There is a theme to my life… start each day with some form of exercise. It’s a bloody pain and on this particular day it was literally just that… painful (I started a new exercise routine, so I was paying the price). On a side note – this form of self discipline has been truly invaluable. Through the pain we decided to go for a walk instead.
If you didn’t know (well let me tell you), a third of New Zealand’s land is protected in parks and reserves, therefore making it easy to access nature. So it is super easy to find parks etc.
We headed to Pakuranga Rotary walk. The pathway is along the water from Panmure Bridge right up to Prince Regent Drive in Farm Cove. There are plenty of entry points parallel to the walkway (through several streets), as well as exit points. The 9 kilometre shared walkway is a delight for walking, running and cycling. The majority of the path is sealed with very small sections in gravel and is mostly flat; so one will not expire easily from walking!
The walkway is also signposted with historical and geological information as well as the distance and how long it will take to get to the next landmark. Along the way there are PLENTY of bench seats and grassy places to take a siesta and take in the picturesque views of the Tamaki River and a lot of greenery. However be forewarned it can get very windy (as we experienced this)!
Given the recent findings of the first Moa footprints in the South Island of New Zealand (possibly the oldest Moa footprints ever found); we decided to head out to the Auckland War Memorial Museum to see… Moa. The choice was also driven by the sad, rainy and windy weather (It’s not called the City of Sails for nothing!).
Parking was a bit of a nightmare as everyone was basically thinking the same thing – parking by the entrance! After going around and round the building we finally spotted FREE parking in the Domain for 180 minutes (a few minutes walk away from the entrance). This is a great option for people like myself who are budget conscious (I know there is parking underneath the building… but I really did not want to pay for parking. Cheapskate? Maybe…).
Admission is FREE for Auckland residents; all you need is to prove you reside in this great city – by providing a power bill etc. In this day an age no one gets paper bills anymore they are all electronic. So all you need is to bring up your bills on your phone or a library card – whatever works. A donation or koha is invited for New Zealanders. International visitors are charged $25NZD for adults and $10NZD for children. Sometimes they over special deals, be sure to check at the counter.
The building is a colonial building, right in the middle of the Domain (surrounded by greenery). As you enter you are issued a map of all the exhibits, so one can find their way around the building. The museum is filled with not only war history, but also artefacts of the Maori people, nature and animals of New Zealand – the famed giant Moa that towers over you. The exhibits are fascinating with great interactive parts (for both adults and children).
The ground floor has lots of Maori and Polynesian artefacts.
The first floor has volcanoes and an earthquake room (highly recommended! It has a house where you can experience what it would be like if an eruption was to happen in Auckland. The whole experience is about 12 minutes long).
The upper floor depicts the two world wars. The war displays and information were sobering but very informative. It was very interesting to see how close the ties were between New Zealand and the United Kingdom. There is a dedicated hall of remembrance inside the museum for serviceman that never came back home (New Zealand) after the wars.
There is also an interactive part; where one can wear the heavy coats and hats that the soldiers wore.
The atmosphere of the museum is modern, but yet is still very respectful to history. Taking photos and videos is allowed in most of the areas (there are signs).
It was such a lovely way to spend the day; indoors shielded from the weather. I am still learning a heck of a lot in this great city I live in!