January 26, 2002 - A Second Day In Auckland

Took the ferry into Auckland on Saturday Morning. First stop was the yacht basin to look at the Volvo Challenge boats. They started on the next leg on Sunday at noon--around Cape Horn to Rio. From the pier, they look a lot smaller than 60ft. It could be the design which is wide at the stern with relatively no freeboard. They are going a long way, pushing the limit of design.

Finding a cheap NiCad battery charger for the AA cells used in my GPS, radio and headlight proved impossible. The cheapest compact one that I could find was NZ$89, but it came with four 1600mA NiMH AA cells. I put off getting on in the US before I left because the only dual voltage one I could find was $40; I guess that was a mistake.

I trudged over to the train station to find out about trains to the south. There is this big, imposing building, which looks like just what one would expect to be a main train station, but it is no longer. The station has been turned into student housing. The actual ticket offices are way out back where they seem to have enclosed a section of an disused platform and turned into ticket office and waiting room. What a shame.

On top of all that, it was closed. It closes around noon on Saturdays. I ended up calling from a payphone and making reservations for the Wednesday evening train to Wellington and then the ferry to Picton (NZ$121, including bicycle)

After relaxing in a cafe (Columbus Coffee on Lorne Street, quite nice, drinking a latte and doing email, I met Mark & Marine at the ferry dock. We walked to the Domain to attend the Starlight Symphony concert on the cricket ground.

The concert was sort of like a big Pops concert on the Esplanade in Boston, except that is was a huge field in the Domain. There were probably a 100,000 people or so. The orchestra was accompanied by a 2000 person choir and has lots of guest soloists. It was much bigger on opera than would be acceptable in the states, but the selections ran from opera to the Rocky Horror Picture Show and ended, of course, with that staple of outdoor concerts, the 1812 Overture complete with cannon and fireworks.

After a late ferry back to the island, it was time to collapse.

Updated: 16 March 2002