Two black doggies go to the beach
Summer means going to the beach and our doggies just love the beach. Loading up the car with bottles of water, portable drinking bowl and towels we headed off to the coast early in the morning to avoid traffic and the hordes of people that usually end up at the beach mid-morning. Bundy loves a car trip regardless of the destination, but Maxi knew that we were going somewhere special and once we got closer she could smell the salt air and her happy, excited face appeared.
Parking spots aplenty at that hour of the day, we chose a great spot by the water and under shade. As soon as the dogs were out of the car it was noses to the ground and it took all my strength to stop them from dragging me down to the water while Marty unloaded the necessary gear. Maxi loves to swim, Bundy loves to wade, Maxi and Bundy both love to roll in stinky dead things that they dig up and they both always end up covered in sand.
The car ride home is always a quiet one, Bundy lies down for a nap on the back seat and Maxi settles in her position so she can look out the window. Happy, tired dogs 🙂
I amsterdam in pictures
Auckland is not the capital of New Zealand
It is often thought that Auckland is the capital of New Zealand however, as any Kiwi will tell you, the current capital is actually Wellington, a smaller but no less interesting city located further south on the North Island. The original capital of the colony of New Zealand was actually a small settlement called Russell in the Bay of Islands, but I digress, this post is about Auckland, otherwise known as the City of Sails. Auckland was the capital for a short period of time after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 and then it moved to Wellington in 1865, Auckland is now considered the economic capital of New Zealand and it is the largest city in the country.
Earlier this year I posted photos taken with my iPhone 3, the quality was pretty poor however I liked the ‘retro’ effect created by the app I was enamored with at the time. These shots were taken with my handy little Panasonic Lumix TZ10, a great point and shoot camera that we bought to take to Europe last year. I did make the mistake of messing around with some of the automatic ‘effects’ such as HDR, although fun at the time the result was pretty ordinary.
My time to explore the city was limited to one full day and one night, weather on arrival was woeful and typical of the miserable weather that usually follows me on holiday so imagine my joy when I awoke to blue sunny skies the next day. Friends and family had advised me to hop on a ferry and cruise the Waitemata Harbour weather permitting, it was good advice and for about $20 I spent a relaxing couple of hours on the water. Stops of interest include Devonport, Stanley Bay and Rangitoto Island. Rangitoto Island is a unique, volcanic island with 3 peaks, it formed more than 600 years ago and if you have time you can hop off the boat and walk to the top of the crater for 360 degree views of the city, harbour and environs.
Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour is a recent development consisting of upmarket hotels, restaurants and office buildings, it is a popular spot for residents and tourists and if you love boats it is worth checking out. I wandered around for an hour or so, soaking up the sun and doing a spot of people watching but looking at boats for long periods of time doesn’t really interest me that much. The National Maritime Museum is near by and I could have spent more than a few dollars on All Blacks World Cup Rugby merchandise but the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki was calling and I’m a sucker for art gallery souvenirs.
The Auckland Art Gallery is free to visit, there is an entry fee for special exhibitions and events, at the time the Degas to Dali exhibition was touring and being a fan of many artists during the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries I couldn’t resist buying a ticket.
As the sunsets the harbour is quiet a pretty place to visit, a group of us from the conference I was attending gathered to explore the waterfront and find somewhere nice to eat. We headed to Queens Wharf to inspect ‘The Cloud’, a curved structure created to erected to accommodate events during the Rugby World Cup 2011, the view of the harbour and city was great, the lack of a space to sit and have a drink…not so much. Obligatory happy snaps taken, we moved on to the Viaduct harbour precinct and managed to find a most suitable place to drink and eat, alas no decent food photos to share but I can assure you that the meals were creatively presented and tasted absolutely delicious.
This was my first real stay in Auckland, yes, even though it was only for a short period of time and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Most of my trips to New Zealand usually only include a short stop at the airport before heading further north or returning to Australia, next time I hope to extend that to a nice long weekend and visit something of the amazing markets and wineries that I’ve heard so much about 🙂
Auckland, an iphone and the (free) Retro Camera app
Free time during a quick visit to Auckland for work allowed me to do a little sight seeing, thankfully the heavy rain dissipated and I had a perfect day for walking around the city. Rather than lug my DSLR to New Zealand (the weather was predicted to be miserable the entire time) I made use of the Retro Camera app on my iphone and a little point and shoot camera. These photos are all taken with an iphone 3 and the ‘polaroid’ function on Retro Camera, the result reminds me of all the old photos that my Mum took when we went on family holidays. I’ll share the other photos and details about my short stay later, my happy snaps of the City of Sails will have to do for now.