Monday, December 30, 2019

Auckland tour - Part 2

The last two days, we were busy museum hopping.

Friday, December 27

On 27th morning we went to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, situated close to the CBD. Opened in 1929, it's one of the first museums of the nation and entry is free for residents of Auckland. 

The front part of the museum is a war memorial, and a good part of the museum is about how the first world war broke out, how it spread to different parts of the world, how New Zealand got involved in it, and the sacrifices of New Zealand soldiers in the war. 

It's not just about the war. One section is about the Maori and Pacific cultures. We saw a one hour Maori Cultural Performance, a lecture-demonstration showcasing their traditions and lifestyle. After the programme we had a chance to interact with the artists, and take photos with them. 

Another interesting section was on Tupaia, the Tahitian priest, navigator and artist who travelled on the Endeavour to Aotearoa in New Zealand. 

Then there are sections on the plants and animals of the regions, besides arts and culture. It took us almost the entire day. 

Saturday, December 29

In the morning we went to the Kelly Tarlton's Marine Museum. The biggest attraction there were the penguins: birds that can't fly, who walk on their two feet, whose wings are like fins for them to swim and dive under water. 

There is a replica of the Scott's Hut built in the Antarctica in 1911. Capt Robert Scott was one of the first to extensively tour Antarctica.

Other sections include those on sharks, jellyfish, sea horse, and various aquatic plants. 

There is also an area where children can play, and draw and colour pictures of marine animals.

Post lunch we headed to the Museum of Transport and Technology. It's a huge 40 acre facility that has on display the history and evolution of everything that is related to transportation and technology related to our everyday life. 

The facility, which opened in 1964, is spread over two locations, MOTAT 1 at the Great North Road and MOTAT 2 at Meola Road. 

We started with MOTAT 2 which is all about aircraft. The moment I saw the huge metal birds, I was reminded of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Air and Space Museum, in Virginia, which of course is much bigger and exhaustive than this section in MOTAT. 

One of the exhibits is the Sunderland of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. It's one of the most powerful and widely used maritime reconnaissance aircraft used in the World War II. The one on display is one of the only four remaining in the world. 

There is a tram that runs every 15 minutes connecting MOTAT 1 and 2, via the Auckland Zoo. This tram number 906 too has a history. It entered service for the city's tram network in 1945 and was retired in 1997. Then in 2006 it was moved to MOTAT as a shuttle service. 

We took this tram to MOTAT 1 which is far bigger than the other side. It has sections on locomotives, turbines, motors, cars, buses, communication equipment like telegraph, telephone, radio, television, computers etc. The Morse code signal that Titanic's captain sent is also on display. 

An old dial telephone allows visitors to dial a particular number on a phone at one end which rings the phone at the other end, and the two person can talk. 

Another fun exhibit is the Whisper Dish. There are dishes facing each other sepatared by around 25 - 30 meters. When a person whispers into one dish, the sound waves get reflected from dish and refocusses on the other allowing the person at that end to hear what the other person is whispering. 

In the evening, we went to the Hunua waterfalls, at Hunua village, about an hour's drive from the city. The drive around curved roads amongst tall trees is itself a great experience. The water fall from a height of around 50 meters from the Wairoa river is a beautiful sight.

(To be continued) 


  1. Very interesting and informative post. Thanks

  2. It looks so amazing there. I hope you had a good time.

  3. Penguins... Sorry, distracted by the penguins.

    Whisper dishes are fun. Did you try it out?

  4. Hi Pradeep - you have certainly learnt a great deal from the museums and then been able to get out and see a little of the countryside and the waterfall - beautiful ... great to read about - cheers Hilary