or in Tasmanian…Here am I!
Day 2 in New Zealand has dawned pale with the promise of sun, unlike the forecast of fog and showers.
Yesterday, on our first full day (Day 1 – Thursday 12th), we were blessed with warmth, both from the locals and the climate. Ron ran, sussing out the immediate area, and after a neat shower and breakfast schedule for four, we were off on foot to explore.
Parnell seemed refined and expensive; weatherboard houses well maintained and mostly painted in greys and whites, manicured shrubbery, designer dogs and joggers with make-up.
Parnell Road held a mixture of shops, cafes and restaurants, and strolling down it gave us our first glimpse of the topography of the city – a hilly city; a city of ex-volcanoes. What goes down must go up, and a set of steps led us up through the University Grounds, which prompted Gary to unexpectedly turn horticulturist. At The Speakers Corner in Albert Park I welcomed us all to New Zealand, we posed by the fountain with the Sky Tower in the background, found some more steps and then the focus turned to coffee.
182 metres above the ground and with 360 degrees of viewing, we marveled at our new city from the Sky Cafe; the seemingly impromptu droppings of humans past the windows were too swift for us to appreciate.
From the clouds to sea level. We caught the ferry to Devonport (reminiscent of the Manly Ferry but only 12 minutes) and curiously headed straight for the hill, the highest volcanic cone on Auckland’s North Shore, Mt Victoria, but not before Ron fell in love with idea of the four of us hiring segways…
Spectacular views of Auckland and Devonport, and water and islands in all directions – and brilliant sun shine.
The direction of the descent was influenced by a roof advertising Antiques, but the shop loosely held a collection of contemporary children on holiday. We did find the Royal New Zealand Naval Base, a welcome vegan lunch for Christine and I, with meaty things for Ron and Gary from the establishment next door, and made a phone call to find that ballooning was off due to calfing and wet paddocks. Even the computer won’t accept ‘calfing’…
More walking and a brief stop-over at our accommodation, before driving to One Tree Hill as the light of day faded. This is another volcanic cone arrived at through avenues of mature trees, and with a memorial to the Maori people on the summit. A staggering walk UP; Christine with heavy cold, Gary and June with heavy bodies, and Ron with great patience.
Deidre, our trusted phone GPS lady, led us in and around peak hour traffic to Cotto, in Karangahape Rd, a restaurant recommended by Christine’s eldest daughter. WOW. Can I suggest you start with the Foccaccia, followed by the Dumplings with spinach, goats cheese & sage, and share the Risotto roasted cauliflower taleggio, the Rotolo beef cheek silver beet porcini bechamel, Saffron maltaggliati lamb shanks gremolata, and the Gnocchi kumara gorgonzola walnut watercress. Surely that was enough, but no, three of us just had to have the Burnt orange panna cotta roasted rhubarb, and Gary survived an Affogato with Frangelica. Gary and I added a couple of expensive glasses of a Merlot that had Paddocks and Haystacks in its title.