Even though it’s started to rain outside, it is stickily humid here in the glasshouses of the Wintergarden in Auckland Domain. It’s a riot of native ferns, bright bold orchids and fuschia’s, ponds full of flowering lilies, and even vegetables – not sure what the aubergines are there for but even they look like art as they glow in this humidity. The kids (borrowed – not mine) really like the flowers that close up if you brush against them, and since they are not going to stick to the official pathways anyway, it isn’t hard to persuade them to clamber among the ferns and emerge blooming from the fronds.
We started at the Auckland museum, high on the hill in the Domain, views out across Auckland city and harbour. A great place to reconnect with my kiwiness, as it is has brilliant exhibits of Maori and Polynesian history, art , carving and culture. I like that there is plenty of ability to get in amongst it and interact, not just look through the glass – museums were nowhere near this interesting when I was a kid. There’s also a nice section of nostalgia – the lolly wall of the old classic sweets, the mid 20th century Crown Lynn pottery – I bet there’s many a family regretting throwing out the old dinner set a few decades ago – naff then, valuable now. And when done with the museum, the Domain grounds are a great spot for a picnic, with amazing old trees with a huge spread of branches that has every child in the vicinity climbing happily for hours – and provides a good umbrella when the rains starts lightly. As it gets heavier, we dash for the glasshouses to sit it out.