Exploring Auckland

Friday 24 February we were still at Ambury Farm Park at Mangere Bridge in Auckland. We went for a drive to Manukau, among other things to get a city map from the AA that covered Manukau. We needed something to balance our car GPS (Nev the Nav)which was running on 2007 maps! We discovered subsequently that the map we got from the AA was 2009! 3-year old maps of Auckland are not helpful given the changes since then with motorways especially. It rained a lot that day and we visited a big mall in Manukau and eventually found our way safely home to Ambury Park.

Saturday we moved home – to Henderson. Our motorhome association has a property there which is a remnant of Tui Glen which was the first motor camp back in something like 1924. Which is a lovely little circle. It’s a few minutes walk to the shops of Henderson, plus a laundromat. Which was our first port of call. It was sheet day, and more besides.

Sunday we took a train into Britomart – downtown in Auckland. The trains are a fun way to get around. it is about 45 minutes by train. We thought we’d go to the War Memorial Museum – we’d never been there before. There was a 50 cent bus to the top of Queen Street and then it was a walk across Grafton Bridge and past the hospital (so that’s where it is!) and eventually the domain. The domain is big. So big we had to keep consulting maps to work out which way to the Museum which is in the domain! We got sidetracked by the Wintergarden and the Wintergarden Cafe or Tearooms or something. Both were lovely. Then we got sidetracked by a jazz band setting up in the park nearby.

So it was almost 2pm by the time we got to the Museum. It is big and suitably imposing for a War Memorial Museum. We decided on a tour of the museum and ended up with our own guide for almost 90 minutes. It was great to have someone show us around and explain what is there. The war parts were very well done but so was everything. By the end of that we realised there was a lot we wanted more time to browse but that would have to wait for another day. Meantime, here is a question. How come the Maori Wars are called the Maori Wars? Why not the British Wars? Why not the Civil Wars?

The jazz band in the sun in the park was calling so we wandered back to enjoy the end of their afternoon concert. This was a small part of a very large Music in the Parks summer programme. Lucky old Auckland.

We retraced our steps to K Road and took a 50-cent bus back down to the bottom of Queen Street. It was 6pm and Wyn was keen to see what had become of our old Tank Farm free-parking area. It is now called The Wynyard Quarter and it’s an extension of the whole waterfront development. We took another 50 cent bus to the far end and enjoyed the evening wandering back. It is interesting already and is going to be a wonderful part of the waterfront of Auckland. We heard sounds of a honky-tonk piano and followed them to underneath a disused silo. There sat an old piano for anyone passing by to play anything they wanted to play. The acoustics were great. Apparently the piano had been there for months. Hopefully it’ll be there forever. 

Nearby there was a dozen or so people on an assortment of bikes, practising some sort of bike formation riding thing. sort of square dancing on two wheels. They were very earnest and it was going to be very interesting. Apparently it was part of some fashion thing. It was a magical evening walking back taking in the sights and sounds of the big city. Finally we were back to Queen Street and Britomart and a train back to Henderson and Tui Glen and Suzi, in the dark by then. 

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