This is a city that is set perfectly and it is no wonder the locals here are proud of it. It is called the ‘City of Sails’. We berthed right in downtown Auckland and from here you can walk to the main downtown attractions like the Sky tower if you wish. The Sky Tower dominates the city and at 1,076 feet it is the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere.
I decided to escort the 6 hour Auckland Nature and Countryside; I just knew that the passengers were going to love this.
Travelling out to the west of Auckland we arrived at the rugged coast that is Muriwai Beach, and here high on the cliff tops is a large colony of Gannets.
This is one of only two such colonies in the world and from your vantage point you will be able to watch them fly and catch their fish before returning to the nest site. The locals said that normally the cliff tops are covered in Gannets but this year the numbers were only around half of the normal number.
To be so close to these noisy yet interesting sea birds was a real treat, something no doubt the TV man Bill Oddie would have loved to do, but we were here, so privileged. There were still a few young birds that were still sporting their brown immature feathers and these were seen to be exercising their wings making ready to fly away.
The barbecue lunch with home produced wines and desserts was very tasty. Shortly after we were able to see and hand feed the Red Deer that Gregg keeps just as pets. My how the passengers liked to do this.
Then we gathered to watch a display of sheep dog working a flock of sheep after a demonstration of sheep shearing.
What a fabulous tour this is and thoroughly recommended, no one wanted to leave, each of us had found their perfect retirement home.
Many thanks for your report Graham.
In the afternoon - 3.30pm by this stage I dashed ashore and took a few snaps - interesting buildings all around.
A side on view of the old ferry building which used to be the tallest building in Auckland.
The sky's the limit..........
Lots of little side streets to have a coffee or a beer.
Work going on at the Dock Gates - many of you will recognise these port gates - preparing the way to build a new terminal and extend passenger facilities.
The Post Office Building.........
Aurora alongside her berth.
A beautiful morning!
Modern Apartment blocks overlooking the harbour...........
Keeping a watchful eye - Ship's Agent Max Kay whom I first met in 1984!
The start of Queen Street and all the retail...........
Aurora prepares to sail................
On the Bridge and in Command - P&O Cruises first Lady Captain - Captain Sarah Breton ably assisted by Deputy Captain Marcin Banach.
Check those blue skies as Aurora lets go forward and aft.......