Monday, February 10th
Today began with a lecture by our Auckland site coordinator, Len. He spoke to us about the history of New Zealand which included a slide show and visuals. It was very interesting.
Our walk to the Viaduct Basin was easy and we had a yacht cruise on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. It was perfect weather and there was enough wind to sail around for an hour. Our boat was called the Defiance.
We met our bus driver for the next few days and his name is Ben and he is Māori, but not full-blooded. Our guide had the bus driver take us through the University of Auckland campus. It has over 60,000 students who attend and it is the largest university in New Zealand.
We stopped at Eden Garden which is just under 6 acres. It was created in an abandoned quarry at the base of Mt. Eden. We enjoyed lunch in their cafe and had time to explore the gardens after lunch!
Our next stop was to visit Auckland’s War Memorial Museum. On our way we made a quick stop at the Auckland Domain Wintergardens. It opened in 1913 and contains many rare and beautiful plants that are displayed in two Victorian style glass houses with a courtyard between them. One house is heated and contains tropical plants and the other house contains temperate plants that change with the seasons.
At the War Memorial Museum, a docent gave us a tour with a focus on the permanent Polynesian and European settlement exhibitions.
There was some free time to visit other parts of the museum on our own. It was an excellent overview but one could spend a day exploring this wonderful museum.