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Jenny 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 restaurant. 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 million 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.

On 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

Anyway, 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. Alo!
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.              Alo!
Another nice view from the island at the inhabited end. Kind of reminiscent of an English village green.
A similar view as above, but in the opposite direction. The Hauraki Gulf stretching out to the far horizon. Alo!
A picture showing the rocky coastline not far from the lighthouse, showing exactly why one's required.
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. Alo!
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! Alo!
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 island. Fantastic.
A slightly different view trying to really capture the setting sun casting the dying rays of sunlight onto the water. Alo!
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!! Alo!

And 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!

See also: Auckland