Corners are interesting. What will you see or find as you turn a corner? They pose mystery and intrigue. If it’s a corner you know well then maybe you are expecting to see the same old things. I spend a lot of my time alone and I guess I walk around in a world of my own. In fact a fortune teller once told me that I live inside my own head. How well did she pick me? I tend to miss things sometimes. However I have often looked up and seen someone I know or I noticed that something had changed from the last time I had passed that way. Familiar things come and go so it’s good to get some photos as a record of our time there. This reminds me of the song “We may never pass this way again.” by Seals and Crofts 1973. I visited some unfamiliar corners in New Zealand cities and I was indeed afraid I would never pass this way again so I took the photos below to record my time there. If I do go back I could find it all changed. I love to visit new places and make discoveries. I still look for new and exciting things beyond the next corner. I’m hoping these photos will compliment the beautiful photos of Hobart that Vanda has taken which are very familiar to her as she has spent a great deal of time in the city where I have been stuck here in Oatlands largely due to work commitments. Trips to Hobart are not always possible so I have not taken many photos there. There’s one for the bucket list!
The last place we visited on our cruise was Auckland. Naomi had visited there for a day back in the 1980s when she cruised on the old P&O ship “Oriana” and she had liked it very much. At that time Auckland was a city with a population about the same as Adelaide where we lived at that time. Naomi remembers seeing intersections where you could cross the road diagonally so I am guessing that Auckland was a quieter city then
Now it is a bustling city, more high-rise than Wellington and with a vibe that reminded me of Sydney. Naomi said that there was little or nothing she remembered from her previous visit and certainly didn’t spot any diagonal street crossings. We did see people crossing diagonally but did not see the lines marked on the road. I googled to see if there were any surviving ones and learned the proper name for these crossings is Barnes Dance Crossings and that Auckland was the first city to introduce them in 1958. I have never seen one in Australia.
We were very lucky that the Auckland Overseas Passenger Terminal can accommodate large cruise ships although apparently when Ovation of the Seas calls there next summer she will not be able to berth there. It must be a problem for many port cities with cruise ships getting so large.
We arrived early to find that we had a neighbour, at an adjoining pier was “Diamond Princess”. It was nice to disembark from the ship and be able to walk straight into the city centre. What was the first thing we did? We caught a ferry of course. As we did in Sydney we wanted to photograph and film the harbour from the water and we also wanted to see what the Auckland ferries were like. We had seen them busily going back and forth across the harbour with the morning commuter traffic while we waited for quarantine to give the all clear for passengers to disembark. The ferry terminal is one of the nicest buildings we saw in Auckland so it was a good opportunity to photograph that as well.
A short trip across the harbour is Devonport. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend there, We strolled the main street and the esplanade where we enjoyed watching some birds being fed, mostly gulls. Devonport is also the home of the Royal New Zealand Navy and the base was at the other end of the esplanade so we walked as far as we could and turned back.
Juvenile Southern Black Backed Gull
Southern Black Backed Gull.
Back in the city we went to look at the Britomart Building which is Auckland’s transport hub. We went inside to look at the station and I managed to take a couple of pictures. Naomi did not fare as well. She reached the platform and a zealous employee would not let her take photos claiming that the flash would dazzle the driver. She would not listen to Naomi who was trying to tell her that she only intended to photograph a stationary train and as it is a dead end station the driver would be at the other end of the train anyway. I turned my flash off and took mine from half way up the escalators.
The other thing that we really wanted to do in Auckland that day was to visit the Sky Tower so next we set off to find it. It was quite a long walk through the main streets which were so busy they reminded me more and more of Sydney. We found the Sky Tower and worked our way through the waiting line and finally got up to the top of the tower where we could see the city below us. At the Sky Tower you can experience walking around the outer parapet of the tower in a full body harness or indulging in the Kiwi passion for jumping off things at the SkyJump. We didn’t fancy either option and were quite happy with the Observation Decks. Naomi pointed out a park that she thought she remembered visiting before and we both took a lot of pictures of the city, the harbour and the two cruise ships way down below us. After that we went back down in the elevator to take a look at the casino. I only stayed for a short time but Naomi wanted to stay and use up the last of her New Zealand dollars so we parted ways. I wanted to find a place with free wi-fi so I could download emails and read any important messages so I made my way back to a cafe near the terminal. The route I took was not particularly scenic and it was hot so I did not end up taking many pictures.
We did make sure that we got one more New Zealand ice cream before going back on board. As always we wished that we could have spent more time exploring the city. Later, as we sailed out of the harbour, the passengers on Diamond Princess lined the decks to wave while our passengers waved back. Not long after that the ship slowed to a halt. We wondered why and realised that we were waiting for several yachts sailing in the harbour to get out of our way. This took some time and eventually the Captain gave them a blast of the horn to let them know we were waiting.
At the Captain’s Q & A one passenger asked about that incident and it turned out that the yachts had been participating in a race and were reluctant to give up their positions just because a giant cruise ship wanted to leave the harbour. Apparently the “steam must give way to sail” rule does not normally apply in harbours only on the open sea but on this occasion there was little choice but to wait. I believe the Pilot from Auckland was asked to get them to move in the end. It was rather funny and that was the only time we really heard the ship’s horn sounding that I can recall.
In my next and possibly last post about our holiday I’ll show you a couple of parts of the ship we haven’t covered and also feature pictures I took at the Ice Show. As always I’ve included some links at the end of the post if you’d like to learn more about some of the things I’ve mentioned.
Here is another installment in the story of our cruise holiday.
It was raining when we left Napier and unfortunately the wet weather followed us. When we arrived in Tauranga the following morning it was still raining steadily and did not look like letting up. A lot of people went off on tours to Rotorua from Tauranga and I think others went to see places associated with the “Lord of the Rings” films. We were going to stay in the town. Tauranga seems to be quite a large place. The area where we were berthed was a different neighbourhood from the city centre and had the weather not been so bad we would have explored that area firstand caught a local bus to the city centre later on.
Instead we caught a shuttle bus to the city centre and despite the poor weather Naomi and I tried to see as much as we could on foot. We had a look around the shops and visited an arts and crafts store on the waterfront where we saw several things we liked but which were too bulky to bring home. We had planned to do a self guided walk of the town after lunch to see some of the older buildings and parks but the rain set in so badly that after a short time we gave it up. It was just too wet.
However, our day in Tauranga was not a total loss. We were walking along the waterfront in a light drizzle when I spotted a group of sculptures that caught my interest.
I called Naomi to come and see. It was a group of dogs who had a cat bailed up on a pole. These turned out to be characters from the Hairy Maclary stories. The author of these children’s stories, Lynley Dodd, came from the Tauranga area. I don’t often get excited by sculptures but these delightful animals made our visit to Tauranga worthwhile. For those who are not familiar with the Hairy Maclary stories, and I wasn’t although I had heard the name, there is a link at the end of this post.
Bottomley Potts covered in spots.
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy.
Scarface Claw the toughest Tom in town.
Schnitzel von Crumm with a very low tum.
Slinky Malinki was blacker than black.
Muffin McLay like a bundle of hay.
Hercules Morse as big as a horse with Zachary Quack.
We ended up catching the bus back to the ship earlier than we’d have liked to and we will have to return to Tauranga one day to explore it properly.
Our next port of call was Napier in the Hawke’s Bay area. I had been looking forward to seeing Napier more than any other port because of the large number of art deco buildings in the town.
The reason there are so many is that on February 3 1931 an earthquake rocked Napier and the nearby town of Hastings. Many people were killed in both towns and buildings were destroyed. In Napier fires started in three local chemist shops and with little or no water pressure to fight the fires several blocks of the town’s business district were completely destroyed.
As a result of the earthquake both towns were rebuilt over the next two years and Napier in particular gained a large number of buildings designed in the art deco style that was popular at the time.
In recent times Napier has embraced its architecture as a tourist attraction and now hosts an Art Deco weekend every year as well as organising tours and events for visitors all year round.
I love this style of building myself so I was very excited to be able to spend a day in Napier.
When we arrived on Monday morning it was looking a little bit overcast but the rain stayed away as we were bussed into the town centre.Outside the tourist information centre were stalls touting tours of the town and surrounding area. There were vintage cars parked outside and the local guides were dressed in period costume.
My first impression was that Napier was much larger than we expected. Naomi and I headed off down the main street trying to take it all in, there were so many beautiful buildings to admire. I could not stop taking photographs. There were some shops selling vintage or vintage inspired clothing and gift ware the largest being the Art Deco Centre near the sea front. In the shop there was a small theatrette showing a film about the disaster. I didn’t get a chance to see it but Naomi did and said that it was very interesting. I found a film on YouTube which I believe might be the same one and have included a link at the end of this post if anyone would like to see it.
I’ll let the pictures tell the story from here and try to give a little taste of what we saw.
Napier Municpal Theatre
Napier Municpal Theatre
Napier Municpal Theatre
Napier Municpal Theatre
Statue in the main street of Napier.
Another beautifully restored vintage car.
One of the cars used by the Napier’s Art Deco Trust.
Arch at the sea front.
Daly Telegraph building
Scinde Building Napier
Halsbury Chambers 1932
One of the many art deco buildings in the main street.
After a while Naomi and I decided to split up. She wanted to visit the Art Deco Shop again and go for a walk on the esplanade. I had seen a park with beautiful flowers which I wanted to photograph. It was raining by this time and I had to shelter for a while but the flowers were so lovely that I went out into the rain to photograph them once it had slowed to just a drizzle.
Clive Square for two years home of a temporary shopping centre, now a park.
Waterlilies, Clive Park, Napier, NZ
Our day in Napier was much shorter than we would have liked as we had to be back on board Explorer of the Seas before 3pm. It was still a bit drizzly when we returned but we went out on deck to see the last of Napier as we sailed away. On the shore a jazz band played for us until we sailed and then a gentleman made a short speech thanking us for visiting and they all stayed and waved as we left.