We haven’t left Auckland for a month now, which also means it’s been a while since my last post. However, Auckland has proved itself to be an absolute treasure trove of weekend activities to keep us moving, surfing, kayaking, and exploring!
29th – 31st April
One of these days I’ll get over the strangeness, but the orange and red leaves, pumpkins in the supermarkets, and short daytimes in April and May is hard to get my head around. 4 weeks ago Jen came to stay, and I would count that as the first official weekend of Autumn. We had a great weekend full of walks, laughs, and wine, before Jen headed to Europe and back to our spiritual home (and Adrien’s actual home) of Lyon, France, for an indefinite amount of time.
Waitekere Ranges, West Auckland
Brick Bay Wine & Sculpture Trail, Matakana, North Auckland
Sunday 7th May
Adrien already having literally tested the waters for this adventure, we once again pretended my SUP board was a kayak, and took it over to Rangitoto Island- a 600 year-old volcano 4km from the shore. A one-valve inflatable paddle board is only supposed to go 300m from shore, so you could say we were living outside the law- I’m really not a rule breaker so this felt like a pretty rebellious move for me, especially when the coast guard boat pulled up beside us on our way home. It seems they didn’t think two people sharing a SUP board and paddling through the shipping channel at dusk was necessarily a good idea, but instead of throwing some sort of fine at us from their deck, they offered to take us back to shore! We politely declined, and kept paddling on. I was so glad we did, as a few minutes later we spotted the most adorable little blue penguin enjoying a twilight dip!
The island itself is amazing, you look around and feel like you’re in some sort of pre-civilisation nature haven (minus the view of Auckland’s skyscrapers), with volcanic rock strewn around both sides of the path in a kind of beautiful mess.
The other great thing about the island’s untouched quality is the different New Zealand native birds that live here, including my favourite, the Piwakawaka (or fantail bird) – like a sparrow, but way fancier.
The view from the top is pretty special too:
13th – 14th May
The autumn weather still holding out, this weekend was spent walking, attempting to surf and kite surf, and discovering more spots of beauty in the region.
Shakespear Bay Tiritiri Track
Post kite-surf avocado sandwiches
Lion Rock, Piha, West Auckland
Little sparrow friends at the Piha Beach Café
Always in search of a perfect Scorpion spot – Kerekere Falls at Piha is definitely ranking highly
Saturday was spent having a great sisters’ day with Rona- a bit of just about necessary clothes shopping and discovering some awesome eco shops in Rona’s old stomping grounds (the very cool Ponsonby area) followed by drinks and dinner in Takapuna with Adrien and Dave in tow in the evening. It was such a great day!
On Sunday Adrien and I got the SUP out again and set off from a beach in east Auckland, to a small volcanic island called Browns Island just a little south of Rangitoto. Despite being much closer it was a difficult (and wet) paddle as a result of the wind and the choppy waves, but the island was incredible- wild, empty, with a huge grassy crater in the centre, the kind of thing that makes you feel very, very small.
This weekend has been slightly more relaxed calorie-burning-wise, but has still felt jampacked with activities. Saturday’s itinerary went something like this:
- Auckland Aquarium – I have mixed feelings about aquariums and zoos, I love seeing animals and fish, and it was a great aquarium, but at the same time I can’t bear the wrongness of a group of penguins living indoors.
- Part of the city coastline walk
- An 80km drive up north to a brewery café for lunch
- A trip to Goat Island on the east coast – famous for snorkelling – for a potential SUP and snorkel (too choppy, so a walk instead)
- Finally back down towards Auckland via Orewa Beach so Adrien could have a surf, and continue to earn his nickname Instafit, given by my besties many moons ago.
The weekend was finished off in perfect fashion on Sunday, with a walk on the beach in the sunshine with Rona and my gorgeous dog nephew Rufus.
So that’s a summary of the start of Autumn in Auckland! The next few weeks will hopefully bring more of the same, continued sunshine please weather gods, and in 7 short weeks a trip to Fiji which I am most excited about!
Thanks for reading friends!