One of the holidays we enjoy in this part of North Island is Auckland Anniversay Day. In other parts of the country, they get a day off from work on different days, to celebrate the anniversaries of the old, abolished, provinces. Yesterday, along with Auckland, Northand, Nelson and Buller celebrated their Anniversaires. Wellington Anniversary was a week ago, and Southland’s was two weeks ago. Taranaki and Otago celebrate in March, and others in other months.
The biggest thing in Auckland for Anniversary Day is the Annual Regatta. There are all kinds of activities out on the water, most of which you can watch from one location on land or another. We found a free car park (VERY rare in downtown Auckland) and then walked a few blocks to the waterfront. We finally found Princes Wharf, from which we read we would be able to see most of the activities. The sailboats were marking time for the most part, until the races began, at five minute intervals, at 11:00. Then, a few at a time, all the same kind of boat at the same time, departed the area, heading out of the harbour. The race was on.
After watching them for over half an hour, we wandered around the waterfront. Andrew pointed out the historic Ferry Building, from which the ferries to the other side of the harbour still depart.
Then we walked over to the Cloud, a building that was originally constructed for the Rugby World Cup 2011. This building is nearly 5000 square metres (54,000 square feet) and is made to be moveable, though for the time being, it’ll remain there on the Queen’s Wharf.
From there, we walked a block up Queen Street to find where the Buskers Festival was performing. We were just in time to watch, from beginning to end, one of very fun and funny magician, or rather, illusionist, Nickey Fynn.
He didn’t talk but had a very expressive face. He never pulled a rabbit out of a hat, but he did “magically” teleport a couple of foam balls under one. He brought up two people from the audience to assist in tricks, but they were really just props, people who didn’t need to do much but stand there and hold things for him. I am very pleased that he never made fun of the people, and indeed seemed to respect them, and invited applause for them. I found myself smiling during the entire 35 minute show.
We then walked back up past Princes Wharf to where the Dragon Boats were racing, and watched a couple of those races before walking up the road to the Viaduct Harbour Entrace to watch another of the Buskers perform.
These two are called the Blingling Brothers, and they are average jugglers but with a comedic twist. They tossed balls, the devil stick, more balls, and even some flaming torches.
We left without seeing their spinning plates, because a bagpipe band started up nearby, which we went to watch. I do like the sound of bagpipes.
Andrew had never seen the new park on the other side of the Viaduct Harbour, so we crossed the Wynward Crossing pedestrian draw bridge, which was up when we got there and which we got to watch lower. We wandered around there, and then realized that we needed to get to our Grab One restaurant before the kitchen closed at 3 pm. So we hurried back to our car and headed to the Kings Garden Cafe.
The Kings Garden Cafe is located inside a garden shop and nursery. You actually have to walk through the shop, through the nursery, and then into the cafe. The prices are high for what you get, and the food is not overly great. We had an acceptable deal, because we got more than 50% off what we ate, but we decided that we probably wouldn’t return here. My BLAT (Bacon Lettuce Avocado Tomato) sandwich had too much pepper, and Andrew’s Chicken Salad was a bit bland and could have benefitted from the addition of a white sauce and some almonds.
After picking up some replacement secateurs (gardening shears) for the pair that Andrew’s sister Miriam had given me for Christmas and which I broke, as I do with most secateurs, we headed home. It was a long day, and a very enjoyable one.