Thursday, December 03, 2009

Spitfires and Auckland

Listening to: The new Dave Dobbyn compilation, and the new Shapeshifter album

A post in two parts

Part 1: Spitfire
Some of you may recall back in January I posted about a newly restored Second World War Spitfire that had suffered a landing accident (link here, below my account of overdosing on cold medication). Well they picked it up, sent it up to specialists in Auckland to be repaired, and it started flying again about ten days ago. So you can imagine how disappointing it must be for anyone interested or involved to see it looking like this today:

Picture copyright

Another landing accident, and back to the workshop. I'm not even going to begin to speculate as to why, but this is just unfortunate whichever way you look at it. Buggar.

Part two: Non Pearl Jam related bits of Auckland
Or alternatively, 'How many pics can I put in a single post before blogspot tells me 'No!'". I've linked the relevant landmarks if you want more info

Around the concert we did some tiki-touring around Auckland on Friday and Saturday.

Auckland central city from One Tree Hill (yes U2 fans, that One Tree Hill). I think this is the only time I can recall that I have been on One Tree Hill on a completely clear day after numerous visits. Its an informal tradition for me that whenever I go to Auckland I got there:

One Tree Hill lies under one of the approach paths for Auckland International Airport, and while there I got my first real life glimpse of a 'Largest Airliner in the World tm' A380. Big beastie to be sure...
The summit of One Tree Hill was at least as windy as Wellington, as attested by travelling crew Kate, Iona, Reidun and Carly in this shot. Feel free to ask for a hi res version from me if you want to use this for Facebook profiles guys :)
A One Tree Hill tradition apparently is to spell out messages in the volcanic rocks lying around. Reidun aptly termed it 'Organic Grafitti':
Obelisk dedicated to the Maori People atop One Tree Hill. Which used to have one tree, until it was attacked by a Maori rights activist with a chainsaw a wee while ago:
The new-to-me atrium development at the Auckland Museum. I liked the juxtaposition of curves and straight and old and new:
The kids section of the museum had live versions of Nemo and Dory (shown about life size). We spent more time in this section than unaccompanied by children adults really should, but it was pretty cool.
They had geckos to. We waited ages for this one to nail the fly on it's head, but it was too patient for us. Our bloodlust was satisfied by another gecko/fly stalk and spring kill anyway, so we moved on.
They had inscrutable frogs too:
More interesting than the frogs though (and a lot bigger) were the dinosaurs, which will never be uncool:
The Museum also has a Spitfire, which even though it's a late war Merlin engined low-back Mark XVIe (one of my least favourite looking Spitfire marks), is still a Spitfire, and thus will never be without aura.
In addition to the Spitfire, the museum also possesses the ultimate Mitsubishi boy-racer vehicle, an A6M3 Zero, recovered by NZ forces in the Pacific near the end of the Second World War.
When in Auckland, there is a certain tendency to photograph the icons, like the Sky Tower (from the Domain in front of the museum):
The Bean Rock lighthouse. I always thought this would be an awesome place to live as a child:
The fountain in Mission Bay. Also somewhere I try and get to every time I am up there. Its a nice locale. Chasing up a pretty reliable sighting of Eddie Vedder and Ben Harper took us out there on a whim, as did our desire/need for good coffee. We aren't stalkers really, but we needed something to do after lunch:
After missing Eddie and Ben (although the member of our party who saw them got very close indeed, they almost ran over her kayak in their outrigger canoe. Unfortunately the rest of us weren't in on the Kayaking option) we headed to the Michael Savage Memorial at Bastion Point as the weather began to close in. Made for some moody shots.
A moody and broody Rangitoto from Bastion Point, with Bean Rock in the foreground. I like Rangitoto, to me it is more of an Auckland icon than the Skytower. I don't feel like I've been to Auckland until I have seen Rangitoto. I like its symetrical cones, and how new it looks (which geologically it is. It was formed less than 1000 years ago, and its last eruptions 600 odd years ago feature in local iwi memory). I also like that the island is a plain reminder of the fact that Auckland is built on a dormant volcanic field, meaning that the potential exists for the city to simply blow up one day:
The memorial is a popular wedding photo spot. Three parties turned up while we were there. Hopes of a wedding rumble were unfortunately not met.
One Tree Hill in a spot of sunshine photographed from Mount Eden. Like almost all the peaks in the Auckland urban area, both are extinct volcanic cones, part of the already mentioned Auckland Volcanic Field.
Looking across the Mount Eden crater toward the city. Navigating from Bastion Point to Mount Eden with Kate ('these roads don't have names on the map so I am ignoring them') navigating, me ('is Mount Eden actually in the suburb of Mount Eden?') driving, and Reidun succinctly interjecting from the back seat ('you know the big blue signs saying 'Mount Eden' might be worth following') was one of the comic highlights of the trip. I wanted to climb down to the bottom of the crater, but there was a sign saying it was tapu, so I didn't.
View of not quite native bush from Iona's verandah. Kate's friend Iona was the hostess with the mostest. She gave us a comfortable place to stay, cooked us dinner one night, took us to and from the concert, and even lent us her car while she was at work on Saturday. Plus she was fun to hang out with, and her and her brother's movie collection is paralyzing to behold. Legend.
Flying home on Sunday, Mount Ruapehu from 31,000 feet. I framed the winglet because I thought it made a nice composition. Kate and I agreed at lengt about the essential wrongness and absurdity and miraculous nature of strapping yourself into an aluminium, steel and fibreglass tube, to travel at over 800 kilometres per hour over 10 kilometres above the ground, and how it has become so normal as to be taken for granted.
Mounts Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe with their summer coats on (as opposed to their winter ones here).
Kate had the window seat and my camera and took an average of a photo per minute on our way south. She got some cool shots. This is one of the Makara wind turbines through a gap in the clouds.
Intrepidly, Kate kept shooting right up until touchdown at Wellington. I like this shot of the surfers at Lyall Bay.

1 comment:

stretch said...

I love the photo of the gecko! Which shouldn't be surprising :)