Auckland Domain / Wintergarden

On our first morning in Auckland, in a delightful little cafe on a narrow street called Vulcan Alley, Walt tried to order a regular cup of coffee with cream. The waitress was clearly baffled. "Milk?" I suggested, but the confused expression on her face remained.

She patiently explained that the options were flat white, latte, cappuccino, and espresso. If the milk was frothed a little, the beverage was called a flat white. More frothing resulted in a latte, and even more yielded a cappuccino. No frothing didn't seem to be an option, so Walt settled on a flat white followed by a long espresso which was served with water on the side.

We soon discovered that, similar to Belgium where a cup of coffee is usually accompanied by a cookie, a cup of coffee in New Zealand is often accompanied by a small piece of candy.

After breakfast and a bit of shopping, we decided to take a walk across town to a large park called Auckland Domain. Auckland, however, is a city that is built on a volcanic field so getting around on foot can be a bit of a challenge.

Our route took us up a steep hill through Auckland University. We huffed and puffed our way to the top only to find that there was an expressway between us and the large green area in the distance that was our goal.

Fortunately, a friendly woman came to our rescue and pointed us in the direction of a bridge that would get us across the expressway.

This picture is taken from the bridge.

We walked on through a neighborhood packed with tiny ethnically diverse restaurants past Auckland City Hospital and finally arrived at the park.

The park, which covers almost 200 acres, sits on the remains of Pukekawa volcano. It contains several sports fields, gardens, walking paths, and the Auckland Museum. We headed first to the duck pond, which is fed by an underground spring. The sleeping ducks were unfazed when I walked right up to them.

Upslope from the duck pond sits the Wintergarden - two large glasshouses separated by a statue-filled courtyard with a sunken pool.

One building houses plants which live in temperate climates, and the other contains plants from the tropics. We particularly enjoyed the plants in the temperate building.

Another attraction in the Wintergarden is the fernery which is situated in what was once a quarry.

We finished off our visit to Auckland Domain with some picture taking on a tree near the duck pond. The tree still seemed to be trying to survive in spite of its battered condition.

We took a slightly different route back to our hotel. The walk down Queen Street turned out to be even steeper than the the walk up through Auckland University campus so I was very happy we were going down instead of up.