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CNN GO Discovers Auckland's Urban Volcanoes, A Mysterious Underground Fortress, Multi-Cultural Communities, Spectacular, Unique Beaches

Aired October 12, 2011 - 03:30:00   ET




RUSSELL BROWN, RADIO HOST/BLOGGER: We're going up to the top of Mount Eden. It is one of the 50 cones in the Auckland volcanic field. I think it's a great thing for cyclists, actually. Kind of like hipster boutique mountains.

I don't think there is any other city in the world that has got them. These kinds of little volcanoes just dotted through the suburbs. The one we are heading out, now, Mount Eden, is actually the highest national point in Greater Auckland, 196 meters. So, it's not particularly big. It is kind of the ideal mountain to ride up, Mount Eden. Not too easy, not too hard. Like many of these kinds, this one was occupied in pre-European times, up until about the year 1700 in this case, as a fortified tower. And you can still see a lot of the earthworks.

Ha! Well, that wasn't too bad. This, quite clearly, is Mount Eden's crater, which is magnificent, but unfortunately very delicate and even though people are banned from going down there now, people do. And it is unfortunate because it is being eroded by the foot traffic.

It is one of the realities of life in Auckland, is that your suburb (ph) could grow a volcano. Because none of the existing cones will erupt again, basically. There will be an eruption at some point and it will be in a new location. And exactly where that is, we don't know.

What we are looking at here is the Waitemata Harbor, going out to the Hauraki Gulf. You can see around Rangitoto Island, which is a volcanic island, that erupted within human memory. The harbor and the gulf themselves are just beautiful stretches of water.

What you can see here is the central business district. This is a kumara pit, where kumara, which are a form of sweet potato, brought to the country by the original Maori migrants. A very important staple food and they were stored and covered in pits.

The delightful thing about being up here is the 360 degree view of the Auckland Isthmus. There are, you know, there are many vantage points in Auckland, but I think this really is the one.


ZOWIE, SINGER/MUSICIAN: The government sort of started to work out they should build something like this in the 1870s. Because of the rumors of the Russian fleet coming in here, who actually never came. And in the 1880s was when it actually was built. So it was all built by hand, and picks, and little shovels, and things, all the tunnels were. I think this is the entrance to a tunnel.

I'm not sure where this leads. I'm going to have a look. You can come in here on your own free will and not have a tour guide with you, or you know, have someone watching over your shoulder not to scribble on things or do something to it. It is just open so you can have a look. It's so amazing.

It kind of feels like a movie set. A crazy kind of, I don't know, something from like "Saving Private Ryan" or something unreal. It feels quite surreal being in here, which is really cool. That I shouldn't be here, but I'm allowed to be here.


It is so narrow the camera man is having to back out of here. Sorry about that.

This is incredible. It's a perfect angle to keep a watch for anyone trying to invade, as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see any Russians today?


ZOWIE: Some just went past on some water skis.


I haven't seen anything like this before. This is incredible.


ZOWIE: I believe this gun was fired once or twice, at the most, and that was just when the queen arrived. I was really lucky because I was brought up around music.

ZOWIE (SINGING): I want to whip it!

ZOWIE: My dad is a crazy musician who has always been original with everything. People have always got him to come in on these session if they can't think of anything original, he'll (UNINTELLIGIBLE) something. So, I was always in the studio, you know. And my nephews on the mixing disc.


They always let me control the mixing disc. It is something that has been in the water lately. I think the music scene has really sort of taken off, especially in the last kind of couple of years. I mean it has always been a really solid music scene. But I think this day and age it is about having the Internet, Facebook, and Twitter and everything, it helps to get that extra push for a lot of bands. That maybe wouldn't have had it beforehand. It sort of, kind getting their claws in to everything, which is really cool, and getting recognized everywhere, which is amazing.

(SINGING): I want to whip it.


ED KNOWLES, THE CHECKS: We really got together in high school when we were like 14 and 15 years old.

CALLUM MARTIN, THE CHECKS: We got chucked in the deep end like that. And then we thought, OK, we probably have enough songs to go for an album.

KNOWLES: Yes, and soon we moved to England for a while. Made one album over there, made another album when we came home. We just finished a third.

SVEN PETTERSEN, THE CHECKS: I think the best thing about New Zealand as far as music goes, it is not all the variety of bands, it is just that there is nobody here. So you can go and you have infinite amount of time and space to write, to figure out your own thing. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that's how people do it and that is why it's got a unique flavor.

KNOWLES: Yes, because you are never going to really blow up massive, because there's not the market to support it. So if you are making music you are really just making it for yourself, or-and for other musicians, and for the people here. It's not like a big goal to go and sell a billion records.

PETTERSEN: If you come here, don't be expecting a band nightlife of New York. Just go straight to the beach and stay there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me. Where are we going to head now?

KNOWLES: We're going to go-

PETTERSEN: Straight to the band night life.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going down to Bolton (ph) Lane, which a little strip of bars and cafes, off the High Street. It's really great. There's great food and lots of, different kind of, beer bars. And we are going to DJ at this bar called Cassette No. 9.



NADIA LIM, 2011 NEW ZEALAND, "MASTER CHEF": We're right now at the Auckland Viaduct. Beautiful sunny day and we are just about to head out to Waiheke Island. So we are going to catch the ferry over there.

Thank you.


LIM: This is the Auckland Sea back here. This is the ferry (ph) building. And as soon as the ferry starts taking off we'll get to see awesome view of Auckland City.

Probably most of these (UNINTELLIGIBLE) have been out to Waiheke before. From Auckland it is only a 45 minute trip on the ferry. And there's lots of vineyards and wineries there. Lots of good places to eat. I mean, my friends come over about every year, once a year, and we hire bikes and we bike around to all the wineries. So it is lots of fun.

Happy to meet you. I'm Nadia.

PATRICK NEWTON, WINEMAKER: We're looking back at the city of Auckland.

LIM: Auckland City in the very far distance.

NEWTON: Nice and easy. And then we've got Rangitoto, the volcano. This is just sitting there.

Over here is mainly Chardonnay, and a few smaller areas of Cabernet Sauvignon, Surray (ph), a bit of Mudbrick, and Cabernet Franc.

LIM: What time of year would you see the grapes ripe and ready?

NEWTON: Usually around March, April.


LIM: So we have a red and a white wine, here?

NEWTON: Yes, we have the 2010 Mudbrick (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Chardonnay.

LIM: Yes.

NEWTON: And the 2010 Mudbrick Shepard's Point Surray (ph).


NEWTON: So both grown on the island. We'll try the Chardonnay first.


NEWTON: We've got some lovely stone, fruit. Has a nice little flinty aroma, there. I'd say a bit of complexity.

LIM: Is there a bit of a technique to swirl?

NEWTON: To the swirly? Practice.

New Zealand is definitely one of the places in the world where we have distinct characters in the wines, whether it is Mauve (ph) Sauvignon Blanc, Centro Tigo (ph), Pinion Noir, or Waiheke Surray. We are very stylistically different to anywhere else in the world.


LIM: In New Zealand, I mean, we have actually got all this food, this really produce for free. We are very lucky that we can go out into the harbor even, from Auckland City, and go fishing and catch as many snappers as you like. You can go diving for scallops, crayfish, and all of that stuff is great to eat. And I mean, it is so fresh, and it's free. And it's right on your doorstep. And I don't think a lot of other cities around the world have that. So we are very lucky in that sense, to have food in that way.


OSCAR KIGHTLEY, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: Wild Auckland, you know? Auckland is one big village. It is made up of lots of little villages that are clustered around two houses, but you know, you can go everyday and usually see people you know.

This is the Otara Market. It is been here since the `70s. It kind of started as a community initiative, but it has kind of since picked up and Saturday morning this car park turns into this thriving sea of cheap socks.


Fresh vegetables and fatty food.

Hey, how are you my friend?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was only thinking of you last week. Where's Oscar?


And there you are.

KIGHTLEY: Here I am. All right. Let me get some peanut brownies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peanut brownies, oh, always the brownies.

KIGHTLEY: Yeah, always the brownies.

What do you like so much about being here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The queen most of all.



KIGHTLEY: Auckland is the biggest Polynesian city in world, in terms of Auckland-the Pacific population first landed in the simple suburbs, but kind of soon, South Auckland was created and everybody moved from the central areas out to south and out to west, and this South Auckland, right here in Otara is like the heart of South Auckland.

One of the things I love is have everybody represents where they are from. And because it is World Cup here, this is more extreme than normal.


But-oh, check this out. What do you mean going (UNINTELLIGIBLE) (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) Have you got any calf legs?

Is that a big flag? OK, all right then, here you go.

Come to the Otara Market and buy a Samoan (ph) flag. I love it.


KIGHTLEY: Thank you.

Those are real apples?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just done about 10 minutes ago.

KIGHTLEY: Ah, shut up, you have pineapple as well? Straight pineapple?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is way nicer.

KIGHTLEY: OK, I'll tell you, I'll leave it to you.



It's not just cheap socks and appliances, and Samoan flags and fatty food, it's fresh stuff like this. Thank you.

It's funny in the few times I've traveled people are always surprised to hear that I'm from New Zealand. Oh, what they have brown people there? But when you look at our location, we are actually a South Pacific nation. And Auckland, in particular, is kind of the melting pot city, of the country. And here you get all sorts. And especially in Otara is a good place to see it. You've got of course here, Samoans, Tongans, your Fijians, your Cook Island, your (UNINTELLIGIBLE) community, pretty much all of the Polynesian states. And then you've got all the local Asian community that sell their stuff here. But they also shop here. You've got all the local market growers, second generation Chinese here.

And when you come to Auckland, and you want to check out, you know, a different face of the people, community that you know, maybe you don't get exposure to, where you are from, Otara is a really cool, safe, and vibrant, and colorful place to do it.



KAREN WALKER, DESIGNER: We are one of Auckland's many really great city beaches. You know this is a city that is all about coast lines. And Waitemata Harbour, and the island off it. And so this is Takapuna Beach, on Auckland's north shore. It's one of my favorite beaches in the city because it is big and it's calm and the water is just, always flat, and you get this beautiful trees that give you the shade. And you get the outlook onto some of the many islands in the gulf.

For the next six or seven months this beach will be just the centerpiece of life for a lot of people. A lot of people come here every morning for a swim, or every weekend. This cafe here, Takapuna Beach Cafe, is one of my favorites. They do a great coffee, they do great food. They do fantastic ice cream. On a trip over to Takapuna Beach, for me, isn't complete without stopping here for gelato or an ice cream, or a coffee, and taking in some of the coastline.

Very laid back, almost a nostalgic vibe to it because it is so un- touristy and so sweet and sort of old-fashioned in a way, which is what I love about it.

Everybody kind of has their own little secret spot that they like at the beaches here. They have got their little escape, whether it is out of town or in the city. And you kind of get your little routine happening, I guess. And for me this is it. Just coming around these little bays; and you've got all this sort of black volcanic rock, and the very white sand, and the blue sea. And this beautiful vista that is broken up by the island; this is kind of my ideal beach.

Well, right now we are at Bethells Te Henga, which is one of Auckland's best west coast beaches. And what I love about this spot is that it is so different from what we have just seen on the east coast. This beach is all about the ruggedness and the weather and the wind, and the surf, and the vastness of scale. You walk out onto the beach and it is a little bit of a walk to get to the beach. You have to walk right along the estuary, but that is half the charm.

The Bethells doesn't make it easy for you. So it is not about giving you and easy shot, but it is about just having something that is quite awesome and wonderful, and the vastness of scale and the ruggedness of it, I think, is what is really sensational for me.

There is a difference between Auckland's west coast and Auckland's east coast. I mean, there is really nothing that is the same. Every single thing is different. One of the things that I really love about living in New Zealand, living in Auckland, is that it is so easy to create the kind of lifestyle that I like.

So, I get to have that very urban, quite sophisticated, kind of urban lifestyle. But then I can also, you know, at the drop of a hat experience something that is much more sort of rugged and to blow the cobwebs away and to kind of think and give me a distraction from everyday life. And I think that is quite rare to be able to have that city life, but to have this close by (ph).


BOH RUNGA, SINGER/DESIGNER: Right now we are in Auckland City, down by the waterfront. In a complex called Britomart. It was named after HMS Britomart, which was a Royal Navy ship. And actually this whole area is actually a port where shipping and the naval fleet based here. And now it is being developed into a bit a hub of activity for shopping and eating, and drinking, Mika (ph). That is just something entirely its own self now. And people are gravitating towards the waterfront.

Any visitor coming, as a visitor coming to New Zealand, one thing that personally crave, when I'm here (ph) is pie. It is a very New Zealand thing. And this is Sarge's Pie Cart, which has only been here for a few weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got creamy butter chicken.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got Thai chicken, minced, mince and cheese.

RUNGA: Oh, mince and cheese. Mince and cheese, please. A classic, classic New Zealand pie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want to go around the world and we just take a decent pie and show the world how good they really are, because (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

RUNGA: Oh, great. Congratulations and good luck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck to you and your making it.


RUNGA: Thank you.

Oh, tasty. To me a good night out is something when you have a bite to eat, then you really hit the town. So, to me a pie is a good start.

So we are in the wonderful, lively Tyler Street Garage, or Garage. As you can see, it used to be, it also used to be a car park, and a garage before that. And it has been converted and has a bit of a wonderful, New York, industrial chic vibe to it. And upstairs there is a wonderful, wonderful, little deck with a view of the working port outside.

One interesting thing about New Zealand is that there is such a rare culture.

KIGHTLEY: Yeah, there is a lot of authentic stuff here. You can just smell it. You can feel it. You can taste it.

WALKER: Very much a community feel, wherever you live here.

LIM: We're just so lucky that we can have the city and then you step, you know, an hour outside the city and you are in the countryside.

KIGHTLEY: Kind of the melting pot city of the country.