Our first day in Auckland dawned bright and sunny and we decided a ticket for the Hop On Hop Off bus was the best way to see the sights. Departing from Sky Tower, just down the road from our apartment, we were surprised by the amount of traffic and roadworks in Auckland. A huge extension to the waterfront precinct began last December, we weren’t enticed by the crowded construction site and remained on the bus as it travelled along Tamaki Drive on the way to Bastion Point. The views across Waitematā Harbour from the upper deck were breathtaking,
the city clearly visible, looking back across the water.
The volcanic cone of Maungauika forms the headland that is North Head Reserve, adjacent to the harbourside suburb of Devonport. There are underground tunnels and old gun emplacements to explore at the former military defence installation.
The symmetrical cone of Rangitoto Island is the youngest and largest volcano in the Auckland field, emerging a mere 600 years ago.
We alighted at Bastion Point to wander around the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park. Set on 49 hectares, the landscaped gardens, sunken pool and obelisk are a memorial to New Zealand’s first Labour Prime Minister.
In office from 1935 until his death in 1940, Michael Savage is recognised as the founder of the Welfare State as well as creating a political alliance with the Māori Rātana movement.
The gardens are immaculate, designed by two Auckland architects who won a national competition to design the memorial in 1941.
This site of a former gun emplacement affords a spectacular view of Auckland Harbour Bridge.
We walked the steep path and steps from Bastion Point to Mission Bay, a popular beach with calm waters and plenty of cafes and bars.
We had a different perspective of Devonport and North Head from the beach.
At the bottom of the steps, there are a series of beautiful pebble mosaics but no explanatory signage. I have since discovered the origin of this art, you can read about it here.