Auckland, New Zealand - Day 1
We arrived in Auckland on schedule at 5pm, February 5th. The sail-in itself was spoiled by high winds of 48 mph. After leaving the high temps & humidity of the South Pacific, the 64-degrees felt nice but standing on any of the outside public decks was somewhat treacherous – we stayed in our stateroom and observed what we could from the port side of the ship. The pilot boat had a difficult time dropping the guide off as well – the Captain had to turn the ship sideways to block the wind so the guide could safely come aboard. Once docked and the ship was cleared by local officials, Cheryl and I joined hundreds of other passengers and disembarked for a few hours of walking. We were docked in the middle of downtown Auckland, so access to shopping and other attractions was literally right off the ship. Many office workers and other professionals were just starting their commutes home. People from the ship were very easy to spot with their purple Holland America backpacks (murses) strapped to their shoulders – we would often here the ‘locals’ comment…”It’s the boat people!”
Cheryl and I were back on the ship by 9:30pm. Up at 5am, we grabbed a quick breakfast and by 7:00, we were on a city ‘Hop-on/Hop-off’ bus – a very inexpensive bus that travels a predetermined route throughout the entire metropolitan area – you can get off at any point to, shop, rest, eat, and get back on the next bus (every 30 minutes) to continue on.
Auckland is known as Queen City or City of Sails. It’s the largest and most modern city in New Zealand. Its location on the Isthmus of the North Island, between Waitemata Harbor to the northeast and Manukau Harbor to the southwest, makes it a perfect habitat for anyone who loves water. Population here is 1.4 million; New Zealand in total is 4.5 million. There are 102 beaches for swimming, surfing, waterskiing, & sail boarding. They say there are over 70,000 powerboats and sailing crafts, or one per every four households. There’s a lot to see & do in Auckland. The photos below are random shots taken throughout the first day in and around the city, including the Sky Tower, the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand, standing 636 feet tall. They say it took 33 months to build.