After an uneventful and sleepless eleven hour flight, watching a couple of movies and reading, I landed in Auckland at lunch time on a Friday afternoon. Compared to the bustle and crowds of both Heathrow and Hong Kong, Auckland airport was like an oasis of calm. No queues for passport control as ours was the only plane landing at that time. One of the security people did turn rather pale when he asked one guy how many people there were in his party and was told fifty. No wonder the plane was so crowded.
Just to make me feel at home, it was pouring with rain when I arrived. Luckily my sister had parked not too far away so I didn’t get too wet. We went the scenic route to her place as she took me on a tour of the area. Houses are mostly detached and more American in style than English with lots of wood, balconies and decking. I of course was most tempted by the expensive ones on the shore, especially in Devonport.
By the evening the rain had stopped and I happily abandoned my coat, hardly believing I was warm enough walking around with only a couple of layers. After dinner we drove into the centre of Auckland for a walk around the harbour and main shopping street, which still retains its old colonial feel if you look beyond eye level to the facades of the buildings above the usual brand-name shops.
A lot of money has been spent recently improving the harbour area when New Zealand hosted the Americas Cup recently. Boats do rule on the water around here. We saw so many yachts moored as we wandered around the marina as well as a cruise ship that had docked in the harbour.
Then, feeling I’d lost a day somewhere in airspace, it was time to get some sleep and hope for hot sunny weather for our trip North.