Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Bits and Pieces - Here and There

I am going to go through my myriad of notes and will add them to this post.  I didn't always have time to look at them and add to my posts along the way.  I was often up late enough as it was!

Last Day in Auchland

From the Sky Tower we walked over to Albert Park and enjoyed the sunshine.


And the views.


The Auchland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki sits right next to the park.  It is the largest art gallery in New Zealand with 15000 pieces in the collection.  As in Australia, entrance was free.



The art is varied from the old to the new, but much of it modern.  The piece above is a collection depicting various things that have been used in trading and bartering in this part of the world.


I don't understand much in modern art - the one above was labeled an Easter painting with the slanted lines being Christ carrying the cross up the hill...




We ate lunch at Father Ted's located right across from the Civic Theater.  We sat outside, watching people and buses passing by.  


Then we wandered down to the docks on our way back to the hotel for our transfer to the airport.

This piece was in the airport - on loan from Middle Earth....a fitting farewell!


Our last day down under!

It's our last day!  Our flight doesn't leave until 7:30 tonight.  Several have left already, but we have one more opportunity to see some of the sights around Auckland.

Our first stop is the Sky Tower which opened in 1979.  It has 4 unique options for you to experience!


The first option is to watch yourself leaving the ground and racing to the top.  There is a viewing window built into the floor of the elevator.


The second option is to jump off the top and see the sights while flying down!



The third is to take the narrow walkway around the tower and lean over the side if you like!


The views from the top are fantastic!  


The fourth option is to walk around the inside of the tower and every few feet look down  and see the ground!


It was a clear sunny day, ideal for the Sky Tower!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Waiheke Island

Our big adventure on our last full day in 🇳🇿 was out a boat ride out to Waiheke Island with a tour around the island.  

We left from the port just a couple of blocks from the Stamford Plaza Hotel where we are staying.  It was the start of a pretty day.  The scenic boat ride was about 45 minutes into the wind.


You may recognize this unusual building from the famous America's Cup race here a few years ago.

The downtown area...


Lots of islands out in the bay made it interesting.
There were some sailboats out but only big ones - it was a bit windy.


We had a local tour guide meet us at the boat.  The roads were winding and narrow.  The scenery amazing.



We stopped to feed some birds and saw this most unusual chicken.  Anyone know what it is?  Compared to the others it looked like it was in a costume!


Our next stop was an olive oil growing/processing farm.  The owner gave us a great introduction to the process and explained the differences in types.  We saw how they picked the Olives and the machinery they use to make the oil.  Green olives, black olives and the seeds all get pressed together.  The leftover waste goes to feed cattle.  Very informative!


The showroom was very classy.  Their products have won many awards.  I am going to recommend their Herb Sauce to the oil and vinegar shop in Delafield - it was so good and they sell it online.  She set out dishes of three types of olive oil and the Herb Sauce along with bowls of bread squares so we could taste them all.  It was really fun.  


The next stop was at Peacock Sky for a wine tasting.  This one had a new twist.  


There were four little tasty bits, one for each wine.  You take a sip of wine, eat the tasty bit and then have more wine....see how they blend for a great taste!  I joined the fun but was not experienced enough to comment or critic!  But you can see from the pictures, we had fun.


We drove on a tiny road along a beach.  Tiny houses on tiny lots = 1-2 million each.



Tide was out so the boats are just sitting in the sand til it goes back out...


We were sitting much of the day so when we got off the ferry from the Island I went on a walk down by the docks.  Found a very pretty draw bridge by the marina.  Was pretty slick and fast.


 I could see the needle from the marina.  

Sunday evening Brad hosted a very nice 3 course meal at the hotel as a grand finale!  Conversations were lively and fun.  We will keep in touch with 5-6 people we connected with owner our time together.  

These two couples were fun and we will for sure keep in touch ...    

Andy and I still have most of the day Monday as