Thank you my lovely readers, followers and friends for reading the traveloue in New Zealand. For those who are coming to this post today, please read the previous acounts of this journey in the Introduction, Part 1, Part2 and Part3. Today is the last part of the much anticipated journey.
The main city of Auckland is a typical metropoliton city. We were staying at a hotel right in the heart of the central city, with ferry a close walk away. There is nothing much to see here except the usual city centre feels, large crossings, crosswork, plenty of construction. It looked to me like New York, from the shops and the busyness of the daily business. The streets were unusually hilly, making it feel like part of the city sat in the lap of mountains, while surrounded by the sea.
Day 8 : Davenport
There is not much to see around the city centre of Auckland. So we took an early ferry to the nearby island of Davenport. It is a small island, about 25 minute by ferry. Davenport is connected to mainland by a bridge and commuting takes about an hour by car. The ferry commute reminded me of the daily catamaran commute of many people in lake Constance area of Germany.
It is one of the quieter suburbs of Auckland, a small downtown focussed on tourists. It mostly comprises of well-to-do suburban people, who live there and commute on a daily basis. The small island boasts of two mountain peaks, and you can walk up there. From there, the entire beauty of the surrounding Auckland, the blue sea kissing the greenish yellow beaches can be seen. We had caught the early Autumn showers, and it was raining frequently, if not heavily. The fresh showers and the smell of earth reminded me of the early spring here. As I sit here, writing about Davenport in early June, I cannot believe it was few months back that we were in this beautiful place.
As any tourist location, Davenport also has its own share of eateries and cafe, and small shops which sell local goods. We bought some Authentic New Zealand stationary, like some wooden coasters with painting by local artists.
Davenport is famous for its chocolates. There is a small chocolate fabric and it sells chocolates worldwide. The taste of it is amazing. You can buy them in classic tins. Unfortunately, there is no picture of the small cosy factory and shop.
After we took the ferry back home, we spent the afternoon, exploring the Maritime Museum of New Zealand. New Zealand has a rich maritime history and it was a beautiful experience, looking into the history of navigation. We learnt a lot about the history of early immigration, the condition of sea travel, during the 1800s and later and how technology has evolved. In the end, we came into an exhibition of the poison of plastic and how it is impacting the marine environment.
We know plastic is bad, but I learnt exactly how bad it is. a plastic bottle takes 400 years to decompose, or a baby nappy takes 400 years to decompose: these hard facts really opens the eye towards the negative impact of civilization.
Divine nectar(amrit), when in excess become poision. Nothing tells you about it more than that. More were to come the next day.
The museum closes around 5 pm but the entrance tickets are valid for two days. We then loitered around the strand area after having marvelous italian for dinner and came back the hotel.
The next day, we explored Auckland a bit more. There is quite a bit to be seen here as well, specially the beautiful strands all around and the sudden appearance of blue sea just when you turn a corner. We went to sea-world museum today. It is also a beautiful natural Aquarium, officially known as SEA-LIFE, Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium. It is the only one turtle hopstial rehabilitation centre in New Zealand. Hurt and injured turtles are treated here and released to the water when they are healed. most of the time, the injury is man-made or by some man-made objects; eating plastic, not being able to process it and dying of poisoning or asphyxiation is the most common. When sea-turles choke on plastic, they cannot float on water, they cannot swim up to get oxygen. Sea-turtles are among the oldest species and are facing extinction, if we do not take care.
The Aquarium, also has a lot of interesting sea-life. Loads of penguins. It is one of the first to use conveyor belts to move people through the viewing area. It indeed is a unique experience, to see the sharks and the fishes floating all around us. At times it felt, they are the viewers and us walking are the objects of viewing. With luck, we could also see divers during the feeding time, with buckets of food.
Last Day : Waiheki Island
The last day in Auckland and in New Zealand arrived quickly. Although I was sad the holiday would soon be over, I was also slightly relieved. We were approaching middle of March, Italy had already ordered a lockdown. India also had banned incoming flights from Europe and parts of Asia. I was worried if we could fly home at all and not stay stranded here. That is why we chose the sunny beach of Waiheki island to be the last destination.
It takes about an hour to reach Waiheki by ferry. There are a lot of hop on-hop off buses scheduled with the ferry and offers to buy those tickets along with the ferry tickets. I think they cost about 78 New Zealand Dollar per person, and it was a good deal.
Once we landed on the island and went to the beaches it felt like we are in the pictures that are printed and sold on postcards and calenders. The Onetangi and Oneroa beaches are two of the most famous beaches in the world and for good reason. The view is marvellous : It is clear blue sky in three shades, kissing the bright yellow sand, flanked with tropical green plants on both side.
It is a sight to marvel and wonder. The weather was so nice that we walked barefoot in the beaches for hours. There are beach houses that can be rented and hotels where people can stay and enjoy the beach on good weather. After we got tired, we went to a cafe on the beach and sat there enjoying the sun, drinking some tea. Waiheke is also famous for its vineyards and wines. Sommeliers come here to enjoy and taste the wine, and enjoy spending nights in the vineyards. There are also adventurous activities like zip lining, para-gliding available. We were just interested in soaking up the sun and feel the ocean and its soothing presence on our feet; which we did amply.
Once the day got over, we slowly came back to the hotel. With a heavy heart, we packed for our journey back home. It would be a while before we would be back again to New Zealand . This was a precious experience, like a drop of blue crystal, embodying the calm of ocean.
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