Subject: Yet more harbour cities
Hello Fellow Ziners,

It's Jerry writing from Victoria, B.C. Nancy and I travel infrequently and so we don't often have occasion to post, but we very much look forward to the daily Zine Digest. And, when we semi-retire in a few years, all bets are off for finding us home :-)

Regarding harbours, although we live minutes from Victoria harbour (which we plan to explore by sea kayak tomorrow) and see Vancouver harbour several times a year, I have to put in a good word for Auckland harbour for its scenic and 'pedestrian friendly' qualities.

A couple of years ago we toured the North Island of New Zealand by car spending the first week (of four) in a small self-catering apartment in Devonport, a charming neighbourhood on the north shore of Auckland harbour. Devonport's development was, I think, coincidental with the arrival of the British Royal Engineers and growth of a Royal Navy base in the mid to late 19th century and has a legacy of nicely maintained Victorian cottages (locally referred to as villas) with extensive verandahs and gingerbread detailing. Devonport offers beautiful views...

http://www.auckland-bestviews.co.nz/panorama_MV.html

...looking across the harbour toward the bridge and central business district, has several self-guided walking tours up an extinct volcano or along the tree-lined shores (named Queen's Parade and King Edward Parade, has a terrific bakery with multiple styles of sourdoughs, eateries of all sorts, new and collectibles book shops, a convenient library with an internet terminal, and important for us, provided relatively quiet streets where we could practice driving on the left side (well, most of the time) of the street.

But the great feature of Auckland harbour is the pedestrian ferry service, both mono hull and fast catamaran boats. There's a variety of routes and destinations, but from Devonport in 10 minutes we were in the heart of downtown Auckland (more great views from the Sky Tower) and down to earth, the city's food courts sported several varieties of wonderful (and inexpensive) Asian curries. For seafood lovers a block away from Quay Street is a large fish market with adjoining formal and informal restaurants.

And, getting back to the harbour again, the America's Cup yachting quarter with wharfs housing each of the national entrants and neighbouring Maritime Museum is worth an hour or two stroll. My biggest thrill (Nancy wouldn't go) was a couple of hours on one of the America's Cup training boats, on a breezy afternoon, sailing under Auckland Bridge at 14 knots (and everyone who volunteers gets a turn at the tiller!).

Well, I go on too long.

By the way, we found our first weeks accommodation by searching the internet and also used the online classified section of the New Zealand Herald at...

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/

...for locating weekly vacation apartments in Paihia (Bay of Islands), Lake Taupo (central North Island) and Wellington (south North Island).

Regards from Victoria,

Jerry