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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Anonymous said...

My sister and I want to spend three or four weeks in New Zealand with our two boys (8 and 10) Any suggestions on where to find something they'd like?

Lyn said...

Why not rent a camper van and bring a small tent for the boys. Kids love camping and there's nothing in New Zealand that bites in the middle of the night.
Pick a few tourist spots-- the Agrodome near Rotorua has a fun sheep show. Taupo has the Volcanic Activity Center, jet boats, and Craters of the Moon with bubbling mud pools (free). Just keep them on the path. Every year a tourist seems to step into a crusted over hot mud pool trying to get a better picture.
You haven't said if you're doing both islands, but RVing would b e fun. Freedom Camp for a couple of days then check into a motorpark and soak in a hot tub and do your laundry.

Anonymous said...

What's freedom camping?

Lyn said...

Free camping. Same as boondocking in the states. Free spots are all over New Zealand. They're listed, just figure out where you're going to be and plan ahead a little. Many have bathroom facilities, etc.