Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Friday, February 17, 2006

Auckland Update

It was Ciaran's birthday at the end of January and seeing as the sun's been so hot in Auckland
(poor us) we decided that it would make a nice change to go somewhere cold - seems a bit mad to us too - maybe we wanted a reminder of home!
So off we went to the -5 bar. This bar is made entirely from ice. The walls, the floor, the glasses even the bar itself. On the way in they give you a big thick coat and gloves to wear and of course a cocktail to help warm you up. After that it was on into town to meet up with Georgie and Barry. It was a great night out but definitely helped us to remember how much we dislike cold weather - it was freezing in there!

We have both been working Monday to Friday so just like home we were living for the weekends when we could get into town for some fun. Seeing as technically we're on our holidays we thought that we shouldn't just wait till the weekends for fun, so with that in mind we decided to move into the city so we can be close to the action.

Now we're living right in the very heart of Auckland, at Princes Wharf in the Viaduct. Our apartment is amazing, it's built on a pier in the harbour so we're surrounded by water, yachts, and even cruise ships! Some of the cruise ships that moor beside our building are so huge that you can't even see our building behind them. The QE2 was moored beside us for a couple of days last week. Here's a photo of it with our building to the left of it...
It's fantastic to get up in the morning and be beside the sea. The walk to work is far more interesting now that I'm passing by million dollar yachts!

Living in Auckland is so much fun at the moment. There's different festivals and activities on every weekend and for some strange reason they seem to have big firework displays nearly every week too. The last two weekends have been bank holidays to celebrate New Zealand Day and Auckland Day - it's kinda weird to think that Auckland is only 166 years old! They're running a series of free concerts in the park every week to celebrate. It's so nice to sit in the sunshine watching a band play on a Sunday afternoon.

Two weekends ago there was an international street entertainers festival. All around the city there were fire eaters, acrobats, musicians etc holding shows on the hour every hour. We really loved one of the acts which were two acrobats who were unbelievably agile. It was amazing to see what they could do.

Last weekend, to celebrate the Chinese new year there was a Chinese Lantern Festival in Albert Park. The entire park was decked out with different lanterns and there was entertainment like Chinese dragon dancing on all day. They also shut down one of the streets beside the park and turned it into a little Chinese food town. It was a really great day but when it got dark and all of the lanterns were lit up it was spectacular.

As our new apartment is built beside the ferry port we thought it would be a good idea to get the ferry to one of the islands close to the city. So on Sunday morning we headed over to Rangitoto. Rangitoto is an island which was created 250 years ago when an underwater volcano erupted and lava came to the surface of the water. The lava built up after more and more eruptions until evenually the eruptions stopped and grass and trees began to grow. It was fairly cool to spend the day hiking up to the top of a volcano! and the views from the top were definitely worth the effort, then we treked back down to the beach for a picnic before getting the ferry home.

Apart from all the activities were really enjoying just living in the city centre and being close to the nightlife, and all the hustle & bustle of town. This weekend we're heading to a food and wine festival in Devonport to spend Saturday afternoon in the sunshine with a glass of wine - life is great at the moment!