Mo & Terry Smedley


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Saturday (the 21st) is my last day in New Zealand.  I have a few hours this morning before I need to head to the airport, so I am heading out to explore the area below my hotel and away from town.  I'd like to find those train tracks I saw from the Sky Tower.

I will take the AirBus from downtown to the airport.  My flight leaves Auckland at 7PM tonight, and arrives in Los Angeles at about 11AM....TODAY!  Because I'll be heading East across the International Date Line, I'll lose a day and arrive in Los Angeles before I leave Auckland.

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I awoke this morning to Seattle-like skies.  You can see we had rain overnight - look at the wet city streets. You can barely make out the Auckland waterfront today. After a little walking, I found the RAILWAY STATION.  A magnificent brick structure that appears to be a hotel today. The station interior is like so many US railroad stations we've seen - grand, spacious, tall ceilings with intricate structural details.
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The ticketing area has become the hotel lobby. Inlaid floor designs are wonderfully ornate. Just in case you were confused - this sign makes it clear - this is NOT the railway station (never mind what it says in the stonework outside the building). Commuter trains do pass right by here quite frequently.
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This explains a mystery I observed  from the Sky Tower - as I watched trains approach the city, I would lose track of them. They head underground near the center of town. No matter where you are, the Sky Tower will lead you home.  I didn't bother to look at a map before I left - I figured if I returned in the general direction of the Sky Tower, that would have to get me back to town. I did go to Hell while I was here.  It's a very nice pizza joint, with very spicy pizza. I had heard that  virtually all freight traffic in NZ is now carried over the road by truck.  I was treated with a movement of this short (~25 car) container train near the port.  The power appeared to be a General Electric "U" series four-axle locomotive.
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You may  remember the elegant Ferry Terminal that I saw on one of my previous adventures.  Here's a long lens shot back along the Quay,  and you can make out the distinctive shape of the Ferry Terminal at the right. Auckland City from a park (preserve) a couple of miles from the hotel. This is for Betsy. This is one of the trendier shopping areas  in downtown Auckland.  The narrow, brick street (with only pedestrian traffic) feels "European" (bear in mind I've never been to Europe).
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Along Queen Street in town, there's a mega cinema complex.  It has at least a dozen screens.  Here's all the "now playing" boards just outside the enormous ticketing plaza.