Auckland, New Zealand – November 17, 2016
Another business trip to Auckland! I am fortunate that Leslie can travel with me on so many of my business trips.
On this particular trip, on our way to the hotel, Leslie asked the taxi driver where we could find crayfish for dinner. He suggested Sails Restaurant. We made arrangements to have him pick us up later that evening and take us to the restaurant for dinner.
The restaurant is at the Westhaven Marina. The dining area is on the first floor with a beautiful view of the marina and the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Our starter was a smoked salmon platter. It came with a melba toast type cracker, beetroot, and assorted greens. Maybe it was the ambiance, but the salmon was the best tasting I had had in quite some time.
Our main course was the crayfish Leslie wanted. In New Zealand, crayfish are equivalent to lobster, not the mudbugs that one might find in Louisiana. Here, the crayfish are very similar to lobster. The main difference is the claws; they are much smaller on the species here. The meat looks the same as a lobster. It also pulls out in clumps like lobster. The taste though is not as rich. For me, that makes it all the more delicious. It was not served with melted butter; however, Leslie was able to talk them into bringing some to the table.
Dessert was just as good as the other two courses. I had the crème brûlèe. Leslie’s dessert was reminiscent of doughnut holes, ice cream, and caramel. It was quite good, but it made up for the crayfish not being rich!
One morning we walked to Albert Park and, subsequently, the Auckland Art Gallery. It was a beautiful morning. We found many varying views of the Sky Tower.
When we visited the gallery, one of the exhibits contained dozens of pieces of work by Gottfried Lindauer. He was a renown portrait artist in New Zealand at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. His portraits of Maori with their various moko facial tattoos. We enjoyed seeing so much of his work.
Saturday morning, we had time to tour around. We settled on taking the ferry from Auckland across the harbor to Devonport. We would have been hard-pressed to pick a cloudier, more drizzly day. But, it is what it is, so off we went.
There were several naval ships from around the world anchored in the harbor. They were taking part in the New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary. One of the invitees, the USS Sampson was absent. The ship made the trip to New Zealand to participate; however, it volunteered to be rerouted to the South Island to assist with recovery efforts following the 7.8 magnitude Kaikoura earthquake. That earthquake occurred about one week before the anniversary celebration. It would have been nice to see her. This appearance in New Zealand waters was the first time a United States ship had been welcomed for more than 30 years.
We continued walking around the CBD of Devonport, exploring the many shops and cafés. Near the Devonport library, there is a massive tree. Other than fake trees at Disney World, I am not sure I have ever seen a tree with such a large trunk.
Back at the pier complex, we stopped in the Devon on the Wharf restaurant. We had a leisurely lunch.
After lunch, we stood in a queue to wait for our ferry back to Auckland. While there, I spotted a “no” sign. It was amazing to see one sign with so many “illegal actions.”
Back in Auckland, we prepared for our journey back home. On our way to the airport, our driver took us to One Tree Hill. It offers 360-degree views of Auckland.