Day 29, Feb 2nd, Auckland, NZ
The ship was cleared by 8 am but since we were staying until 8pm we weren’t in any hurry to get ashore. We left the ship around noon. The weather today was perfect. We learned later that the weather yesterday was horrible, so our timing was good by getting here today.
Agricultural security is a big deal here in New Zealand and the ship makes a mandatory announcement every 30 minutes reminding guests about the restrictions in bringing ashore any type of food products.
The ship is connected to the cruise terminal at the Atrium on Deck 3 using a scissoring type jet way style system you find on many other cruise terminals around the world. There aren’t any shops in the terminal but there are few people available to answer questions along with a rack with some maps and other tourist information. Chairs are available for people who want to use the free Wi-Fi.
NOTE: The terminal has free Wi-Fi which is best early or late when only a few people have logged on. After an hour or so it may be difficult to log on since so many people will be using the system. You may not be able to connect since the system is probably limited to 100 simulations connections or something. If you have a cabin on the starboard side, you may be able to connect to the cruise terminal Wi-Fi from the ship. Late in the day, when most people were back on board, we were able to get a very fast connection from our cabin.
New Zealand Yarn Shop
Our first stop was New Zealand Fabric & Yarn in the Queen’s Arcade which is about 3 blocks away. There is construction in the area and we had to find a way around all the torn up and blocked off streets, but we were able to get there after a slight detour. NZ Fabric & Yarn is a smallish shop that specializes in local yarns, including possum blends, from New Zealand. Judy was hoping to get some Cervelt yarn that they had featured on their web page. The undyed, lace weight yarn is spun from the downy underbelly of the New Zealand Red Deer. Cher, who was working in the shop, told us the yarn is costly to produce and has since been discontinued. NZ Fabric & Yarn had a total of 9 balls, each one packaged in its own little clear plastic box. Yarn packaged that way is definitely a high-end yarn. Judy bought 4 balls, about 800 yards, which is enough to knit a Haruni shawl.
Wild and Wooly Yarn Shop
We left the Queen’s Arcade and ordered an Uber to take us to Wild & Wooly Yarns in Milford. Milford is on the other side of the harbor from Auckland about 10 miles away.
NOTE: Uber’s are readily available in the Auckland area and are very convenient because it is so easy to request one when you are not in an area with a taxi stand nearby. Using UBER requires a smartphone with a local data plan enabled. If you haven’t used UBER previously, take the time before you leave home to give is a try in familiar surroundings, to understand the process. It’s not complicated but being familiar with the app in advance will help you avoid frustration while traveling.
Fran, the owner of Wild & Wooly Yarns, greeted us and pointed Judy to the selection of possum blend yarns. Our Uber driver, whose mother knits, came in the store with us to look around and take some pictures. There was a nice selection to choose from. Judy settled on a gray fingering weight yarn from Naturally Amuri, a blend of 75% Pure New Zealand Merino and 25% Possum. She bought 9 hanks, about 2,358 yards, enough to make the long version of the Gisela cardigan. We had a wonderful time chatting with Fran while her wonderful dog was keeping a close eye on all the activity in the shop.
Our next stop was Devonport about 6 miles south. While we were waiting outside for an Uber to pick us up, a woman who was waiting for the bus, told us we needed to walk down the block on the other side of the street and look in the window of a shop called Craftworkz. When our Uber driver arrived, we asked him to make a U-turn and stop in front of Craftworks. Judy hopped out of the car and took some pictures of the window display. There was a crocheted VW bus and five crocheted dolls in swimming gear in the window. We didn’t have time to go in and look around (I mean shop) as they did have a selection of some yarn. We’ll put it on the ‘Next Time’ list.
Devonport is a small town with many interesting shops across the harbor from Auckland. We had our driver drop us off at Corelli’s – a nice restaurant with a menu full of fresh selections using local ingredients. Judy had some Fish and Chips while I had a Chicken Burger. They were both very good. I enjoyed a local beer as we used the free and fast Wi-Fi to synch up some programs on my laptop – something that is almost impossible on the ship.
Corelli’sAfter lunch we strolled around Devonport and stopped into a local grocery store where we picked up some interesting versions of “Kit Kat” cookies not available in the USA. The weather was gorgeous, and it was a wonderful day to wander around outside soaking in the local atmosphere.
The ferry terminal is across the street from Devonport’s shopping area. The ferry to Auckland takes about 15 minutes, costs $6.90 NZ pp each way and runs about every 30 minutes – with more frequent service during rush hour. You don’t need a ticket to board on the Devonport side. Tickets can be purchased from the snack bar while onboard, or from the agents on the Auckland side. You need a have a ticket to leave the terminal on the Auckland side. Most people use prepaid transit cards which are waved by a gate to gain access to the ferry. There is usually an agent manning an open gate to scan the paper tickets of people without the prepaid cards. The ferry terminal on the Auckland side is adjacent to the cruise ship passenger terminal.
As we headed toward Auckland on the ferry we discovered that views forward were obscured by the bridge and the forward superstructure of the ferry. There is an open seating area on the upper level which faces aft and would be a good spot to enjoy the Auckland skyline, but only when you are taking the ferry TO Devonport, not the reverse.
Back on the ship
There is an open sports area in front of the cruise terminal with people playing basketball on a half court and enough area for an impromptu soccer match.
We didn’t leave until 8 pm, which was nice as we didn’t have to rush back to the ship from Devonport and we had a little more time to venture further away from the ship.
Southern Fried Chicken was a popular choice for dinner this evening.
Annie Gong was headliner in the Queen’s Lounge. Annie is an amazing accordion player who puts on a wonderful show. She opened her performance while wearing a Darth Vader mask from the Star Wars movies as she played along to video clips from various Star Wars movies. An interesting start to an unconventional show. Many of the performers playing non-traditional instruments don’t mention their instrument in the show as many people will simply not attend an accordion show or flute show if it is advertised as such in advance.
Here is a list of the Auckland Yarn Shops we discovered
New Zealand Fabrics and Yarn
10AM to 5 PM
Shop 28, Queens Arcade, 34 Queen Street
168 Kitchener road, Milford
Wild & Woolly Yarns
10:30 to 3:30
93 Kitchener road, Milford