NZ Navy 75th

NZ Navy 75th

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.

Smoked salmon appetizer.

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.

Strolling in the park.
Sculpture in the park.

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.

The Indonesian ship Banda Aceh, a Banjarmasin-class Landing Platform Dock.
The Chilean tall ship, Esmeralda.
The Chinese and South Korean frigates.
We got off the ferry at the Devonport pier where there are several shops and restaurants. We walked outside and saw a lot of activity in a park near the dock. There were dozens, maybe hundreds, of hand-painted and decorated wooden birds. On one of them was written, “Save the Godwits.” A godwit is a native New Zealand bird. Their numbers are declining. One estimate I saw was just 75,000 in all of New Zealand.
Save the Godwits.
Looking at each one.
A flock of wooden birds.

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.

Devon On The Wharf.

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.

View toward the airport from One Tree Hill.
The obelisk at the summit of One Tree Hill.
View toward the CBD from One Tree Hill.
Looking toward the harbor.
The marina and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
RSS Resolution, a Singapore Endurance Class tank landing ship.
The New Zealand ship Otago, a Protector class offshore patrol vessel.
A kayaker.
The Chinese frigate, Yancheng.
The Republic of Korea frigate, Chungbuk.
Fishing from the Devonport pier.
Wall art in Devonport.
A massive tree.
Sky Tower.
Sky Tower looking west along Victoria Street.
Albert Park with the Sky Tower in the background.
The fountain in Albert Park.
Fountain detail.
Albert Park and a view of the Sky Tower.
Albert Park.
Flowers in the park.
Handrail leading down to the Auckland Art Gallery.
A “guard” at the Auckland Art Gallery.
Inside the Auckland Art Gallery.
The Landing of Lieutenant-Governor Hobson at Waitangi, by Matthew Clayton (1896).
Limbo by Judy Darragh (2015).
Limbo detail.
Limbo from above.
The Civic Theatre building.
Christmas display at the Farmers Department Store building.
The intersection of Queen & Victoria.

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