As always, it was great to return to Auckland and with the drawn out late summer days, there was lots to see and do. Half heartedly putting my hand up for temp work, this is what also kept me busy.
Pop up globe
A temporary version of Shakespeare’s globe theatre version 1 planted itself in a carpark in the central city. True to its roots, the stage was surrounded 360 degrees and the vast majority were standing in the pit, able to pick up a ticket for $10 on the door. This all too reasonable deal teamed with the inventive, funny and emotive interpretation of 8 of Shakespeare’s plays made me an all too frequent visitor. First seeing the comedy, The Tempest, we adorned lengthy soliloquies and followed the love story of Francesco and Miranda. Not sure what to expect of the tragedy, Titus, the small cast gave a grave and graphic portrayal with laughs throughout. The actors bumbled through the audience, knocking into us and each other, an addictive evening out. Unable to resist, I followed this up with further trips to Twelfth night and Romeo and Juliet.
I managed to catch the tail end of Auckland’s open air silo cinema. At the water front food trucks and waterfronts opened the evening with more delicacies to catch your eye. After dark, a projection of a movie onto the side of a silo tower captivated our attentions.
New Zealand’s neighbours, the Pacific Islands, celebrated their culture with this colourful weekend of food and festivity. With a large area set aside for each island, we explored Samoa, Hawaii, Tonga and Fiji without setting foot out of Auckland. Good was simple and delicious, tropical fruits and traditional Hangi, the music and dancing was lively and entertaining.
I saw the skytower illuminated green for St Patrick’s Day. The streets of Ponsonby and the Wynyard Quarter spilling with people and leprechauns and the bars inventively tying their heritage back to Ireland in one way or another.
Auckland’s sporty enthusiasm lives on through the Nike events and with workouts more like the most burpee- filled dance party you have ever been to, we took to hotel rooftops and island lookouts to sweat more than ever!
Weekend in Rotorua
Bank holiday weekend if you’re an Aucklander is an excuse to get out your boat and your 4wd and head for the coast. We opted for some mountain biking in Rotorua, bouncing around the Redwood Forest, followed by relaxing our tense muscles in Rotorua’s natural geothermal hot springs.
Coatesville half marathon
My fifth half marathon and a good excuse to get running again was north of the city. A scenic and hilly route, starting in showers and ending in sunshine was not a pb, but still under two hours, and encouraging for 2016 to be another good athletic year.
Black sand beaches
A stones throw from the city is the lush green Waitakere ranges and Black sand beaches of the west coast. On my last full day in New Zealand we headed for Whatipu. A bush walk in the forest led to lots of David Attenborough-esque discoveries, Ricky’s current favourite topic, the arthropod. We followed this up with swimming in waterfalls and exploring beautiful Whatipu beach.
On another beach exscursion, we took the 4wd to Murawai beach and bounced over sand dunes on this extensive stretch of coast. We managed to see, and save a baby sand shark, have a picnic and finish of the day with an impromptu game of beach cricket.
Alongside this, I have been on hand anytime my network of informers have rumoured a cute backstreet cafe or good looking brownie, and indulging in my favourite things about this city which include long runs along the harbour front, picturesque parks and an awesome group of friends mean that this island on the opposite side of the world will be getting a return visit in a few short months.
A trip to Malaysian Borneo to dive Sipadan and hopefully glimpse some cheeky Probiscus Monkeys,
U.K. Bound after 947 days away to celebrate my mum getting married and long overdue catch ups with family and friends,
More two wheeled peddling from London to Paris,
Crossing Europe by train: Paris-Hamburg-Vienna-Budapest-Bucharest-Istanbul,
Exploring the wonders of the Dead Sea and Petra in Israel and Jordan,
A delve into ancient culture in Athens,
6 weeks volunteering in Iceland’s national park, clearing and conservation work following the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 (followed by 10 days of diving, waterfalls and hot pools)
Heading offshore in the UK to the perrie Shetland Isles,
And with any chapter end comes nerves and excitement, a good sign your heading back out of your comfort zone. As I count down the hours until I leave New Zealand I feel like I had a bowl of worms for breakfast so let’s home for good things to come!
See you on the flipside Auckland…