“Rugby World Cup” Fever has hit New Zealand in a big way and nowhere more so than here in my home city, Auckland. On our wander down the east cost side of the North Island passing beautiful seaside scenery of blue waters white sands and green paddocks we eventually head into the city of busy motorways, housing, and high-rise buildings. Auckland is not just a city there is shopping centers, sailing, kayaking, bungy jumping, absailing, and cycling as well as swimming to choose from along with café’s and entertainment, and that’s just in the very City Centre. Imagine sitting at your desk, it’s time for lunch, walk out the door, across the road, take a lift up the Sky Tower, strap on a harness and bungy jump. At the bottom after retrieving your personal belongs, walk down the road for ten minutes and relax in a harbour side restaurant for lunch with wine, before heading back picking up some shopping on the way. For something more sedate, hop a ferry across the harbour collect some world-class succulent homemade chocolates, lunch in a roadside pub and ferry back, taking a rickshaw up to your place of work.
Approaching the Harbour Bridge from the North is one of the best views of the city, as the motorway swerves around the harbour dotted in colourful sails like a curtain raiser giving way to glistening clear waters and bright buildings and the Sky Tower a dominate feature. When driving over the Harbour Bridge one can look out over to the West of suburban living and see a small mountain range which is 5 mins behind my home. To the east is the Harbour entrance and the city waterfront stretching like a snake with sandy bays in between for family swimming. On a small hill in the middle of the city buildings, the Auckland War Museum stands proud. As we drive on down pass the many million dollar sea vessels tied to moorings, we cruse along the waterfront. Up until yesterday was accessible by car. With the Opening Ceremony and huge fireworks for the World Cup these streets were closed to traffic and thousands of people crowded main streets and waterfront for a birds eye view. From mid day the inner city came to a stop.
Over the last week or so many Rugby Teams from around the world arrived up and down the country receiving warm welcomes as only the Kiwis know how.
Some teams received Maori welcomes at the airport, others such as Canada received a royal welcome at Waitangi. New Zealanders have embraced and welcomed this event with a festive spirit, looking to overcome the torment they have endured over the past 6 months with earthquakes and mine disasters causing horrific loss of life.
If you missed the opening ceremony here is a very excellent clip of it along with some beautiful scenery of New Zealand. Enjoy…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrGJVahLtDE&feature=topvideos_sports
I will return with more of my city in future posts stay tuned.