Sailing on an America's Cup Yacht - NZL 40
PHOTO: BEV AT THE HELM OF NZL 40, AN AMERICA'S CUP YACHT BUILT FOR THE 1995 AMERICA'S CUP AND BOUGHT BY A GROUP IN AUCKLAND. THEY HAVE TWO BOATS NZL 40 & NZL 41, WHICH THEY RACE AND TAKE PEOPLE OUT WHO WOULD LIKE TO CREW AND GET THE FEEL OF AN ACTUAL AMERICA'S CUP YACHT IN ACTION.
NZL 40 was on the port tack heading for the lighthouse at the entrance to the Hauraki Gulf and the starboard rail was buried with water coming in over the side and flowing out the stern. Everyone on board was having a wonderful time and was urging the captain (Pictured at left in red) to go off the wind more and add more speed which would have brought more water on board. I signed up to sail on NZL 40 in the afternoon and we almost didn't go because of strong winds. There is a paid crew of 5 and this day fourteen of us who signed for a sail into Auckland Harbor and the Hauarki Gulf. Most were from New Zealand but a few like myself from other countries. The wind continued to blow at about 25 to 30 knots and we had a marvelous sail.
I had an opportunity to take the helm and this 70 foot sloop is unbelievably steady in spite of a 4-6 foot sea running. Into the wind NZL 40 wants to come up into the wind if you give it a chance, so you have to work to keep it off the wind, a wonderful characteristic in 30 knots of wind. These yachts are so impressive that other boats in the area are constantly waving and taking pictures as we fly by.
Bird Watching in the Firth of Thames
If you are into Bird Watching I would suggest that you travel along the Firth of Thames - there is a road that runs from Clevedon down through Kaiaua with options to head off East to Thames or back onto the Main State Highway 2. There is a Bird Watching Centre based in Miranda and if you need a place to stay you should visit Miranda Holiday Park.
They can be found about an hours drive south east of Auckland via State Highway 1. 2 and 25 or via the Pacific Coast Highway and Seabird Coast to the Coromandel Peninsula.
There are powered tent sites, chalets, a family unit as well as a bunk house and tent sites. All this is contained within lovely landscaped grounds.
The birdlife below were actually living in the Holiday park, but the "real" birdlife is out on the beaches and swamp.
One thing I enjoyed about Auckland, was getting out of the centre of the city a bit (where all the shops seemed pretty standard, for any city) and finding a few more unusual shops - like one selling Penny Farthing cycles, for one thing!
I also liked the NZ architecture on many of their corner buildings, including this one.
Ace Rental Cars
ACE Rental Cars
39-43 The Strand, Parnell, Auckland
Office Hours - 8am to 5 pm. 7 Days
Free (NZ) 0800 50 22 77
Manu Tapu Drive, Auckland Airport
Free (NZ) 0800 00 43 00
Office Hours - 7 am to 5 pm. 7 Days
I have had friends use this company and were happy. Cars were not high grade, but the price was very good, and the cars were adequate.
Dine on the deck and watch the waves...
The Long Bay Restaurant is in Long Bay on Auckland's North Shore. It is actually in the Long Bay Regional Park and is right on the beach. There is a wonderful deck on which you can have a table and dine with the a Pacific panorama in front of you. I dined there on a balmy early autumn night in March 2004. The food is delicious. I had the fish dish of the day - Hapuka Steak... melt in your mouth delicacy! For desert I had a huge piece of apple cake with cream cheese filling.... yum!