JUST LIKE BEING IN NEWFOUNDLAND ONLY NOTHING LIKE IT
19.05.2017 - 29.05.2017 11 °C
Welcome to Auckland. I arrived yesterday dinnertime after a long journey that included a 4 hour layover in Vancouver and a 5 hour layover in Brisbane, Australia. The travel really wasn't horrible and I manage to sleep a full 8 hours on my 14.5 hour flight. I am reasonably rested, somewhat on the new time zone, and have just finished a first day of exploration.
I will only have a few days free since I have meetings here from Monday - Friday, and given that it is Fall, it is dark by 5pm. I am glad that I came a couple days early to adjust to the time change. it is a whole lot harder to deal with jet lag when sitting in a meeting then when you are out and about in a new place.
I am delighted to be here because as I always enjoy seeing new things but truthfully, my excitement was a little muted by my expectations that New Zealand would be somewhat similar to Newfoundland. Beautiful scenery but lacking the culture shock that I love. I am determined to see what I can.
When I woke this morning ( for the 10th time between 2am and 8 am) the skies were overcast and by 9 o'clock it was already raining on and off. I decided it wouldn't be a good day to poke around so I spoke to the concierge and he recommended a tour to Waitakere Regional Park.
My tour went to the west coast for views of the black sand beaches and a hike in the rainforest. Despite the rain and the cool temperatures, we managed to see most without getting drenched. The rain was quite heavy at times but in any hour, we experienced, rain, wind and sun. Just like home.
Our first stop was at a beautiful waterfall in Karekare.
I guess with a view like that, you would just make your home fit.
As we headed towards the Tasman Sea, the wind began to pick up and we could see the swells on Piha Beach from the look out. Although a popular surfing spot, the waves were way too high today.
We made our way down to the black sand beach. The black sand is black iron and originates from dust from a volcano loaded 250km away. The wind was howling and only a few of us ventured out of the beach. Honestly, it wasn't that cold but it was incredibly windy and the seas were wild.
I tied to capture some of the movement of the sand blowing across the beach because it was crazy and beautiful all at once. Perhaps a video would have been a good choice. This is the beach from the movie "The Piano".
From the beach we went to the rainforest where it was much calmer. The rain and wind held off here. This was a 45 minute walk, looking at local flora and a few birds. I am told that if I want to see the Kiwi bird, I have to go to the zoo. The giant trees are called Kauri and they live for up to 2000 years.
It was great to be out in the fresh air today. In many ways the day, the weather and the landscape reminded me of Newfoundland, only a whole lot lusher, greener and with a wind off the ocean that is a whole lot warmer ( with that strength, you would freeze on the rock).
In any case, the day ended with a silver lining...or rather a rainbow. It actually was two full double rainbows, but they appeared after we were driving.
We were told that the Lord of the Rings has really increased tourism in New Zealand, constantly increasing at a rate of 15% a year. Tours of the movie set are very popular but not that interesting for non-fans. Since I don't know what a Hobbit is, I have decided to pass and instead, have a winery tour booked for tomorrow.
Hoping for sun tomorrow because I packed for the forecasted 16 degrees and didn't count on rain and wind...but either way, I am looking forward to another good day tomorrow.