After a hectic day 2 we slept in a little on Sunday. That two hour time difference seems so small, yet it still takes some adjusting! We have no difficulties staying awake late into the evening – but those mornings are much harder.
Once we were up and organised we headed in to Downtown Auckland to catch a ferry across to Waiheke Island. Stella was greatly entertained by the vehicle in the above photo.
Both the Sea Princess and Diamond Princess cruise ships were in town. They really are huge close up! The Fullers Ferry over to Waiheke Island is a passenger only ferry. They run every half an hour or so, and the trip took around half an hour. There are a number of ferry services used to commute around the harbour (much like in Sydney). The trip over provided us with excellent views of the city and surrounding islands.
Upon arrival we jumped onto one of the local buses that service the island. Wikipedia tells me the following: Waiheke Island (/waɪˈhɛkiː/; Māori: [ˈwaihɛkɛ]) is the most populated and second-largest island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand. Its ferry terminal in Matiatia Bay at the western end is 21.5 km (13.4 mi) from the central-city terminal in Auckland. Waiheke is the second-largest island in the gulf, after Great Barrier Island, and is the most populated island in the gulf, with 9,250 permanent residents; another estimated 3,400 have second or holiday homes on the island. It is New Zealand’s most densely populated island, with nearly 100 people/km², and the third most populated after the North and South Islands.
First stop was Oneroa, where we enjoyed a tasty lunch before going on a wander down the main street. It was very busy, which was to be expected on New Year’s Eve! There were a number of sculptures on display throughout the town (they were also available to purchase).
The island is full of wineries and galleries and similar places that would be great to explore with plenty of time and without a tween and a teen. Instead, we jumped back onto a local bus and headed to the Waiheke Museum. It is a volunteer run museum with items donated by locals. This leads to an interesting mixture of eras in each of the displays.
Back to the bus stop to head to the beach! The girls entertained themselves playing thumb wars.
We (‘we’ being everyone except me, who looked after our stuff) swam at Onetangi beach. Wikipedia tells me that it is a 1.87-kilometre (1.16-mile) long, north-facing beach lining Onetangi, a Māori name meaning “weeping sands”. For many years it has been the site of the Onetangi Beach Horse Races. Its western end, often inaccessible at high tide, is clothes-optional. It has sandcastle-building contests annually; participants have a few hours to build their creations in soft sand that is free of shells and suitable for digging.
Santa really should have brought Clare an adult sized round towel rather than a child sized one. Then before we knew it time had flown – back on the bus, back to the ferry, then back to Auckland and back home. Stella was thrilled to find a small fluffy dog to cuddle on the ferry – she is missing Buzz!
We passed the Sky Tower on the way. The Sky Tower is an observation and telecommunications tower located at the corner of Victoria and Federal Streets in the Auckland CBD, Auckland, New Zealand. It is 328 metres (1,076 ft) tall, as measured from ground level to the top of the mast,making it the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere and the 23rd tallest tower in the world. It has become an iconic landmark in Auckland’s skyline due to its height and unique design. (Thanks Wikipedia). We didn’t go inside and up the tower to see the views, although apparently they are spectacular.
And then it was dinner, then drinks, then everyone in bed before the year turned from 2017 into 2018. May your new year be a happy and fulfilling one.