Auckland was our final stop on our New Zealand trip, and the place where we finally got to stay in a hotel room! It was also a fantastic ending for a lovely trip, because Auckland and its surrounding areas have so much to offer! In fact, they have such a huge amount to offer that we didn’t get the chance to do and see it all. I saw a gorgeous beach, experienced trailer park living, gazed at beautiful buildings, appreciated the student culture and was in awe of the beautiful artworks!
• the beach •
On the first day, we drove through Auckland up north to Te Henga walkway. It can be a little confusing to get to as you actually do need to go through some private property, and if you are lucky you will get to see the two horses that just chill around the area. The hike leads through quite a tropical-like area, so you will need to have some Bug Spray on if you want to avoid having bugs biting your legs. We didn’t actually go all the way to the summit because we wanted to check out the lake which was nearby before sundown, but we did walk far enough to get a beautiful view of the sea from the flowerbeds.
It was also near here that I had my first trailer park living experience! I must say, it was interesting and the people were very kind. It was kind of weird using an actual house as the “kitchens” and “bathrooms/showers”, because by that point I had become used to special designated buildings used for these purposes. However, it was also good, not very expensive and another experience to add to my list!
• the awesome architecture •
The Anglican church pictured above is called Anglican Taonga and you can find it in the city CBD. Its style reminded me of the Notre Dame with its stunning windows, and its red door was a delightful detail to even the agnostic eye. I am not actually sure what purpose the beautiful leafy building was for or who resided within it, but it is really quite picturesque and I recommend going to have a look at it. You can find it on Symonds Street, and it was a particular joy to behold it at the beginning of autumn, when the leaves are beginning to change colour. I can’t imagine how pretty it must be when all of the leaves have turned red!
It might sound a bit odd that I am talking about simply getting to look at these places, but that is something that I really enjoy doing. I feel like looking at things that I find beauty in brings me into the present moment and gives me a sense of peace and serenity: I recommend it!
The last photo is of the Masonic Lodge, which was actually the first one of its kind in New Zealand and it was established in 1842. I recently read about the Freemasons in my Outlander series (yes, I say my, because I just love it that much) and it piqued my curiosity. Not only because I obviously can’t go back in time and find out what it was like then, but I still am unable to now, as I believe it is only open to men (correct me if I am wrong). It all seems so mysterious and historical… So of course I am interested in it!
• the park •
On our last day in Auckland before we had to fly back home, we headed to a local bakery and purchased some yummy treats. Like a big kid, I bought a smiley face cookie, and let me tell you, it was delicious. We headed to the local park where we found kids playing sport and a small area where people could walk or sit down and enjoy the wildlife. These flute flowers were really cool, and we just sat there on a tree branch and relaxed together.
There is also a huge student culture in Auckland which can be seen everywhere in the CBD, and it also seems like a business hub. The city is much bigger than Adelaide (well, that’s not exactly difficult, but still), and I quite enjoyed the buzz of people and fantastic shops and wares around me. I always tend to get a little jealous about fantastic and often worldwide shops because not many of them come to Adelaide!
• the art gallery •
The art gallery of Auckland contains a lot of different types of art from different art movements which provide a diverse experience. I photographed some of my favourite pieces which are shown above. As you can see, I have a bit of a preference for everything pre-post-modernism and floral photography. There is a lot of postmodern art available to see at the gallery as well, along with some really, really WEIRD art. I actually enjoyed the weird art as well, because although it isn’t exactly aesthetically pleasing, it did make me feel things and it did make me weirded out, which was cool.
We also had a little gluten free carrot cake at the cafe there which was surprisingly tasty (I say surprisingly because in my experience, things you eat at places like galleries or museums aren’t always as good as what you can get in restaurants or cafes on the street).
• the city view •
We took these photos from the top of Mt Eden. We drove to a little parking area and then hiked up to the summit. It definitely isn’t a difficult walk, and the view at the top is quite cool. There is also a massive crater in the middle of the summit which is covered with grass. This is really cool to see, and it is a sacred Maori site. This is a really cool way to see the Auckland cityscape and also just have a bit of a relax and enjoy a breath of fresh air.
Auckland was a really cool and vibrant place, and I do recommend checking it out if you are heading over to NZ.