A Geographically Blessed City

8 Jul

“It’s hard to imagine a more geographically blessed city. Its two harbours frame a narrow isthmus punctuated by volcanic cones and surrounded by fertile farmlands. From any of its numerous vantage points you’ll be astonished by how close the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean come to kissing and forming a new island.” (Lonely Planet’s “New Zealand,” 16th Edition; pg. 60)

Images by RJM

Auckland Harbour Bridge and Sky Tower
(as seen from Mount Eden)

According to 2012 census, Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand with 1,397,300 people – approximately 32% of the country’s population. It was the capitol of New Zealand from 1842 until 1865, at which time the seat of government was moved to the more centrally-located and current capitol city of Wellington.

We spent two days in Auckland, and enjoyed visiting some of the more famous sites as well as a few lesser-known places. Here are some highlights:

MOUNT EDEN

Images by RJM

Sacred Crater of Mount Eden

This sacred 50-meter deep volcanic crater, with a spectacular panoramic view of the city, is a protected archeological site. A path encircles the crater for those who choose to walk (or jog) its circumference.

Images by RJM

Laurie Friedman, of Friedman Fotography

Images by RJM

Eastern skyline from Mount Eden

AUCKLAND WAR MEMORIAL MUSEUM

This museum received wonderful reviews on TripAdvisor – and deservedly so.

Images by RJM

“Lest We Forget”
Auckland War Memorial Museum

New Zealand’s first museum, the Auckland War Memorial Museum “tells the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people.” Its many galleries highlight Maori culture and history, New Zealand’s natural science and history and, of course, military history and memorabilia.

I started on the third floor (which can be reached by elevator) to see the war tributes, the Spitfire and Zero aircraft, and a Memorial Hall.

Images by RJM

Spitfire

Images by RJM

Images by RJM

Images by RJM

Journal entry: “I am brought to tears by the enormous contribution of those who have fought, or continue to serve in the military.”

Per the website, all of the galleries in the Museum are accessible to everyone. A wheelchair ramp is located at the two main entrances. Wheelchairs may be borrowed from the Security Desk in the Museum Foyer if needed.

Images by RJM

Other exhibits …

Images by RJM

Maori meeting-house.
Not wheelchair accessible, but could still be visually appreciated

Images by RJM

Fur cloak with feather trim

Images by RJM

Sailing vessel

SKY TOWER

Images by RJM

An observation and telecommunications tower, at 328 meters (1,076 feet) the Sky Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also Auckland’s primary FM radio transmitter, and the upper portion of the tower has two restaurants and a café and a casino complex.

Images by RJM

SkyJump

For thrill-seekers, there is a 192-meter (630 ft) jump from the observation deck via SkyJump – said to be supremely safe and exciting!

Images by RJM

Sky Tower’s Sky Deck

For our group, the greatest thrill was walking around Sky Deck, enjoying a bird’s-eye view of the city and watching the sun set!

Images by RJM

Images by RJM

Images by RJM

Looking to my right …

Images by RJM

… and looking to my left …

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… and, later, looking up!

Other Auckland sites worth visiting:

 AUCKLAND ART GALLARY

Images by RJM

Wheelchair accessible
Free admission (except for special exhibits)

FLORAL CLOCK, ALBERT PARK

Images by RJM

UNIVERSITY CLOCK TOWER

Images by RJM

ST. MARY’S TRINITY CHURCH

Images by RJM

Labyrinth outside St. Mary’s Church

NANCY STEEN GARDEN

Images by RJM

Images by RJM

Some gravel paths, but still accessible

And for the adventurous foodie …

Images by RJM

Barbecued lamb burger!

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4 Responses to “A Geographically Blessed City”

  1. Ted Hess July 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    Thanks for more great photos. Seeing the tribute to veterans made me wonder whether son George had ever visited NZ in his travels.

    • Anything Is Possible Travel July 8, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

      Ted, I thought of George often, and with tears of gratitude, while in the military section of the Auckland Museum. He has not – yet – visited New Zealand, although I hope my posts and photos will inspire him to get there!

  2. Francine Freitas July 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    An excellent post capturing the essence of Auckland. I love re-experiencing our once in a life time journey through your writings. Thank you!

    • Anything Is Possible Travel July 8, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

      Thank you. I realized, as I created this post, that I had many truly enjoyable experiences in Auckland!

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