Dave's Photo & Travelblogue

Photo shoots. World travel advice. Tips on Munich & environs.

Beautiful Views from Devonport

June 17th was my last day in New Zealand before heading onward to Japan. After driving from Coromandel to Auckland, I turned in my rental and hopped on a ferry to Devonport. This small suburb has two volcanic cones that were used as harbor defensive positions for many years. Here’s one of them, Mount Victoria, as seen from the other, North Head.

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Devonport also offers great views directly toward Auckland, seen here living up to the name City of Sails:

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For those who like exploring the ocean and tidal pools, the rocky (and mostly deserted) flats behind North Head were nice to wander around when I was there at low tide. Nice background of a small volcanic island, as well.

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Thanks to the coffee shop barista who pointed me toward Monsoon Malay & Thai restaurant on Devonport’s Victoria Street. It was a reasonably priced and very tasty meal. Just what I needed to keep my spicy food tolerance up before I arrive in Malaysia in a few weeks!

As promised, here’s my night shot of Auckland. I waited until the ferry motored by to get the cool pattern of its lights across the water. That’s 30s, f/20, ISO 80.

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Posted 10 years, 8 months ago at 3:19 pm.

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The City of Sails

It rained on June 6th, so I found indoor activities before my plane departed for Sydney. First off: lunch! One thing I wasn’t expecting in New Zealand was fantastic mussels (almost as good as Belgium!). Besides tasting great, the mussels at Fox’s were HUGE:

Mussels at Fox's in the Viaduct complex

I headed across the street from the Viaduct area to the maritime museum, a perfect fit for Auckland, known as the “City of Sails.” If you like boats, you’ll want to go there for sure. On better days you can even sail on some historic boats. In the museum they exhibit everything from very old boats…

An old sailboat in Auckland's maritime museum

…to very new, advanced yachts, like the NZL32, winner of the 1995 America’s Cup:

NZL32, New Zealand's winning boat of the 1995 America's Cup

New Zealanders are definitely proud of their sailing and boating history!

I left NZ for 5 days in Sydney aboard another kind of vessel: the brand-new Airbus A380-800. That was a surprise, since I never expected to be riding one of these new beasts on my ~4h flight to Australia. The plane was only 1/3 full, making a stop in Sydney on its way to Dubai.

Airbus A380-800, Emirates aircraft

About the A380: I can say it definitely felt different from every other plane I’ve flown in. The takeoff was barely noticeable. Turbulence was barely noticeable. Every seat had a personal video system and every row had 110V outlets. It felt less like a long-haul plane flight than I’m used to… which I suppose is the whole idea of this plane! So, excellent job, Airbus. Now I just need to wait for the Boeing Dreamliner, in order to compare European engineering with American.

Tomorrow: arrival Down Under. Crikey!

Posted 10 years, 8 months ago at 3:52 pm.

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Auckland’s Markets

June 5th was a bit gray, so I started with a nice cup of tea. I love the sugar packets in the Skycity hotel:

Funny quotes on sugar packets

First I checked out the Britomart farmers’ market, where I sampled some local foodwarez and drank a homemade ginger beer (<1% alcohol… so “okay for the kids if they don’t have too much,” as I was told). There were some street performers there as well.

Street Musicians at Britomart farmers' market

For lunch I checked out Elliott Stables, a fantastic collection of restaurants and shops of all nationalities. I went for a Monte Cristo sandwich and some French mulled wine… mmm!

A huge variety of restaurants at Elliott Stables

As I said, it was a gray day. I didn’t take a lot of photos, but I think my street photography is improving. I did enjoy sampling all kinds of international foods, including a bit of smoky Lagavulin Scotch at one of the Elliott Stables shops. Cheers!

Posted 10 years, 8 months ago at 3:54 pm.

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The Sheep Dip

I flew into Auckland early on June 4th, so I had the whole day to look around after checking into my hotel. Sky City (a casino/hotel complex next to Sky Tower) is a decent hotel, especially if you’ve paid half price through hotels.com as I did – hehe.

Down by the wharf area, I thought the central ferry building was a fantastic piece of architecture:

The central ferry terminal in Auckland

In my wanderings, I stumbled into Albert Park, mostly filled with college students chillin’ out. It’s also home to a lot of HUGE and weird-looking trees of all types. This one had a support pillar to keep it out of the path!

Giant tree at Albert Park in Auckland

If there’s one thing the Kiwis can do well (and believe me, there are a lot more things than one), it’s lamb. So of course I went for lamb shank as my first dinner; I believe the bar was called Queen’s Ferry Hotel.

Tasty lamb shank at Queen's Ferry

What Germany is to pork, New Zealand is to lamb. I like lamb more, though. Mmm!

As for the Sheep Dip, it’s a Scotch that I saw up on the bar shelf. It fit so well with the Kiwi vibe (and with what I’d just eaten for dinner) that I had to try it. Pretty good for a blended Scotch!

Sheep Dip whisky!

The story is that the old distillers were trying to avoid paying taxes on some of their casks of whisky. So they labeled these “Sheep Dip” to trick the tax collectors. Whether it worked or not, I have no idea – but it makes for a good name, eh?

Scotch drinkers: what’s YOUR favorite single malt, and why? Currently I’m going with Mortlach, for its amazing unique flavor.

Posted 10 years, 8 months ago at 3:32 pm.

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