October 30, 2006

The gorgeous but unpredictable Auckland weather

Some people might describe some women or cars as "gorgeous but unpredictable", but today, I'm talking about Auckland weather.

I walk to work everyday, and I enjoy it. But the weather isn't always so nice for walking. When you wake up in the morning, you look outside, and it looks like a potentially nice day. Sunshine. Twenty minutes later, when you walk out of the apartment, it's raining. Most likely, it's windy too. I carry an umbrella with me all the time, and I'm glad I do. It's not unusual for both sunshine and rain to occur at the same time.

It is just that unpredictable. Sometimes, you get drenched because it is hard slanted rain with your hair blowing crazily under your umbrella. Sometimes, you can't decide if you'll just bear the light drizzle or open that umbrella. The light mists we get here makes me feel like a vegetable in the produce section of Whole Foods being kept moist by the misters. It's a little irritating.

Of course, no regular-Joe takes pictures of nasty weather, but I do take pictures on gorgeous days. The beautiful days, however, make up for the unbearably horrid weather. One of my friends here did point out that because it rains so much here, you get to see a lot of rainbows too!

Posted by oneray at 8:11 PM

October 7, 2006

Waiheke Island - Spectacular Food and Spectacular Views.

Not Waikiki... but Waiheke, pronounced just about the same ... "wai hee kee". Ryan, Hadley (our coworker from Austin), and I hopped on a 30-minute ferry ride to Waiheke Island. It's beautiful. Everyone here will tell you that, and they are not lying.

The ticket for the ferry costs $30 NZD round trip. The first ferry out is around 7 AM and the last ferry back to Auckland is at 12:30 AM. So, you can make a full day out of it. The ferry drops you off at the far West side of the island. Most people recommend renting scooters to get around the island in, but since there was 3 of us, we rented a car, which costs $50 plus $0.60 per kilometer.

Our Kiwi coworkers recommended a couple of vineyards to visit... all with spectacular views and fine dining experience. Not wanting to be disappointed, I booked us a table at the Mudbrick Vineyard Cafe for lunch and the Te Whau (pronounced "te fa-ou") for dinner. In between our meals, we visited one of the many beaches on the island and Stony Batter Historic Reserve, which is on the far East side of the island.

Our food was incredible. We ate like kings. When I said fine dining, I meant it... fresh oysters, fish, the guys had lamb, goat, and steak. Mudbrick, due to its 'romatic' feel, is typically booked out for weddings and receptions. The Te Whau Restaurant has won awards and rated one of the top vineyard restaurants in the world. The wine from Mudbrick I prefer to Te Whau's, which is a dryer and more peppery taste. Both had wonderful views of the water and Auckland city at a distance.

It was a beautiful day, full of spectacular food and spectacular views. Here are the pictures: http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=95reg1b.bdzsy3aj&x=0&y=-d0ayn7

Posted by oneray at 11:58 PM

October 3, 2006

Muriwai Beach

Out of my boredom of the inner city life, we rented a car and drove westward, out to Muriwai Beach. It was a glorious, sunny, Saturday... perfect for the beach. Except for a cafe and a surf shop nearby, the beach was untainted by commercialism.

Muriwai is known for its black sand beach, fishing, good waves for surfing, and bird watching. Here are 40+ beautiful pictures of the Muriwai Beach area. You'll see a few pictures with tons of white birds with tan heads. These are called "Gannets", which I believe are native to New Zealand. http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=95reg1b.7nyw5lmj&x=0&y=hhwxa6


Posted by oneray at 5:07 PM