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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Kia Ora…

Day 43/138 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. Aukland Day 3.

Oh what to do on a rainy day in Auckland? That was our dilemma this morning when we finally woke up around 9:20am. I guess I was really tired after a pretty full day yesterday! I don’t normally sleep in that late!

We decided that since it was raining, the HoHo bus at $98 NZD did not make sense. I checked out the route the HoHo bus was scheduled to take, and we had been through many of the neighbourhoods the other day on our included bus tour of Auckland. Now what?

I remembered that the Neptune was docked right next to the Auckland Ferry Terminal, and we had heard that it was a short ferry ride to Devonport on the North Shore, so now we had a plan.

Waiting for the ferry to Devonport this morning. While it was a warm 21C out today, it was raining and Richard had his trusty Vancouver Island (Campbell River) goretex rain hat (thanks Jim from Fernie, B.C.) and his new soft shell Viking World Cruise jacket. Richard had said he did not want me to bring him a goretex or waterproof jacket as he knew we would be getting these World Cruise jackets once we got onboard. So the Viking jacket is his only jacket….save that thought!

While waiting for the ferry to Devonport we accidentally met up with Linda and Lyle (winning Canukus teammates) and who we are also building the ship in the Viking Shipbuilding Contest, who were also planning to go to Devonport for the day. How convenient for us to all be going to Devonport to be able to scope out supplies for our ship! Now I cannot tell you anything that we bought, or where we went shopping either, but we had a great day scoping out stuff for our ship!

Devonport streetscape. A very quaint little village on the Northshore of Auckland. The yellowish building to the left of the photo is called the Heritage Hotel and was built in 1902-1903 and it is the oldest building on the North Shore, and the bar still exists in its original position in the hotel. New Zealand’s history is still very young, because it took so long to discover the Island(s), yet it is still so beautiful to see the contrast of the 120 year old architecture, against the much newer architecture.

One fun fact about Devonport I learned today was the singer ‘Lorde’ who does the hip song I like called “Royals” is from Devonport. She won a Grammy for that song in 2014 which was inspired by Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett signing baseballs. She had seen a photo “of this dude just signing baseballs. He was a baseball player and his shirt said ‘Royals’.“Anyway, if you’ve never heard the song, its kind of trippy, but I like the vibe in the song, and now its cool that I’ve been to the town where Lorde grew up!

Beautiful flowers for sale in Devonport and so nicely presented too!

The rain does not stop us at all when we are travelling. If we dress for it, then we know what to expect when we leave the ship every day it rains! One shop we went into, the older ladies were so nice and they said they really wished we had nicer weather while we were in Auckland for the 3 days we were here, but we said it was ‘liquid sunshine’ and we’re used to rain, having spent 2 winters on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Its OK, its just rain and we won’t melt!!!

Richard thought it was time for a haircut….FINALLY! I think the last time he had a hair cut was in October back in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada where we live! So today was his day to scope out a place to get his hair cut. Luckily we were able to find Maria at Louise Simpson Hair Salon who could take him in an hour from the time we inquired about an appointment. We shared our blog with Maria and told her she would be in our blog tonight, so thanks again for a great hair cut for Richard, and a great recommendation for some product for my hair that does not seem to like de-salinated water to wash it with!

A great Kevin Murphy salon. I always used Kevin Murphy products when I lived in Toronto and had my two fantastic stylists, Stephen and Paul look after my hair at the little salon called ‘Jackrabbit’!

Looking good Ricardo!

What a fabulous cut by Maria and hopefully the ‘Miracle hair’ product Maria sold me, will help with the hair issues I’m having on the ship!

What is the perfect thing to eat on a rainy day? A warm, hot bowl of soup right? And just up from the Louise Simpson Hair Salon was a little Vietnamese restaurant and of course Chicken Pho Ga Soup was on the menu! Perfect! Richard had a little more exotic lunch of Pho Xao which was fried noodles with beef/chicken/prawns with choysum, capsicum, mushrooms, onion and fresh bean sprouts & herbs with homemade sauce. The food and ambience was amazing and we were so happy to be able to sit inside, with the window open to enjoy the breeze, but not get wet!

Looking a bit like a drowned rat in Devonport.

Hung Viet cafe, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand.

Waiting for lunch, enjoying the breeze, but not the rain.

Chicken Pho Soup

And Richard’s much spicier concoction!

Devonport was such a beautiful spot to visit on a rainy day. The village reminded me of a cross between downtown Oakville and the village of Niagara on the Lake, with a west coast, Courtney, British Columbia vibe. Its funny how we always try to relate a new place to something that we are already familiar with. I really loved the park downtown Devonport that had a beautiful wooden library building, which resembled a ship, next to an amazing old tree. I love libraries and I used to take my son Josh to the library every week. It was our ‘thing’ to do and both of us still have a passion for reading!

I didn’t buy this book that I saw in a charity shop today, but it is very appropriate given our journey aboard the Viking Neptune…and of course we are Canadian too!

The Moreton Bay fig tree in Windsor Reserve, is fondly known as ‘Old Albert’ and was planted from a seedling via Albert Park in Auckland City. The tree was planted in 1883 and is also known as an Australian Banyan tree. It was huge and very neat to see it today in the park by the library.

Its hard to see if from this photo, but the front of the Devonport library stuck out like a ship’s bow. The $7.8 million dollar library opened in 2015 to replace an old 1953 building. It looked beautiful from the outside!

The front of the beautiful Devonport library building situation in a park in Devonport.

Waiting for the ferry back to Auckland we ran into another couple on our World Cruise who had gone to the movie theatre in Devonport to see a movie about a whale. What a great way to spend a rainy day in a city that you don’t know! If you get creative you can definitely find things to do, that don’t involve getting wet outdoors, but still get you off the ship in an amazing City.

Looking back across the bay to Auckland CBD (Central Business District) from the Devonport ferry terminal. Notice the Auckland Harbour bridge in the photo too, connecting Auckland CBD to the North Shore. It was so much easier and cheaper to grab the ferry for $8 NZD each today, than to sit on a public bus or grab an Uber to Devonport, on the North Shore.

We arrived back onboard at 3:30pm, just as the Viking crew were collecting up the Viking signage outside Pier 10. The security screeners from Auckland who work at the port were laughing that we didn’t have our golf clubs with us, because they knew that it had rained all day today, and instead we were loaded down with everything we had picked up instead in Devonport.

I worked on my arts & crafts project this afternoon, while Richard took a nap. We shared our ship building treasures with our neighbour Sharon who is also on our team. She was excited by our good fortune in our shopping endeavours!

About 6:05pm tonight we could see one tugboat in place at the bow of the Neptune and the other tugboat named ’Sparky’ heading towards our stern to guide us out of the Auckland harbour safely. As the bow tugboat ‘Waka Kume’ was finished her job, we waved and cheered from our balcony and were rewarded by the female pilot of the tugboat giving us a full 360 ‘donut’ in the water as her way of waving goodbye to us!

Waka Kume tugboat at the bow of the Neptune.

Sparky coming to the aft of the Neptune.

You can tell from the churn of the water that Waka Kume the tugboat has just done a complete 360 to say goodbye to us who were waving at her!

Just as we were leaving the beautiful Auckland harbour on an overcast day (by now the rain had stopped), we saw two very speedy Emirates New Zealand, Omega, Toyota sailboats go zooming by us in the harbour accompanied by two official looking speedboat escorts. What an appropriate farewell to Auckland to see these amazing looking sailboats go sailing past us as we left Auckland. We wished the weather had been a bit better during our stay, but ‘Kia Ora’ or ‘Life, Health and Vitality’! We are alive, healthy and enjoying life to the fullest in beautiful Auckland, New Zealand, so what’s not to love? There is no point complaining with our ‘bellies full’ as Richard likes to say.

What a fantastic sight to see these speedy sailing ships as we were leaving Auckland harbour today!

How appropriate that as we left the ‘City of Sails’ Auckland, New Zealand, a sailboat was following us out of the harbour. What a beautiful city! We enjoyed every minute of our stay!

The pilot boat came along side us as we were nearing the farthest buoy markers exiting Auckland. The waves were quite rocky heading over the bow of the pilot ship, which had to get the pilot off the Neptune. The pilot had to try twice to get its nose into the Neptune, before the pilot could finally jump off and onto the pilot boat. We had to slow down to 7 knots before the transfer actually happened.

Trying to capture the pilot jumping onto the pilot ship. Notice the strap is always around my neck when I’m photographing over the deck railing of the ship!

Tomorrow we are in ROTORUA (Tauranga) nestled on the Bay of Plenty. We have a private excursion booked and our back on board time is 3:30pm, and since our pick up time for our excursion is 10am, we will not have a very long day, which is great. I almost wish we had a sea day to recover from 3 days in Auckland, but that is not in the itinerary and we have a busy few days after ROTURUA too, so I’ve got to stop writing, get the photos into the blog and say goodnight! There will be no 9:20am wake up time tomorrow if we want to make our tour in time!

And one more thing…Richard’s jacket is NOT waterproof so if you are coming on this cruise next year bring a light weight fully waterproof jacket good for when it is warm out. Unfortunately the inside of his jacket was wet, which is never a good thing, when it is the only ‘waterproof’ jacket you have with you!

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Feb 05, 2023

Good Morning, Ruth! I am totally enjoying your blog, comparing many of your observations to my own from last year’s Viking World Cruise. I’m happy for you that you seem past your cold and ear problems. My husband and I both suffered diminIshed hearing issues while on the ship. I’m impressed with your loyalties to the KC Chiefs, and George Brett—we’re from Kansas City! Continued safe journey!


Feb 03, 2023

Hate to correct your wonderful blog Ruth but did Richard not get a haircut in Florida the day before you set sail? 😀😀😀


Feb 03, 2023

What a fantastic blog. from Maria in Devonport x have fun on the rest of your travels

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