Our New Zealand Odyssey starts - Auckland
Trip Start Sep 15, 2008
35Trip End Jan 20, 2009
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Where I stayed
Freemans bed and Breakfast
We landed in Auckland, picked up our hire car and were soon at our first B & B. This turned out to be a bit of a shock to the system after 5 days with an apartment to ourselves on a tropical island, to find ourselves in a bedroom the size of our bed and sharing shower rooms and loos with several 'having a year out' youngsters!!
We certainly felt considerably more cheerful when, later that same day, we met up with Jessica (the daughter of one of Anne's school friends) and her husband Matt who are in N.Z. working for a couple of years. We spent a super afternoon and evening with them. During the afternoon they took us on a walk up Mount Eden, a volcanic cone (complete with crater) that provides a fine viewpoint above the city. Here they reminded us of N Z's perilous situation located at a junction between tectonic plates and its consequent tendency to earthquakes and volcanoes. This is certainly very evident in the scenery throughout the country with hills/mountains of all shapes and sizes the predominant features. Auckland alone apparently sits atop 48 dormant volcanoes!!
During the next two days we explored a little of Auckland, with the highlight being several hours spent at the National Museum where, being 11th November, we joined in a Remembrance Service which, given our visit to the battlefield sites in Gallipoli earlier this year, seemed an appropriate thing to do. The museum also gave us our first taste of Maori culture, with one entire floor given over to Maori artefacts, including an amazing 100ft.carved wooden war canoe. It also allowed us a fascinating half hour being entertained by a small group of Maori singers and dancers who, between each item, explained the significance of the various songs and dances they were performing.