Monday, August 10, 2009

Second Day in Auckland, New Zealand

Since I had a bit of a cold AND it was a rainy morning, I chose to sleep late and take the Waitakere Rainforest and black sand beaches tour with Bush and Beach Tours in the afternoon. Since it appeared that we would need to provide our own lunch, I asked at the desk at my B&B to recommend a good place to get a sandwich to take along for the afternoon... Subway was the desk clerk's recommendation because, he said, "it is healthy and other places do not give you healthy food." So I've come half-way around the globe to be told to eat at Subway! (took his advice and on the way to Subway, found the delightful O'Connell Street Bistro and made a reservation for 7:45 PM dinner meal that turned out to be one of the best dining experiences I've ever had... highly recommend this restaurant if you ever find yourself in Auckland, NZ... it's tiny and I was very lucky to get a table on short notice)

The tour was really wonderful in spite of the rain that seemed to follow (or precede) us from point to point along the way. There was myself, Mohammed (from Abu Dhabi) and Eileen (from Germany) on the tour led by Stan of Bush and Beach Tours. Our first stop was the Arataki Visitor Centre in the Waitakere Rainforest where we had the opportunity to see wonderful vistas looking back toward Auckland, the Wiatemata Harbour, Rangitoto Island and the Pacific Ocean as well as looking the other way toward the Manukau Harbour (Auckland's second harbor) and the Tasman Sea. We also had time to wander through the visitor center and the outdoor boardwalks to learn a bit about the local flora and fauna. I'm personally glad I never saw a weta any closer than I did through the glass at the visitor center! I've had a hard time choosing photos from this tour but what follows are a few representing the wonderful sights we saw and/or the things we did on this four hour tour (snack included!).

rainbow over the rainforest
Rainbow over the rainforest as seen from the Arataki Visitor Centre in the Waitakere Rainforest, North Island, New Zealand.
map of Auckland and Waitakere Rainforest area
Map showing red dot representing Arataki Visitor Centre and where we were when the photo above the map was taken. Our tour continued along a southwesterly course from that spot.
Stan preparing afternoon tea
We luckily had a break in the rain for our afternoon snack break which included cookies and a choice of tea, coffee (instant, I had tea!), water and/or juice... all the comforts of home except for brewed coffee.
Kauri tree stump and three tourists
New Zealand Kauri trees were harvested all over New Zealand for the wood which is durable and beautiful. There are now protected forests where the trees are coming back. This one would have been over one thousand years old at the time it was harvested, perhaps several thousand years old. We saw 'young' trees that were 'only' four to six hundred years old that were about one third the diameter of this tree stump. I asked Mohammed, Eileen and Stan to stand in this photo to give a sense of scale to the tree trunk... Mohammed moved just as I snapped the photo.
sunset sky
This photo was taken from the van while stopped at a traffic light en route back to Auckland at the end of the day's tour.

1 comment:

don said...

If ever you or your friends are back in Auckland, check out the 'true' ECO-tour www.coast2coastnz.com. Rated Tripadvisor's No1 Auckland attraction, visits Arataki visitor centre, craft shopping, wine & honey tasting, Muriwai beach, gannet colony, the owner's own sheep farm and historic Homestead. There's even the opportunity to offset your tour's emissions with tree planting (NZ Government Law protected). This is an ALL-inclusive tour...including LUNCH! & afternoon tea. (Lunch is at an upmarket cafe, or groups can experience an informative 'Kiwiana-themed' meal at the hosts farm...including local wines).
And, if you book direct, you'll get a 10% discount!