Tāmaki of a hundred lovers.

For a small country, it's a big city. 
There are just over 4 million people living in New Zealand and about 1.5 million of those people live in Auckland.  Not even two harbors can stop the sprawl. From Princes Wharf you can see traffic on the Harbour Bridge and the busy fleet of ferries shuttling thousands of people to the picturesque North Shore or any one of the "Book now! Must see!" fifty or so islands off the coast.  Then there are two mountain ranges, forty-eight volcanic cones, and more yachts per capita than any other place in the world.  There is a flurry of movement across the Auckland isthmus that extends the land into the water and stretches the city between two lands.

South of our building is the Westin; North of our building is the Fish Market.  And north of the Fish Market is the almost completed $32 million Viaduct Events Centre.  It would appear that many hardworking laborers are receiving quite a substantial amount of overtime pay to quickly bolt some things together before the Rugby World Cup.  I would do it too, if they would let me.

Finding a job is going slowly.  You know things are gloomy when five temp agencies have no work for someone with a graduate level degree, computer skills above average, and the ability to make coherent statements in both written and spoken English.  There is plenty to do in Auckland that doesn't involve spending huge amounts of money. I'm sure of it. Or, at least I've been told. 

A few days ago we set out to walk across the country -- a barely researched brilliant idea to see Auckland for less than ten dollars.  Unaware this was going to be our afternoon activity, I woke up and ran about 3.5 miles.  I mention this in order to fully explain my reasons for all of the quiet growls and short breaks -- it is sufficient to say there were a few more than a few.  Off we went, posing as intrepid explorers, carrying a camera, two carrots, an apple, wallets, phones, and a city map with lots of colorful lines on it. 

The Coast to Coast Walkway runs through Auckland, connecting the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea.  After putting my hand in the murky Pacific Ocean down by the Wharf, we officially started our hike. Even with the hills, summit loops, volcanic cones, inclines, mountains, hills, hills, non-existant trail markers, construction detours, and zip-lines [yes, there really was a zip-line ... it was in a playground ... for kids ... but ... still ...] we found our way to the Tasman Sea before dark.  In a startling asymmetrical act, I did not touch the Tasman Sea. It makes me feel like I broke the rules of the ancient pioneers,  but believe me you wouldn't have done it either.  The trail terminates at a bay in Onehunga that smelled like a cross between wet dog and raw sewage.  We stood for a minute, acknowledged our great feat and walked to the train station. The Walkway is listed as 16 km but my tired legs found that difficult to believe.

Start: The Coast to Coast Walkway at Princes Wharf. Auckland.

Short cut through the Engineering Building at AUT.

Where are the trail markers? I don't know ... Auckland Domain.

 Mt Eden city skyline. Auckland. 

 Mt Eden volcanic crater.

  Mt Eden baby volcanic craters. 

Entrance to Cornwall Park. Auckland

There was a double rainbow in the fountain.

 We have buffalo in Golden Gate Park, they have cows in Cornwall Park.


The climb to One Tree Hill. Sheep on the left.

Moon rise and One Tree Hill
 One Tree Hill. No tree though, just an obelisk.

Blue fountain in Onehunga. We are almost there.

 Made it. West Coast. Bay. Tasman Sea. Auckland.