Thursday, December 13, 2012

Summertime Christmas in Auckland

Auckland Skyline from the water with Sky Tower and old ferry bldg.
Auckland's skyline 

Welcome to Auckland, a.k.a. the City of Sails.  So named because it is almost completely surrounded by water and boasts more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world.  Of course, then there is Auckland's other name, its traditional name Tamaki Makau Rau. Versions vary as to what this means but the tourist literature seems to like the "desired by many" translation. Since Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and home to a third of the country's population we'll go with that!  

Very large Santa on Queen Street building in downtown Auckland
Santa and his Reindeer welcome shoppers downtown.
It is summertime in New Zealand and Auckland is all decked out for the Christmas season. An enormous Santa and two Reindeer watch over the Queen Street shopping district while just down the street a Raggae band gives a lunchtime concert to folks sprawled in lawn chairs.  It's a bit strange for us - we're enjoying sunshine, wearing shorts, and applying sunscreen liberally while listening to Christmas music on the radio.

Downtown lunchtime concert in the park.  We've been told that there is a
hole in the ozone layer above New Zealand and to always use our sunscreen.

Close up of Auckland's Sky Tower
Auckland's Sky Tower is the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere.
For a thrill, you can bungee jump off the tower over the downtown traffic.
Auckland's old Ferry Building from the water
The easiest mode of transportation into the city from our village is the ferry.
It runs all day long and drops off right downtown at Auckland's old Ferry Building.

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