Local Heart, Global Soul

July 16, 2012

A Tower in the Sky and a City of Sails…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are perusing the pages of my Travel journal, and following our New Zealand travels of December 2011- January 2012.

It’s early January at this point and we are leaving Northland and heading south.  Whilst I’m too amoured with the South Island and the Christchurch region to ever want to live in Auckland (for me there’s far too much motorway and way too busy) there are some aspects of the city that I love and get a buzz from every time I see  again.

Auckland and Manuaku Cities sit back to back on two adjoining harbours, and a relatively tiny strip of connecting land is all that prevents New Zealand’s Northland from being an island.

Consequently the two harbours have many bays and sailing is a very assessable and popular pass-time so it’s little wonder Auckland has earned the nickname “the City of Sails”. Christchurch’s deep water harbour and  port on the other hand is on the other side of the Port Hills in Lyttleton and whilst sailing is also popular there it’s not a patch on the marinas that are seemingly almost everywhere around Auckland’s shores.

Auckland’s Sky Tower is also a new addition to the Auckland skyline since I left New Zealand to live in The Netherlands.  Wikipedia tells me:

The Sky Tower is an observation and telecommunications tower located on the corner of Victoria and Federal Streets in the Auckland CBD, Auckland City, New Zealand. It is 328 metres (1,076 ft) tall, as measured from ground level to the top of the mast,[4] making it the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere.”

The sky tower is imposing as we round the bays and I never tire of the views as I come over the Harbour Bridge and back into the city…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 20, 2012

A City of Sails, Maze of Roads, a Bridge and a Big Sigh of Relief for the Tom Tom…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In part of my retroactive diary tour of New Zealand, we are heading into Auckland…. New Zealand’s biggest city.

We come in close to Pukekohe  near the bottom of  the map (pronounced as “pook-ah-coe-ee“) and are later exit north on the road by the top of the map by Albany. This will necessitate crossing the Auckland Harbour via the Auckland Harbour Bridge, since it’s the short-cut route across the harbour.

The city is actually a merger of Manukau city and Manukau harbour on side, and Auckland city and Auckland harbour on the other.

Only a narrow  band of  land joins the landmass of Northland to the rest of the North Island … and the countries biggest city straddles this strip of land, so needless to say we aren’t looking forward to the traffic jams we think we might be in for.

Luckily after a stop in the city to see a family member, we manage to hit the road  at a less busy time and somehow, miracle of miracles, without any great hassle or stops.

Of course upon reflection that fact that tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, that it’s the summer school holiday period and that many New Zealand businesses close between Christmas and New Year, probably had more to do with the lack of congestion than good timing on our part.

I remember trips to Auckland in my childhood,  a South Island girl overawed by the existence of a motorway system that carried more traffic than I’d ever seen in my life before,  I live of course with motorways now, in The Netherlands but I’m in Europe, so that seems kind of  normal and expected with such a large population to move around, whereas I never got used to motorways in New Zealand and the sum total of one  five kilometres long to the north of Christchurch really doesn’t count.

Auckland’s motorways were today more or less as  I remembered them… but they’ve grown from the toddler sized network of my childhood into a full grown version today, so much so that I thought  several times that we must surely be in Auckland city, long before we actually reached it.

This is one time we are very thankful for the TomTom we picked up from Teddy our favourite rental car owner before setting out for the North Island, during our travels throughout  Auckland the thing is definitely paying it’s way.

The rain is still coming down in fits and starts and the cloud layer is very low, so we can’t even see the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower, … but we still get glimpses of the Auckland, and bridge and the marina’s around it that give it the nickname “the  City of Sails”.

I didn’t notice it at the time, but after putting the photos onto the computer I saw that I’d captured an image of tourists walking over the top span of the Auckland Harbour Bridge… I’d love to be brave enough to do that one day but think that my head for heights (actually great lack of it) is rooted deep in my Dutch genes and since you know I’m accident prone, it’s another activity that I think might be safer to dream about than actually do.

Now that our Auckland appointment is out of the way, we head even further northward, Northland awaits…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Juxtaposition of the roof of a typical  traditional New Zealand villa against a modern skyline… I might get nostalgic for the sight of a brick chimney too, since there are precious few left in Christchurch after the earthquakes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Blog at WordPress.com.