Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Week 42 - Our journey to Auckland

Imagine going 10 rounds with Muhammed Ali but getting pounded with water from a power hose at the same time, hold that thought and repeat it for 2 hours…that’s how surfing felt for me. I’m sure for those that love it, that riding a wave is exhilarating and worth the mammoth effort of lugging a heavy plank out to sea for 15 minutes. For me I didn’t get any pleasure over getting thrown around, crushed by waves and swallowing half the ocean. Though I’ll give myself credit where it’s due I actually stood up twice, with the help of Che who had to pull me out on the board as I couldn’t get the 8 ft beast through the 100ft waves. Kyle however had a great time, not only did he get to surf the day away, he got a laugh at my expense too. For now and the near future, surfing is a hobby he can keep for himself whilst I do what I’m good at, relaxing on the beach. 

We’ve seen a few sunsets on our travels but only one sunrise, you remember that time I was a hero and climbed a volcano in Bali, so we decided to get up at 6am to watch the sunrise over Te Arai point. It was stunning with the islands and the ocean in the distance, the sky was lit up in beautiful shades of purple, orange and red, what made it more spectacular was the low cloud and fog hanging over the trees and forest, giving it a more magical feel….I’m sure my pet unicorn must be hiding in there somewhere. 

An early rise and too much sun on previous outings (for Kyle anyway) meant a chilled out day planning for America and our California Coast trip. If we thought it was expensive in NZ we were in for a shock, it’s well cheap here compared to the U.S, it’s a shame we can’t take good old Eric with us and sleep in the car for a few more weeks. At least we’ve got a few days to come up with some sort of a plan, hey?

Our last few days in Te Arai were spent flitting between the beaches and enjoying local markets, before leaving what has become one of our favourite places in NZ to head to Auckland. On our way down the coast we decided to stop at Goat Island, a famous marine reserve, with the clearest waters perfect for snorkelling, kayaking and diving. Unfortunately, we arrived at 11am on the Sunday of yet another Bank Holiday weekend, (Waitangi weekend, you remember the treaty place) this meant that the beach and sea were packed full of people…we should of known how bad it was going to be when we had to park miles away from the beach. It was a shame as the still waters looked perfect for swimming, but we just couldn’t be bothered fighting for space or paying $40 for half an hour in a glass bottom kayak, and since when did it become cool to charge for things by the half hour too?

Not ones to be put off we continued on down the coast to Omaha beach, which thankfully was a lot quieter due to the sheer size of the beach and again the sea was nice calm, a refreshing change from all waves I haven’t gotten used to on the other beaches. After an ice cream and a sunbathe we made the journey down the motorway and through the toll booth into Auckland. After so long out on the open road, enjoying beach life and small towns you kind of forget what cities are like, so driving up close to the CBD and seeing the skyscrapers and towers was a bit of a shock to the system, Auckland looks so big, it’s almost like you could put Wellington into it 8 times. Still the traffic on the outer roads pales in comparison to Englands major cities and we soon found our new bed in New Lynn, an Air B&B hosted by Dickson from Singapore. 

We weren’t quite ready to kiss goodbye to beach life so spent our first morning in Auckland down at Point Chevalier beach. It didn’t quite have the soft white sand we’ve become accustomed to, and the views of the city and suburbs are a little different to the islands and mountains, but still we enjoyed a relaxing morning before a busy afternoon of car viewings for little Eric, whose now nice and shiny after an expensive trip to the car wash. 

Taking the Metro in Auckland makes you feel as though you are in any other city in the world. The train compartments are filled with the suited and not so booted (turns out they wear flip flops to work), and many others making their way to the daily grind in the city. The 30 minute journey from New Lynn to Britomart took us through the most compact of residential areas, where back gardens have long been lost to new builds and development sites are on each corner. Britomart station was probably one of the most “normal” buildings I’ve seen on our travels, and was just as busy as an London tube station…at lunch time, they don’t quite have the population for rush hour traffic. 

Though we have yet to explore the CBD we decided that this sunny day was not the right time, and instead took the ferry to Waiheke island. A short 35 minute ferry ride over calm waters, saw us unloading at Auckland’s paradise, Waiheke Island, nice and early at 10am so that we could make the most of the day. A day that started with a bush walk, it was fucking boiling and Kyle thought that it would be a good idea to hike up the high trail for the views…of which there were none, what with this being a bush trail and all. Anyway we were soon at Blackpool “beach”, not quite like the beach back in the U.K with its pebbled shore and many boats in the sea, we were left disappointed as we had heard good things about the islands beaches. However, after a quick chat and some map swapping advice with an American couple we were soon on our way again to Oneroa. Here we found a beautiful shelly beach, with actual warm water and hardly any other people…it made for some great swimming and relaxing before we freshened ourselves up for an afternoon at the vineyard.

Mudbrick is signposted as a 25 minute walk from Oneroa, what they don’t tell you is that most of this walk is uphill and I’m not sure if I’ve already said that it was fucking roasting! Still we made it, and we are so thankful to Matt and Kym for the Christmas present that allowed us to have such a wonderful time at Mudbrick. Whilst soaking up the sun and enjoying the views of the bay and the city of Auckland, we indulged in many a glass of wine, a delicious cheese board (which hosted some of the best brie Kyle’s ever had apparently), and foccacia bread and dips. It was a nice taste of luxury and we were well taken care of by the attentive staff, who even allowed us a wander around the vineyard afterwards. After all that walking and drinking we did opt to get a taxi back to the ferry terminal.

On our way home from Waiheke we accidentally stumbled into a Chinese, though not just any Chinese, this was probably as close to the real thing we’ve had in ages. Delicious crispy dumplings, a beef dish and noodles, with a side order of tea. There was enough to feed an army, so we’ve got left overs for tea tonight. It had us reminiscing about China, Japan and Asia and having been in NZ for 3 months experiencing so many new things that you kind of forget what you’ve done and the food you’ve eaten...once we started talking about it though we were soon of on a tangent.

I’m going to leave this blog post short and sweet, I’ll keep you guessing, for now, about how we’ve enjoyed Auckland, and if we like the CBD and most importantly if Eric has a new home, or if he’s still sat on the driveway of our Air B&B…..

Love Carrie xxx

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