Auckland: Wintergarden, Museum, Art Gallery
Sunday 27th February
I left my big pack in the hostel's left luggage service, then walked
through the University and across to the Domain.
I only visited the Wintergarden because it was on the way to the museum,
but I ended up spending half an hour there. The Wintergarden has "Cool"
and "Warm" greenhouses: the former has more traditional flowers, but the
latter has some real exotics, with the giant water lilies the highlight.
There's also a large fernery which I didn't visit at all!
In the Auckland Museum, I most enjoyed the section on Maori natural
history - this covered Maori use and understanding of the natural world,
with first-class interpretive signs and displays. The more traditional
natural history collection is also excellent.
There's an extensive collection of Maori taonga ("treasures")
and Pacific items, which I didn't have time to explore fully. There are
some stunning items on display, but the exhibits lack much in the way
of description or commentary. There's also a whole floor devoted to
New Zealand's wars - in fact the building doubles as a war memorial.
(You are allowed to take photos inside the museum, but I was too busy
looking at the exhibits.)
I took a "bush" track from the museum down to the edge of the domain,
where I stopped to have lunch (tuna on kavli). I fitted in a quick visit
to the University Book Shop, then headed to the Auckland Art Gallery.
I didn't spend that long browsing the galleries, but fitted in
coffee and cake in the cafe and spent some time in the excellent bookshop, Parsons,
which is next to one of the Art Gallery buildings.
a waiting backpacker (crop)
I wandered around the CBD a little more, then it was time to pick up my
pack from the hostel and wait for the airbus. This was a while coming,
so I amused myself by photographing everyone who jaywalked in front
of the bus stop. The bus wound around central Auckland, visiting what
seemed like every hostel and hotel - ten minutes after I got on we were
back at the same intersection, turning a different way. (The airbus
can apparently take an hour to get to the airport.)
I was among the last few checking in and went straight through security.
I just had time to pick up some wooden coasters Camilla wanted more of,
in the last shop before the departure gate. The plane was full and the
pilot warned us that he wouldn't be able to get above clouds, but the
flight was sedate: I finished The Life of Pi five minutes before
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