While writing my post on the last night at the Chateau Tongariro I met a woman, Sandy, who lives in Auckland. We had so much fun listening to the piano player. In the morning I saw her again. I asked her what I should do if I only had one day in Auckland and she gave me a plan.
In the morning we met again at the train station. So, of course, we had to have a photo taken.
The train ride to Auckland was great. Rather than taking photos, I just relaxed on the train and had fun with the people. We had a lot of laughs.
I went to the food car and bought some curry soup and brought it back to my seat. When I tried to eat it, I realized that I didn’t have a spoon. So I went back to get one. As I was sitting down to eat, I noticed that I actually had a spoon right next to the soup. I just figured that it was my crazy mind forgetting that I had already opened up the spoon. Then Jan asked me if I liked my spoon. It turns out the man who was sitting across the aisle put the spoon on my tray just to trick me. I fell for it. We all had a great laugh. Of course I had to have another Kapiti Boysenberry Ice-cream bar – running out of time for New Zealand ice-cream.
Some of the time I walked around the train talking with other passengers. I found Sandy and her friends in another car. Lots of laughs all around.
We had a lively conversation with the man who was tricking me about the spoon. I am not sure if he really had the political beliefs that he was stating or if he just wanted to bait me into conversation.
When we arrived at the Strand station in Auckland, it was a far as the train went. But there was a free shuttle bus to take us into town. I can hardly find enough words to describe the kindness and hospitality of the people in New Zealand. There were only 6 of us on the shuttle bus and the driver asked each of us where we needed to go. Two got off at the regular drop off; 2 needed to go a bit further to the backpacker’s place. We told him that we needed to find a place to get a taxi that would take us to our garden apartment. He started driving. As I was watching the GPS on my phone, I realized that he was getting closer and closer to where we needed to go. After about 20 minutes, he dropped us off just a few doors from the house; We were astounded at how far off his regular route he had driven to get us close to the place we were staying.
We stayed in a lovely garden apartment that had been remodeled in what we think was a shed behind the owner’s house. It was very comfortable.
In the morning we walked to the bus stop and took the bus to the city. Then we found the Ferry Building …
and purchased our round trip tickets to Devonport. Here is the view of the Ferry Building and some boats from the ferry.
Sandy had told me that it was a lovely Victorian village. The first thing I did in Devonport was to buy a Kapiti chocolate and Hokey Pokey ice-cream cone even throat it was 10:00 am. Delicious.
We walked up Victoria street to Mount Victoria to see the views of Devonport and Auckland. On the way up we passed this lovely house.
The house is actually the Michael King Writers’ Centre which is the first full writers’ facility and literary centre in New Zealand. It is a residential centre. The project was launched after Michael’s death in 2004, when a group of his friends and literary associates decided to honour his memory by setting up a writers’ centre. Michael wrote or edited over 30 books on New Zealand topics, including The Penguin History of New Zealand, which was the most popular New Zealand book of 2004. He is deeply respected for his understanding biographies of leading Maori.
On the way up the hill I also passed a bunker that had been turned into the Devonport Folk Music Club. I was lucky because a man was doing something in the bunker and let me come in to see it.
There was a concert scheduled for the evening, but we would not be able to attend. Bummer.
Mount Victoria is not really very high. It is the highest volcano on Auckland’s North Shore rising to 87 m. Its age is currently unknown. Its lava flows now line much of Devonport’s waterfront. This is the working port in Auckland.
These cute toadstool looking things…
… are actually vents for the tunnels which are underneath.
Fort Victoria was selected for the Observation and Control Post for local coastal defenses. This is another place where they thought Russia might attack. They still have one of the hidden guns there,