Here is what I found in Auckland on Day 1

(36o 51.164' S; 174o 45.895' E;  Elevation = 42')

My first impressions of Auckland were that it has a pretty vibrant center city section.  The streets are flooded with people, cars and buses.  Lots of pretty young girls, a just about everyone, sans the tourists, are well dressed. My hotel is right on the main drag (Queen St), a few blocks above the harbor.  Right across the street is the old City Hall, that doubles as a concert hall for the Auckland Chorus, among other performing groups. 

The folks in Auckland even staged a demonstration of striking union workers for my pleasure!

The signature Sky Tower of the town is just two or three blocks away.  The waterfront is active with local cruise boats, ocean-going cruise liners, and lots of people milling around.  There are many restaurants, here, and I had a nice lunch in a fairly elegant Japanese one, with some sashimi and grilled eel over rice.  It was good.









With a little time to kill, I made a quick trip through the Auckland Maritime Museum.  It was interesting--especially the material and information about Maori war canoes, Captain Cook's visits to New Zealand, and some of the information they had about the whaling days.  They had a very nice film of the actual killing of a right whale from shore based boats, using exploding harpoons.  It was interesting.

On my second day in Auckland I decided to take a trip across the Hauraki Gulf to the island of Tiritiri Matangi, which is a predator-free island, maintained by the Department of Conservation as a preserve for endangered New Zealand endemic birds and lizards.