Auckland Anniversary Day

As promised, photos from the Auckland Anniversary Day celebrations, which was Monday 29 January.

Auckland Anniversary Day is a public holiday in Auckland, New Zealand.  The whole long weekend (because the holiday is Mondayised) is a celebration of Auckland, and that usually means a pretty heavy focus on the harbour.  After all, Auckland is ‘the city of sails’.  The Auckland Anniversary Regatta is the largest single-day boat regatta in the world (according to Wikipedia).

We started at the port, which was partially open to the public.  They had helicopter rides (which were a little beyond our budget), boat rides, etc.  They had water cannons spraying the crowd with water, which was very refreshing.  It was damn hot!  They also had free sunscreen and drinking water available, which was much appreciated and we made liberal use of.  I even ended up tipping water over my head just to cool down. Despite all the sunscreen I did a little burnt, but thankfully not too bad.

There were food stalls everywhere, with everything from seafood to hot dogs, to traditional Maori or Pacific Island food.  The kids got frozen ice treats with the little bit of spending money I gave them.

There were buskers everywhere, playing music, frozen still like statues or performing magic or acrobatic tricks to entertain the public.  My daughter and her friend liked the acrobatic ones best.

There were, of course, plenty of boats out on the harbour, including traditional Maori and Pacific Island canoes and boats.

 

So there you go.  Happy anniversary, Auckland!

Auckland City Walk

I did the Auckland City Walk today, with my mum, my daughter and my daughter’s friend.  It’s on the edge of the Waitakere Ranges, and is part of a bird sanctuary called Ark in the Park.  You don’t see many birds on the walk, as they’re spread out and tend to stay away from the public paths, but there is an abundance of native plants and trees.

It’s not a difficult walk.  The path is well maintained and it takes about an hour to walk the loop (if you don’t keep stopping to take photographs).  We took a detour and went uphill (and upstairs) for a better view, so we took a bit longer.  There are a few tracks that branch off the Auckland City Walk, and I’ve done some of them previously.  The Montana Heritage Trail takes about four hours, and I’ve done that before.  The detour we took was a small portion of that track.

It was so good to be out and about with my camera.  I’ve missed taking photos.  Been too long.

 

 

It was really too hot to be bush walking today (it’s New Zealand’s hottest January on record), but it was nice to be out and about, and good to be taking photographs.  It’s Auckland Anniversary Day tomorrow (yay, no work!) so we’re hoping to head into town to capture some of the festivities.

Distraction

My feet ached in blue suede heels
I’d bought on sale at Westgate,
but I was distracted by the way
the evening sun caught the Auckland skyline
as I drove over the causeway.

 

Yep, this is another poem recorded while driving home.  See, I told you I am more inspired when driving than any other time!  Ha ha!

I wish I could have taken a photo for you, as the Auckland skyline really did look amazing in the evening sunlight.  There’s a spot when you’re driving along the Northwestern Motorway, just as you go over the causeway, where the Auckland Harbour Bridge lines up perfectly with the Auckland city skyline.  Unfortunately, there’s nowhere safe to stop and take photos, so instead, you just have to take my word for it.  🙂

Murphy’s Aurora

Apparently New Zealand is in the middle of a ‘super massive’ Aurora. The Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights, are supposed to be the brightest they’ve been in two years. Photographing the Aurora is one of the items on my photography bucket list, so when they said that visibility would be better from the east coast, I headed to my mother and sister’s house. They live about an hour away from me, on the east coast, whereas I’m on the west coast.

I headed up straight after work, and while Mum was making dinner, I did some research on how to photograph Aurora. I found this article really useful.

My mother and sister had a yoga class to go to after dinner, so I sat and read my book while I waited for them. When they came back they informed me that the cloud cover hadn’t dispersed as predicted, and so we might not be able to get a clean shot. I figured I might as well make the most of the two-hour round trip, so I suggested we head out and take some photos of the Auckland city lights at night. Well, we set up our tripods and snapped some shots, but the wind kept buffeting our cameras and ruining the shots. Then it started to rain.  It clearly wasn’t meant to be.

As it turns out, we were never going to see the Aurora. Firstly, it was only going to be visible ‘as far north as Wairarapa’. Ugh. That’s nearly 8 hours’ drive south of me. Secondly, there was a full moon. Thirdly, it was delayed and didn’t arrive until 6am which means it was only there at daylight when no one could see it anyway.

My sister was laughing at me, and pointed out that I had driven all that way to read my book in their house while they went to yoga. #fail

Then, in the way of Murphy’s Law, the motorway was closed for roadworks and it took me longer to get home than it should have. *facepalm*

I’d say that the moral of the story is to do your research first before leaping into action, which would have saved me the trip, but I actually don’t agree with that sentiment. Yeah, if you’re spending a lot of time or money on something, definitely do your research first. But spontaneity has its place. So, it cost me a couple of hours of my time. No big deal. We had a laugh, and learned some stuff.

My kids love it when my husband and I surprise them with spontaneous silliness, like driving to Pokeno (an hour’s drive) for an ice cream, or deciding that each person in the car in turn can decide which direction we turn at the next intersection. Ha ha, that last one saw us driving in circles around Blockhouse Bay. The kids thought it was hilarious though.

While I was at Mum’s, she asked me what I was reading at the moment. We share an Amazon account, as we both read romance ebooks. She reads more historical romance than I do, and she doesn’t read my m/m books, but there’s a lot of overlap. Anyway, I said I was in the middle of a m/m book (Found At The Bookstore by Christi Snow) and she said she was reading a Lori Foster book. She’d read When You Dare, the first book in the Edge of Honor series, then moved on to Bare It All, which is the second in the Love Undercover series. I asked her why she wasn’t reading them in order, and she said that because it wasn’t obvious by the title, she had no way of knowing the reading order. So I looked them up on Lori Foster’s website and made a list for Mum of the correct reading order for the two series. I also thought she might like the Buckhorn Brothers series, so I wrote down the order for that one too. So see, I did accomplish something. Ha ha!

Winter in Auckland

Landmarks slide in and out of the fog.
Dancing behind a vaporous veil,
landmarks slide in and out of the fog.

The sea spits mouthfuls of frothy ale,
like an oil painting I once saw,
dancing behind a vaporous veil.

Gulls tumbling above the waves screech and caw
as the wet wind tosses them to and fro
like an oil painting I once saw.

The sodden remnants of autumn’s glow
cling desperately to clammy concrete
as the wet wind tosses them to and fro.

The whistle past my ears, on repeat,
as fat droplets of water bunch and
cling desperately to clammy concrete.

A soft focus scene, dreary and bland,
landmarks slide in and out of the fog
as fat droplets of water bunch and
landmarks slide in and out of the fog.