Another busy week in Auckland. We left my brother’s place to stay with my niece and her partner in Howick a suburb of Auckland.
Howick Historical Village
The first day we visited the Howick Historical Village and met one of Auckland’s celebrities the Mad Butcher who was doing some filming for a documentary at the village. The village itself is charming and like stepping back into the past without the smells of people living in tents and using outdoor latrines.
Howick Historical Village was established in 1980 as a recreated colonial village in New Zealand. The era it recreates is between 1840-1880 and covers 7 acres. It cost $15 each entry, however we had a 2 for 1 coupon from a book we picked up at tourist information. They have lots of original restored kauri buildings. On the day we visited their was filming for a documentary. If you have small children there are lots of things for them to do. It was interesting finding out the history of Auckland and how Britain feared France may try to take over New Zealand. The Government of the day made all sorts of Pollyanna promises to 2500 ex-miltary men and their families if they moved to New Zealand, such as new houses awaiting them. The settlers were known as the Royal NZ Fencible Corps. Boy, did they get a surprise on arriving at their new home! The houses promised turned out to be just tents. You can spend a pleasant few hours here exploring the village and about the history and day-to-day activities of a New Zealand colonial village.
In the afternoon we drove around the bays of Auckland. We spent some time visiting Michael Savage’s Memorial near Bastion Point and drove up to the summit of Mt Eden to enjoy some more views of the Auckland city skyline and surrounding countryside.
A visit to Hunua Falls, a Black Sand Beach and a farm
The next day we drove out to Hunua Ranges to look at Hunua Falls. It was a bit odd as there was a group of surveyors there mapping the bottom of the falls. They were doing this as people sometimes jump off the falls and get sucked down under the falls and the police divers have problems finding the bodies. This is due to the muddiness of the water. Afterwards we drove to Daniel’s parents farm where Debbie got to do a bit of chicken whispering and see some pigs. We then drove to Karioitahi beach which is a black sand beach and enjoyed a walk along it. Then a drive back through the countryside and a stop at Waiuki for a nice meat pie.
A trip to Rangitoto Island
Rangitoto Island is 700 years old and a result of a volcanic eruption. The island is circular with the summit 260 metres high and covers 2311 hectares. The island has the largest Pohutukawa forest in the world and if you visit between November till the end of January you can see the tree’s in bloom. It is known as the New Zealand Xmas tree. To get to Rangitoto we took the metro into Auckland’s Britomart Station. From there it is a short walk to the ferry terminal. The cost of an adult ticket to Rangitoto Island is NZ$30 return, we did have a coupon from the tourist A-Z of Auckland which saved NZ$3 for one adult. The ferry goes first to Devonport to pick up other passengers and then to the island. It takes around 45 minutes. We left at 9.15 am enjoying a nice ride across the harbour.
On arrival we immediately headed up to the summit of the volcano. There are some lovely views going up to the top and the track is easy. It takes a leisurely hour to reach the summit. From the summit there are views of Auckland and you can also do a short walk around the rim of the volcano. Afterwards we took a detour on our way back to the wharf to explore the lava caves which you can walk through one and scramble through the other. Well worth the detour. We also were lucky in seeing a saddleback bird near the summit. There is no food or drink on the island so we brought a picnic which we ate at the wharf while waiting for the 2.30 ferry back to Auckland. It is a great day out and a nice way to spend four and a half hours.
The next day we went to Tiritiri Matangi which I am going to write in a separate blog explaining how to book an overnight stay on this Bird Sanctuary and the only place in Auckland where you can see a wild kiwi in its natural habitat plus a plethora of other wild New Zealand native birds.