In this week's series of photo and video galleries of Auckland and the Bay of Plenty, I started out with images of Manukau Harbor, which is closest to Auckland International Airport. The series of images is taken from my trip Down Under to visit family. That first piece also features Maori singing and birdsong.
In today's selection, Waitemata Harbor can be seen from downtown Auckland. You'll see a historic ferry building and old lamps lining Quay Street. Ferries take off regularly, taking people for day trips or longer excursions to islands in the Hauraki Gulf. In some of these photos, you'll see Rangitoto Island, one of about 50 volcanic cones and craters in Auckland. I remember hiking this during at least one summer as a child with my parents, complaining all the way to the top but enjoying the fantail birds along the way. As teenagers, many of us took school field trips to Waiheke Island and Great Barrier Island. Waiheke is home to world-class boutique wineries and restaurants. The outlying Great Barrier is ruggedly beautiful and a great surfing spot.
Along the Auckland waterfront, Viaduct Basin is full of restaurants, cafes, apartments and boats of all kinds. It has been a standing-room-only venue during events such as America's Cup in 2000, hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. One of my photos in this collection is of a store honoring the late Sir Peter Blake, who led the syndicate that successfully defended the Cup that year.
Families can enjoy sightseeing together at the Viaduct. The area is kid friendly, with a playground. On my visit this month, I encountered a painted piano made into a piece of public art. Every now and then, visitors strolling along would sit and play a melody and the performance could be heard throughout the area.
I hope you enjoy this brief window into my homeland. Stay tuned for video of the spring lambs and images from some of the beaches later this week.