Six months on the road and I’m still loving life (of course). Six months down and I can hardly believe it, almost half way through this trip.
January has been spent purely in New Zealand and it has been so fantastic to rediscover my home town of Auckland and see it through really fresh eyes having not lived here for almost 7 years and also through Dan’s who has only visited for really short periods of time.
We began the month with a day trip out to Rangitoto Island which is a volcano in the Hauraki Gulf of Auckland. I can’t believe this was my first trip to Rangitoto in all my 30 years on this planet! Just a short 30 minute ferry from Auckland central and you are transported to a green, volcanic rock filled volcano.
The day was perfect sunshine and clear skies which made for great viewing at the summit. An awesome day with friends spent here.
I’ve also been discovering some local spots to where I grew up in Auckland. I’ve found it really interesting going back to these places and being blown away by the scenery and beauty. I really took for granted just how awesome New Zealand is, but I guess like everything you have to go and explore to realise what is so great in your back garden.
This is Howick Beach in East Auckland
Mellons Bay also in East Auckland
This beach is an eight minute walk from my house.
We spent a day on Waiheke Island, now famous for being featured in Lonley Planets’ top 10 last year but actually a firm favourite of mine from way back. I used to spend my summers here as a kid and it is a very special place for me. We took our friend Gitte who was visiting from Belgium and of course she loved it (who wouldn’t?)
Man o War was somewhere that had eluded me until this trip but my goodness it was worth the wait. A phenomenal location and Dan even got to meet an ex Scottish rugby and British and Irish lions captain! We did some wine tasting, sight seeing and of course eating.
I read about Duder Regional Park on Kelly’s blog last year and as soon as I saw the photos I knew I had to add it to my list for when I came to Auckland. My sister, niece, nephew and Dan went out to this spot for a day of walking and incredible views. We picked a brilliant day to go as it was super clear and as you can see the water was perfect.
One Saturday afternoon and evening was spent at Villa Maria winery to see one of New Zealand’s best bands – Fat Freddy’s Drop. This was a wine fuelled afternoon and evening that was one of my favourite gigs! Such a great location, great music and of course great company.
We spent a day out of my friends boat sailing on the Hauraki Gulf before mooring up at Motihue Island which is a pristine island not far from Auckland City. The beach was pretty much empty, the views over to the city and beyond was nothing short of amazing and it was such a great day out on the boat.
Pauanui was the next stop, this is a little beach town situated on the Coromandel where my Mum’s family have a bach (holiday home). The bach is right on the water so we spent time on the kayak and paddle board as well as lots of walking on the nice flat terrain of Pauanui. We took my nephew out on the kayak and paddle board for the first time and he was an absolute pro.
Dan and I spent a day in Auckland City. We began with a coffee in St Kevins Arcade before meeting Jessi from Two Feet One World for brunch in Grey Lynn at Kokako where we actually saw two other friends so it was a great day of catching up. The food was excellent and it was a cute brunch spot.
My sister and the kids visited Musick Point (another local favourite of mine) for excellent views again. Again, just so taken aback by Auckland’s beauty and scenery.
To cap off yet another great month we spent 4 days in Queenstown in South Island as my friend lives there so we went down to see her and enjoy some of what Queenstown has to offer. We did lots of great walks around the lake and up mountains, ate lots of great food and spent some quality time with my friend. As you can see from the photos even though we were in the South Island the weather was amazing! Gorgeous sunny days for our visit.
And there is our summary for month six on the road. Very soon we are leaving New Zealand and heading off on our next adventure of South America, you can read all about our travel plans here. As you can see I’ve been super busy this month so it’s been hard to get on top of my blogging from Africa but I have managed to get a few posts out there so do check out my Africa page where you’ll find my recent adventures from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana.
As always I am frequently posting on instagram so go and check our my daily images here.
Plans for the next month:
Hawkes Bay – New Zealand
Buenos Aires – Argentina
Rio Carnival – Brazil