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24 hours in Auckland for Anniversary Weekend

On the way to Taupo and the Tongaririo Northern Circuit a few weeks ago, Mark, Jen & I overnighted in Auckland.  We had no idea that dropping in on Auckland on a Sunday afternoon and Monday morning in late January would mean that our visit coincided with the Auckland Anniversary Day celebrations.  The day celebrates the arrival of the first English governor to New Zealand in the Auckland region in 1840.  

I stayed at The Quadrant Hotel, up on the hill near Abert Park and Auckland University, which was a good little boutique hotel that was the mystery hotel on Wotif when I booked.  From there, I wandered down the hill to the city to meet Mark and Jen for dinner.  Just out the door was a view of the Auckland Sky Tower, which proclaims itself as the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere.  Quite a claim, and being New Zealand, you can even bungy jump off from the observation level at the top.  This was not for us, as we were hungry.

As we ate dinner at a Spanish restaurant along the waterside, we saw large numbers of people milling along the dockside.  The restaurant staff were more in the dark than we were, and we had to ask stupid questions of the onlookers to work out what the fuss was all about.  The locals were out in force for a fireworks show, which we got to see more-or-less from our table.  It was quite a spectacular display, and according to the TV news that I saw the next morning, the largest Auckland has ever seen.  Well, maybe I didn’t think it was *that* spectacular, but it did mean that I had two fireworks displays in a row – the other one being for Australia Day in Melbourne the night before.

Berthed further along the dock was the HMNZS Te Kaha, which was in town to help celebrate Anniversary Day.

Before I left Auckland to head down to Taupo the next morning, I took an early morning walk around the city, and in particular, down along the waterfront.  Quite a few yachts were getting ready to sail, including some sailing ships who were taking day trippers out onto the harbour.

I’ve since learned that the Auckland Anniversary Regatta is claimed to be the largest one-day regatta in the world.  Here are some photos of this year’s regatta (which I didn’t get to see).  Below is a photo of quite a grand sailing ship taking on passengers before sailing.

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