Also known as The Day Of The Full Day Tour. It’s really quite cruel when an alarm forces you to get out of your warm and cozy bed, but time it was to get ready for the trip. We started off with nice hot showers and an early attempt at breakfast. We stocked up on our snacks (mostly crisps and water because we weren’t quite sure what lunch would entail), together with our raincoats (which we forgot we had brought along on the trip) and were all set to go. We thought the tour had been booked with GrayLine but as in turns out the hotel had booked us with Bush and Beach, which turned out to be a good thing in the end. The morning city tour ended up being a private tour with our lovely English guide, Dawn, who had backpacked to New Zealand with the intention of staying for 3 months, only to end up staying there for about 28 years. It’s funny how things turn out.
Dawn was amazing enough to swap out our Queen’s section of the tour since we’d pretty much been everywhere. Instead, we started of with some fabulous views of the city. After yesterday’s umbrella incident, we were worried that it might turn out to be another cloudy day but we were incredibly lucky. While it was freezing cold, there was not a single trace of a cloud which meant visibility was absolutely stunning.
From the deep blue so close to touch, we moved up to Achilles Point. There’s one thing about Auckland that I’ve got to point out here… every view seems decidedly better than the last, so much so that you’re hard pressed to pick a favourite. It was the same with Achilles Point- yet another place on my long list of “Ooooh let’s live here” places.
But since we couldn’t live there, we were forced to move on towards Parnell. Parnell is a world apart from Queen’s and Albert Street. While those places were packed with people on the move, Parnell had more of a laid back small-town feel, with cozy homes turned-shops and cafes lining the streets. It was not always such a place and the story of its transformation made it all the more charming.
It was at Parnell’s that we came across St. Mary’s Church, one of the oldest wooden churches, and known for two things. It’s first distinction is that it was lifted from its original location and moved across the street to accommodate some fancy new housing development. The second is that this is where Sir Edmund Hillary’s service was held.
Reminded that the main religion in New Zealand is actually rugby, we then headed to the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Despite the schoolchildren on their trip, the mood was sombre…Lest We Forget.
We may never forget, but are our memories enough to stop us from repeating the same mistakes? It would appear not and that makes all the difference.