Thursday, 30 September 2010

Day 2 - Auckland Field Trip

Continuing from yesterday's instalment...

We now find ourselves at:-

It's been years since I went to Kelly Tarlton's, but it was great to go back. It's definitely bigger since I last went, but gosh, I wish it could be even bigger. You no sooner get started when, hello, you're suddenly at the end. It's an exciting environment and as much as you try to make the most of it, you feel like you're at the souvenir store before you know it.

Kelly Tarlton's is a very, VERY popular tourist attraction. It's ALWAYS crowded, so it pays to buy your ticket online. Well, that's what you'd think. If I was to gripe, then I'd have at least one gripe and that's with the "supposed" express lane for those of us who paid online ( oh, by the way, you save 10% by booking online! ) Two lines of customers make their way down to the ticket box:- those who paid online and off-the-street patrons. Being in the express lane you're nudging elbows with the other queue of people and as much as you excuse yourself to get down the line without annoying anyone, you finally get towards the bottom when you have to "merge like a zip" and take turns at the ticket box anyway!!! So much for an express lane. You'd be lucky if you bypassed anyone. They need to come up with a better plan. I don't know if they have a suggestion box, but if they do, I hope people have asked for a better entrance. It's an absolute bottle neck. For the amount you pay, you want to feel important from the moment you park your car and enter the building. First impressions and all that eh!!! I mean, you have two queues, so why not two ticket boxes? one on the left and one on the right? Many people were grumbling in the queues and as much as I could have been one of them, my job was to keep everybody upbeat and excited to be venturing into another world. Like I say, it's a great place and I'm glad I booked in advance to save a few pingas. ( Interestingly enough, you get a discounted price if you're a Community Services Card holder. Wicked, I enjoyed making another saving. )

Anyway, that's enough about the entrance area !!! I don't like complaining, I'm merely highlighting a very obvious flaw.

Let's get on with the tour ...

Definitely new since I last visited are the penguins:-

My photos aren't very good because you're not allowed to use a flash and this is the best I could do. [ Either that, or I'm a shocking photographer, lol ] It was a really busy day and everybody wanted to look at the penguins of course.
They have a screen with a live webcast inside so the audience can see what's going on and at one stage a staff member came out and gave a running commentary of which kind of penguins ( King and Gentoo ) we were looking at with other information about them. We tried to stick around long enough to take the train through the penguin area, but we had to make the decision in the end to push on because it was just soooooo busy and the kids were keen to see everything, so we took a pass on waiting in another queue.

[ Not to worry, there'll always be another chance in the future eh! ]

We timed it just right to look in the following pool ....
Somebody was having a birthday and we were all standing at the right spot (well, for the kids at least), because a staff member came around with a bucket of feed for the giant stingrays and other fish. Right in front of us the man fed a giant stingray and he gave the stingray a rub on it's belly - right there in front of us. It was REALLY exciting!!!!
About as close as I'd like to come to a shark with it's jaws open thank you very much!
On the following screen the kids had to match the sound to the correct animal. Not as easy as you'd think!! Quite the challenge, indeed.
Next photo: this is the view while sitting at the café. Yep, that's the Auckland harbour looking towards Okahu Bay and the city with Devonport out to the right. I chose to take it from further back to try and emphasise the water level).

It's pretty freaky to look out and realise you're about to drop below the level you see here. If whaiāipo hadn't pointed out this fact to the kids they'd have been none the wiser, because they were more interested in looking at the giant stingray at Stingray Bay(see next photo)...As we dropped down under the water level, and just before entering the Underwater World on the moving walkway, Craig quickly ushered the kids off the turtle to see the giant stingray:-
Isn't just unbelievable? I had no idea they were so large.
"Hey everybody keep an eye out for turtles, giant rays and other incredible deep sea creatures, okay?!"Don't put your hand in there tama 2!!! Piranha!!! Aaarrgghh!!!
The colours are just beautiful:-
"Hey, look! It's Marlin!"
"And look, over here - it's Dory!"
Tama 2 was amused by the octopus...
Everybody loved the experience of getting right up close and personal...
By the time we left it was after 3 and unfortunately the weather wasn't convenient for anything outdoorsy, so we went on a tiki tour over the Harbour Bridge, and headed to Devonport - ending up at Mt Victoria. It was a truly blustery afternoon but the view was great. We pointed out to the kids where we'd just come from (ie Kelly Tarlton's).

Auckland's a monster city for sure, but it's beautiful to look at from mountain tops like Mt Victoria.

To finish off our fishy day we decided to buy fish and chips and sit back at Aunty Adelaide's to enjoy a well-deserved feast.

The next part of our field trip I think I'll leave for another post .... so be sure to tune back soon ...

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

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