2008

Auckland/Water Everywhere

Kelly Tarlton's

Photo by: babette_r

If you're RVing in a camper van, renting a car and staying in hotels, or just poking around Auckland, you'll find water everywhere. Surrounded by water, the 'City of Sails' has much to offer those who like boats, maritime history, or just plain sea life.

Near the Ferry Berth on Quay and Hobson Streets, the New Zealand Maritime Museum covers Kiwi maritime history from the Maori migration to modern day cup sailing. You can check out the boats, life-sized exhibits, or collection of models and artifacts on a guided tour or poke around on your own with an Audio Guide. If you'd like to get out on the water, the museum's Ted Ashby sails Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. The SS Puke and Breeze sail most weekends.

The waterfront itself is a good place to spend an afternoon. Ferries come and go as well as other interesting boats. My first trip to New Zealand in 1985, I wandered the docks and visited with one of the crew of the damaged Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, which was lashed to the dock. The Rainbow Warrior had been ripped by two bombs killing one crew member, Fernando Pereira. The French government had ordered the bombing. The Rainbow Warrior crew have since scattered around the world. Today, the Rainbow Warrior is a living reef off the New Zealand coast.

If you like BIG boats, the Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2, one of the largest and fastest passenger vessels, will be in Auckland Harbor on February 21st.

Probably the only place you'll find snow and ice in Auckland is Kelly Tarlton's Under Water World. South of Central Auckland on Tamaki Drive, you can time travel back to visit a life-size replica hut of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, the South Pole explorer. Then, visit a penguin colony in an antarctic snow cat. In Underwater World, you can view the sea life while traveling through a clear tunnel on a moving walkway. If you want a closer view of the sharks, you can get nose to nose with one. A professional dive instructor will help you meet the sharks. You'll get a lot wetter than you would on a ride through the tunnel, so bring a towel.

Maybe you don't want to rub noses with a fish, but you might like to see a Salmon Dance. Name the little yellow fellow, and maybe you'll win 3 pairs of tickets to the Chemical Brothers.


RV in NZ: How to Spend Your Winters South in New Zealand

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Auckland/Sky Tower

Auckland Sky Tower

If you're spending time in Auckland, you'll want to see at least a few of the popular attractions. A good place to start is the Sky Tower. Within walking distance of the bus station, at Corner Victoria Street and Federal Street, Sky Tower, the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere, has several restaurants and bars. If you enjoy gambling, Sky Tower casinos are open 24 hours a day. On level 2 of SkyCity alone, you'll find all the popular casino games as well as more than 1,200 machines, or pokies.

Three glass elevators take you to three circular observation levels-- Sky Deck, the Main Observation level, or Sky Lounge. From there, you can see over fifty miles in any direction.

If you came to New Zealand to scare the daylights out of yourself, try the new Sky Walk. Snapped in a safety harness, you can walk the circumference of the tower on a 1.2 meter wide ledge. And, if you make it through that one, try base jumping 630 feet from the tower. It's probably easier on your back than a bunji jump. You don't hang upside down or bounce around.
For a little less excitement, just order a drink in the Sky Lounge, relax, and enjoy the view.

Sky Tower
Lyn Harris
RV in NZ: How to Spend Your Winters South in New Zealand

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Auckland/Getting Around

Auckland Link
Volvo Bus
Photo by: Kiaora 34nz
Traveling around Auckland can be enough to start your holiday off with a friendly fight. Just because you find an off ramp, don't expect an on ramp to be nearby. It's like picking your way through a maze to get back on the motorway. We spent part of an otherwise pleasant afternoon driving back and forth under the motorway with, "Not that road. We tried that one before." It can be done. Just don't cut yourself short on time and don't expect to find a parking space waiting with a welcome sign.
RVs and rental cars are available at the airport. If you're staying longer than a month, you might consider buying a vehicle. All vehicles are inspected for safety by the government before applying for a Certificate of Registration. If you're interested in purchasing an auto, try the Car Fair. You'll find the Local Buses are clean, convenient and run on time. A shuttle is available from the airport to the central Auckland bus station near Victoria Park. For sightseeing, buses are convenient-- or spend a little more and hire a taxi.
For more information on buying a New Zealand RV, see RVinNZ.

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