Last Friday we took Rachel up on her offer to show us some of Auckland. Foolishly, she had offered us the tour at Thanksgiving dinner and we didn’t want her to think too much about it before we could collect. We met up with her about 1 in the afternoon and basically handed her the keys to our car. We left all the driving and decision-making about where to go up to her. She took us on a tour of the local volcanoes and a couple of nice beaches in the area. While the day was incredibly windy, the sun shone more often than not and the car was warm whenever we jumped back inside. Rachel was fearless, driving up the windy, winding roads with the skill of an expert and she made driving on the wrong side of the road seem easy.
Our first volcano was in the suburb of Mount Eden and shares its name. It is 643 feet above sea level and there are really good views of the city all the way around the top. The crater itself is 164 feet deep and the day we visited, the grass lining the bowl was long and shaggy creating wonderful wave patterns as the wind played with the stalks. Marc took off for the bottom for a closer look while Rachel and I walked the rim taking pictures.
We stopped by Takapuna Beach before continuing on to Devonport.The beach was a nice big crescent and we’re told it’s popular. That day was so damn windy however, we didn’t stay. It looked nice though and we’ll have to come back another day. The suburb/ town of Devonport is quite a little jewel with lots of restaurants, shops, and gallery’s to while away the afternoon. Getting hungry, we stopped for a bite to eat and some tea at Corelli’s Cafe. They were sponsoring The Great Teapot and Tea Cosy Show. I liked the dragon/princess teapot the best.
We also stopped at a cool glassblower’s shop down near the marina. His name is Peter Raos and he’s a really talented man with glass. Mom, I was thinking of you as I was looking at his vases and I am so thankful we came to NZ with already fully packed bags. Makes it harder to buy stuff. He was also really nice and let me take some pictures.
We got back on the touring of volcanoes after that. Rachel brought us to North Head. This is a volcanic cone in Devonport that was used extensively for defense purposes from the Maori to the New Zealand Army. There were gun batteries here until the 1950’s and there remain a warren of tunnels, observation posts and storerooms underneath. It’s pitch black without a flashlight however so we didn’t get too far exploring. Next, we pulled up at the entrance to Cheltenham beach and watched a few people braving the wind, but decided against further exploration. Rebuffed again!
Our last stop was Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill.These parks are right next to each other with the later, the location of the caldera. Cornwall park has an actual working farm inside it’s boundaries and it’s pretty funny to see sheep grazing next to the dormant cone. The parks are beautiful and they even offer free firewood for bbq’s. We’ve decided we need to come back and have a picnic soon. Despite the wind, we managed to get up to the top of one tree hill for a brief look around. Got to stand in front of Sir John Logan Campbell’s obelisk as well as see the bare grass where the one tree used to stand. Unfortunately, the tree got chainsawed and due to politics ( Maori people vs Everyone else) both sides refuse to let another tree grow there. Bit of a shame really. They call it None Tree Hill now.
We were headed back to Rachel’s for dinner, however traffic was slowing everything down so we found a lovely open field and flew kites for a while instead. I got out my single line tulip kite, but the wind was so uneven I couldn’t keep it in the air. I finally gave up on that one and moved to the one meter instead. Rachel helped me launch it and we’d trade-off on flying it; though I did laugh a lot watching her crash it. Marc flew the two meter before handing it to me to give Rachel further assistance. By the end of it, she was doing pretty good though. We may have to try her on the two meter on a day she’s not liable to be carried away. Traffic break over, we had a much quicker drive back to Rachel’s where she fed us a great spaghetti Bolognese that had been cooking in the crock pot all day. Paired with wine and great company, it was a great finish to a fabulous day.