Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sightseeing Around Auckland

The best part about 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.
Winter Garden
Photo By: peter kurdulija

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 Cultural Performance most days as well as special events. Through April 10, their special exhibit Wonderland: The Magic of the Rose, will tell you everything you wanted to know about this popular flower. If you like music, the NZTrio has a concert series in the museum’s auditorium. To find out what’s happening at the museum while you’re in Auckland, try the Auckland Museum’s Event”s Calendar.

Photo By: kiwi love usa

If you’re interested in Blues, Pop, Heavy Metal, or anything else that has a melody or makes a noise, the Concert & Gig Guide will help you find it. For loud noise and plenty of action, catch a New Zealand Warriors game. New Zealand’s rugby team has a few home games in the coming months.

Wade McKinnon
New Zealand Warriors
Photo By: paddy napper

A little more dignified than a rugby game, Auckland’s Cup Week is at Ellerslie March 6-13. Said to be New Zealand’s richest and biggest thorough bred racing event, this three day party has fancy horses and fancy ladies. Kiwis always like a party and their Birdcage Bash is big– and exclusive. To get in, you have to be at least 18 years old– New Zealand’s legal age to drink, and you have to dress snazzy. This event is known for its fashion and glamour. Don’t expect to show up in a pair of shorts and jandals.

The Museum of Transport and Technology (Motat) has a little of everything from trams to an aviation collection covering over 100 years of New Zealand transportation. On the Great North Road, next to Western Springs Park, Motat’s aviation collection is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. It includes the only Solvent Mark IV Flying Boat in the world and also one of the few remaining WW2 Avro Lancaster Bombers. Restored steam trains are also a popular part of Motat. For operating days, see Motat. A collection of operating tram cars covers 120 years of steam, cable, and electrical tram traction.
Number 248 runs from Motat’s Great South Road site past the zoo to Motat’s Motion Road site
Melbourne Tram at Motat
Photo By: AA654

If you enjoy speedway racing, or just want to get a little mud in your face, catch the Midget World Series or the Spring Car Classic at Western Springs Speedway. A circle track, six classes race here including midgets, springs and motorcycles. Most Saturday nights between November and March, you can find US and Kiwi drivers competing for the chance to tear up their car or tear up their body in the chase for the trophy. A natural amphitheater, the Western Springs Stadium holds 30,000 for sports events and 50,000 for large music concerts.
Crash at Western Springs
Photo By: westernferret

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, the Auckland Museum, Mt. Eden, Auckland Zoo, and Motat. Western Springs Speedway is on nearby Stadium Road.

Plan your New Zealand trip your way. If you travel by car or RV in New Zealand, spend time exploring those spots you’d like to visit. Sometimes the things you remember most are the unexpected surprises or unique people you meet in another country. Auckland has many unexpected surprises.

Lyn Harris

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

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Auckland: Water, Water, Everywhere

If you’re RVing through New Zealand in a campervan, renting a car and staying in hotels, or just poking around Auckland, you’ll find water everywhere. Surrounded by water, Auckland, the City of Sails, has much to offer if you like boats, maritime history, or just plain sea life.

Sky Tower
Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Photo by: Beejayge

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.
Auckland Waterfront
Photo by: Beejaygee

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 Cavalli Islands in Northland.
Penguins at Kelly Tarlton's
Photo by: Beejayge

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’d still like to get a little sand in your shorts and meet new friends. November to March each year, Auckland’s Stroke & Stride Series invites locals and visitors to enter one or all of eight swim/run events. Swim in Waitemata Harbour Bay then run along Auckland’s waterfront dripping salt water– and maybe win a prize.
Good Morning Auckland
Photo by: Beejayge

You’re never far from water in Auckland, so dig into New Zealand maritime history, take a boat trip, or at least take off your shoes and get your feet wet.
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All photos are by Bryan Goddard who lives in Auckland, New Zealand. Bryan has more than 1,000 photos uploaded on flickr. Click back on his links and you’ll find a slideshow of  his many New Zealand photos. On BeeJayGe, his website, you can find more photos of his New Zealand travels and a link to his blog.

Lyn Harris

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


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