Sky Tower

We had planned a leisurely walk to the sky tower for our first NZ dinner date. Asking the concierge for the best route thwarted our plan, it was apparently uphill all the way from our hotel, his charades impression of sweating man was enough to put the long-suffering off from walking anywhere ever again!

Grabbing a taxi, we were as cool as cucumbers and arrived at the tower refreshed and ready for the lift up to the main observation on 51st floor. Dining at the sky tower allows for a free viewing experience either 45 mins before or after your meal.

The tower itself stands 328m tall, our first stop would be 220m above sea level with 360 panoramic views out up to 80 kilometres in every direction. First though the lift…an experience in itself, travelling at 18kph it takes approx 40 sec to reach our destination, with a part glass floor looking down the diminishing shaft, and intermittent views out and down over the city it is not for the faint hearted – my long-suffering included who just happens to suffer greatly at altitude! The journey reminded him of the tower of terror ride our daughter forced him on in Orlando.

For my dear long-suffering it was about to get a lot worse, the views out and down from floor 51 were breathtaking, with clear skies we were afforded the complete viewing experience. In only two days great heights have been ever-present in our itinerary – this topping them all – a measure then of his fondness for me? He visibly paled, and repeatedly did the can I look down? No I can’t shuffle? All the while trying to compose the best shot. Me, I was happy to lay flat back against the huge glass windows or stand on the rectangular glass floor panels as his loving muse!

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Another nine floors up takes you to the Sky deck the highest view out, my suggestion of walking around the outside perimeter – yes that is a pre-bookable option, as is jumping off! – fell on deaf ears!

Our dinner date at the Orbit 360 revolving restaurant on the 52nd floor was altogether a more relaxing experience if a little weird at first especially as my grey matter could not work out which part was actually moving round. Luckily the long-suffering was on  his A-game rescuing my handbag from the outer ring before it took a solo tour round All the other diners!

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Our meal from the specials menu – lamb steak, mushrooms, creamy mash, mange tout and truffle sauce was delicious, the lamb cooked perfectly medium rare. Dessert – Pavlova, him, creme de menthe hot chocolate, me – liquor!

We did walk back to our hotel all down hill, luckily long-sufferings sense of direction is excellent, left up to me we would have ended uptown. He tuts repeatedly at me as he grabs my hand, harbour-side after all will not be found uphill!

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Tomorrow the real adventure begins as we pick up our Wilderness motor home for the Road Trip of a lifetime……..

Auckland

Our adventure begins…… Aside from the usual body search/pat downs as my metal hip set the security sensors into overdrive all my worries about surviving the long flight – elephant legs, blood clots, acute stiffness, plane crashing, hyperventilating over long hours in a confined space – thankfully came to nothing. Flying Air New Zealand, premium economy in their comfy adaptable space seats did much to soothe both hip and overactive imagination.

Clear blue sky was the forecast in Auckland and it didn’t disappoint. A quick shower and change of clothes and we were ready to explore. Our hotel concierge suggested a harbourside walk to the ferry terminal, from there we could catch the half hourly ferry over to Devonport and maybe climb two of the fifty or so volcanic cones Auckland is built on and around. Considering our lack of sleep we were feeling surprisingly energetic!

It was Auckland anniversary day – a public holiday – the quiet harbour would soon become a bustling hub of life as the biggest sailing regatta got underway.

The ferry crossing was short approx ten minutes. We decided to climb Mount Victoria first being the nearer of the two. The journey was straight up from the ferry drop  taking us past rows of quaint shops and cafes. The steep climb up to the top was well worth the stunning panoramic views out over Auckland to the sky tower in the distance and the Bay surrounding us, water sparkling between the many flotillas of sailing boats from small dinghys to stately yachts.

Ice cold beers beckoned on our descent in one of the cafes we passed on the way up,before walking back towards the harbours edge to continue our short tour of Devonports coast route.

Deciding north head – the second volcanic cone was within our range we walked on and up once more. Again the view from the top was just as stunning. Both were once fortified village sites with gun embankments and bunkers. The Navy still maintains a presence here today.

Back down at the waterfront there followed late lunch a tasty affair consisting of: venison burgers, chips and salad washed down with another refreshing ice cold beer, and the standard glass of water to dilute the alcohol effects!

The ferry back was a blustery affair, I was grateful for my hoody, not so the long-suffering who put a brave, now rather fast reddening – no holiday has ever been complete without his starter holiday glow – face as the cold wind whipped through us with the speed of the boat.

 

And so to bed……..zzzzzzzz