had to head up to Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city to work for 3
weeks. In that period, I went
up to visit for one weekend. During the 2 days I was there, we were
kept quite busy. Firstly, we took a boat
trip over to the Island of Tiritiri Matangi, about an hour from
Auckland by boat. Secondly, on the Sunday, it was Jenny's birthday and
so we were to take the opportunity to dine in the Skytower's revolving
The Skytower is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, so the
views were pretty spectacular. I'm not a very big fan of Auckland
though as it has terrible traffic and air quality for a city of only a
people. From Tiritiri Matangi, you could see an orange tinged haze of
smog sitting over Auckland, worse than
any problems that I've seen in London.
the boat trip over to the island, we had the delightful pleasure of the
engine on the boat exploding
in an a catastrophic mess. Well, it was pretty dramatic, but no harm
was done to the boat or the passengers
as the engine expired in a clunky, smoky mess. We had to pootle back to
a nearby quay to swap boats to complete
the journey to the island
below you can see pictures from Tiritiri Matangi
|This Takahe, called
Greg, greeted us on our arrival at the Island. He is one of 19 on the
island and is all too aware of humans and the tasty titbits they may
bring to the island, so he followed us around for a while.
||A quiet beach about half
a kilometre from the quay. What you can't see is that there were a few
yachts moored offshore. During the summer months, the island gets
surrounded by such yachts. However, it was a brilliantly sunny day when
we went and the beach and the sea were very inviting.
|A view from the other
side of the island out across the Hauraki Gulf and then the Pacific
Ocean. There are hundreds of islands in the Hauraki Gulf, some of which
are volcanic and a few of which are inhabited.
||A view from the highest
point on the island. In the distance you can just make out Rangitoto
Island, a sacred island to the Maori, created by volcanic activity
during the period that Maori have lived here.
|The lighthouse at the
tip of the island. This is now automated, but had a lighthouse keeper
until the late 80s.
||Another nice view from
the island at the inhabited end. Kind of reminiscent of an English
|A similar view as above,
but in the opposite direction. The Hauraki Gulf stretching out to the
||A picture showing the
rocky coastline not far from the lighthouse, showing exactly why one's
|A male and female Takahe
beak-to-beak on the 'village green'. Such unusual birds these, but like
a large Pukeko (Purple Swamphen) in reality.
||An extreme close up of
another very rare New Zealand bird, brought back from the brink of
extinction. This is a saddleback, so named due to the brown 'saddle' on
its back. Simple really!
|An inland lake on the
island, being dwarfed in scale by the Pacific. Still, quite a fabulous
view if you ask me!
||After walking around for
about 5 hours, it was time to leave, as the sun began to set. I think
this and the following picture are pretty good. Hopefully, it really
gives you that feeling of being on a remote, pretty much deserted
|A slightly different
view trying to really capture the setting sun casting the dying rays of
sunlight onto the water.
||Sailing away from the
quayside, leaving Tiritiri Matangi. Only two people live on the island,
and they've lived there for 25 years. A week after our visit, they
retired from their DoC jobs on the island and left as well. I wonder
how they felt looking at this view for the last time as residents?
|Tiritiri Matangi slowly
disappears into the distance. Fortunately, the engines held out to get
us back to Auckland this time!!
that was it. Tiritiri Matangi was pretty amazing. The isolation, the
feeling of really stepping back in time
to before human habitation of New Zealand. Yeah, it was a pretty good
day all in all!