We left Rotorua on Saturday morning to go back to Auckland and our favourite hotel, MSocial where we got upgraded to the top (12th) floor and also got a drinks voucher. All the rooms face the harbour and the large windows provide a great panorama. There was a cruise ship in the harbour when we arrived and its departure that evening provided some entertainment as it slowly backed out. Looking out our window on Sunday morning a bit before 8am, another cruise ship was pulling in, again providing some entertainment watching it and the tugs maneuvering to the dock. On our QM2 voyage it would have been great if all our ports of call had been right downtown.
We explored more of the harbour area where there are a lot of very expensive boats, a few large sailboats but mostly motor yachts, many appear to be available for charter. We also saw the New Zealand Americas Cup building/HQ. New Zealand are the current Cup holders.
We stopped for a drink and snack in the harbour and were very surprised to see a number of places with signs beside their menus saying 15% holiday surcharge! One place had a sign that said ‘we do not have a surcharge’. Many shops & restaurants always add a % surcharge if you use a credit card, it’s very irritating but unless you carry a wad of cash, unavoidable. Not exactly a tourist friendly practice.
It was partly overcast when we left for the 8 minute ferry ride across the harbour to Devonport, a suburb of Auckland. Driving there takes 25 minutes. We walked to the summit of North Head on Torpedo Bay. It contains old fortifications from the 1800s that had been updated for use in WW I and II. We enjoyed the fabulous views as the promised rain clouds came rolling in. Luckily the rain held off until we got off the hill and even more luckily, we had packed our raincoats – they came in very handy. Once the rain arrived, it was not a short little shower.