Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Where birds don't fly ...

Upon arriving in Auckland last week, one of the first things we wanted to do was check into our room and get some sleep.  But as it turned out, it was a beautiful day in Auckland, (which this time of year doesn't happen all that often we are told), so we went about exploring.

We checked into our room at Sky City, one of those windows on the left in the above image, and returned to the front of the building where the Sky Tower is firmly planted.

Sky Tower is an observation/telecommunications tower with boasting rights of being the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere.  There is a revolving restaurant at the top as well as SkyJump, a 630 foot jump from an observation deck.  Think bungee jump with guided cables racing to the concrete below at 85 miles an hour!  This adventure I totally passed on!

We then headed up to Mount Eden, 
the volcano that erupted 28,000 years ago and left a 165 foot crater.  
Being one of the highest points in Auckland, it provides a spectacular view of the city.

Time for lunch, so we headed up to Brown's Bay 
with its plentiful cafes and ice cream shops.  
Being still on the cusp of Spring, the beach was pretty empty.  
And that's okay by me!

Of course, I always have my eye out for any form of wildlife and was treated with this fellow.
It's a Pukeko, a common bird, also called Purple Swamphen in other parts of the world.

I was amazed to learn that most birds in New Zealand evolved to lose the ability to fly 
or not do it very well. With no predators who ate bird or egg, 
and with good food on the ground to eat, they gradually lost the power of flight.

By the way, there are no land snakes as well!
That, I like.

We had dinner in the city by the harbor which gave us an awesome 
evening view of the Sky Tower.

The next day, we took a car ferry to Waiheke Island 
where I'll share some of their beautiful landscape in the next blog.  

More to come later, my friends,