The dreaded flight passed taking with it two days of my life, a blur of sleeping, eating and watching day and night pass around the world on the interactive maps. With the intervening adventures, New Zealand felt along time ago, but the second I touched down that disappeared, like I was home again.
I was lucky enough to arrive with the New Zealand Olympic team. 170 athletes of New Zealand’s most successful team yet. It was none the less a bit strange to land after 35 hours in transit and be met by the media and film crews.
As the UK went into heatwave, I was contending with drizzle and chill by hiding under an electric blanket and beginning the daunting reality of a job search. The decision, get snapped up in Auckland with the people I love or hunt further afield for a summer job. Simultaneously I explored both options and accepted a temp assignment whilst also being invited for interview for a role in Milford Sound. Within a few hours of my Skype interview, I was offered the job and set about booking my flights to Queenstown for my next adventure. It was a daunting prospect. More goodbyes so soon after arriving, particularly to Kylie, also a new life to contemplate, one which would be living in Fiordland, a very stunning, remote and wet part of New Zealand. As soon as my flights were booked, it was time to get excited.
Aside from that our hostel was lovely and we quickly expanded our traveller friends. Cluedo and Giant Jenga were on the cards as were a few nights on K road and Ponsonby where our credit cards enabled denial about our dwindling finances.
Spring peaked through and we had a day at the beach, chaperoned by Ricky and his new car, ‘big red.’ We climbed through forest canopy to admire the beautiful Kitekite falls, then spent the afternoon dipping our toes in the sea and Piha and climbing lion rock for a look along the extended coastline.
So 10 days in and we managed to gather our Auckland collective for one of my many leaving dos, this one named ‘Lauren’s big weekend.’ On the itinerary, lots of dancing, burger fuel karaoke and memories made to span the gap before I next return to this, the city I hold so dear.
Next stop Milford Sound.