Day 48 Auckland
Our penultimate day in Auckland so we're now trying to cram in as much as possible. Took the bus back to the War Memorial Museum after breakfast and arrived just after it opened at 10am. Despite the early hour there was still quite a queue for tickets - now here's a contradiction, it states quite clearly everywhere that it is free entry for Auckland residents although you need to have id to prove it, but for visitors there is a sign saying "$10 donation is appreciated", fine so far; here's that catch though you only get a ticket after you pay the $10. Don't get me wrong I have no objection to paying the money to get in but why aren't they just up front about it and have it marked up as an entrance fee? I suppose if you argued the toss they would let you in but who would do that? I have to say the museum was interesting, even though it's more Bill's thing than mine with exhibitions on Maori culture and the Polynesians settlement around the Pacific, both World Wars as you'd expect from War Memorial Museum and others that New Zealanders have been involved in plus the Natural History of the islands including all of the volcanic activity around here, bit of an eclectic mix for a War Memorial but hey. I have to say after Christchurch all this info on volcanoes got me a bit jittery, maybe it's time to leave these beautiful islands after all. After the museum we walked across to the Winter Gardens which are essentially a group of orangery's and tropical gardens where we had lunch and a quick sit in the sunshine; then took the bus back to the hotel to pick up swim things and another bus to Tamaki Drive and Mission Bay. This must be the main beach destination for locals and visitors alike on a Sunday as it was really busy, well busy by New Zealand standards anyway. I guess with it being only 10mins drive away from the city centre it was hardly surprising. Aucklanders really are spoiled for choice though with so many beautiful locations around. I really liked Mission Bay, lovely golden sands, warm waters and a generous helping of cafés and restaurants, gorgeous views of Rangitoto Island and Devonport plus lots of aquatic activity too - boating and the like though not fish. All in all my kind of beach and after the morning of museums flopping down on the sand with a good book was just what I needed. The bus back to downtown however was really heaving, we actually wondered if we'd get on, certainly the most crowded we have experienced with almost every language you can imagine being spoken, mostly not English. Ended the day with a cocktail at one of the harbour restaurants and then dinner watching the sun go down over the harbour, all in all a busy but wonderful day…….