A 5 minute drive from my house sits a small beach down a flight of steps that is full of character. A tree cascading down touching the coast and growing out into the water requires you to have to acrobat your way to the ever-so inviting hammock over the waves. We arrived at the last couple hours of light, something we had to take full advantage of, as the sun was powerful it felt glorious on our thirsty winter skin. While Pasquale swayed back and fourth, I of course decided instead to photograph his relaxation (which is my own form of relaxation).
A 15 minute drive from my house brings you to a popular beach area with a perfect view of Rangitoto Island. That being said, I was first attracted to some flowers and to my lucky surprise, an added butterfly, my favorite creature. One also got trapped in the windshield wipers on the way to Takapuna, but we stopped and I set him flying free!
Pasquale knelt down and starred in awe at the microscopic creatures roaming around beneath the water. He yelled, “come look, come look!”, I then yelled back, “stay there! the reflection is perfect!”.
As we walked along we came to a park right off the coast and my immediate thought was that this was the coolest park I had ever seen and if I were a small child I would be getting a friction burn from the slide right now. It was the jungle gym from a dream! Instead, we took a rest in the hammock. We then came across a swing and I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Fun fact: Pasquale and I met in Bali and within the first 24 hours of meeting he took a photo of me on a swing and I took one of him in a hammock – it has become tradition in our travels anytime we see a swing or a hammock (#cheeseballs). We continued on the sea-shell filled coast crunching our way to the end and admiring the houses that reminded me of the mansions I used to build in The Sims. Oh, if only “rosebud!;” could be used in real life.
A 40 minute drive from my house is Wenderholm Regional Park. We piled into the van and headed towards the park with high hopes for no rain. We trekked along a really beautiful trail through the forest that had all types of terrain. Wooden walkways and steps, incredibly steep and graciously flat, dry and thankful, muddy and disgusted. Once we reached the highest point of the trail, we realized quickly we were going to slide all the way down in mud up to our ankles. To make matters worse, it began to rain and then it began to pour. Luckily at this point we were under dense cover and were barely getting wet. We actually agreed upon how relaxing it was to be in the pouring rain under all of these beautiful trees and plants; our own sound soother. We then discussed how we would survive overnight and how it would be impossible to build a fire in this wet condition, because you automatically think being trapped in the forest for 10 minutes means you should have thought about a flare gun because now we are going to die. So, we made a run for it.
“I bet as soon as we reach the van it will stop raining.” Of course it did! But searching for perfect sea-shells along the beach was the reward.
Off to the near Sullivans Bay for a quick hike with a view. Upon our arrival to the gate of the hike we realized we would be hiking through inches deep of squishy grass filled of, lets call it “mud”. We declined, as we had had enough for the day. And so, we drove back to the top, found a spot to park and instead walked out onto the view we would of hiked up to. We immediately spotted sheep and knew there was more “mud” to come, so we decided to chuck our boots back on and tread on. It was clear that this was a true New Zealand experience. Luckily, the sun was just setting and it made for one of the most beautiful sights I have seen thus far. The water was so deep blue and motionless it reminded me of Crater Lake in Oregon, which is still to this day one of my most favorite sights.
New experiences and adventure are always around the corner. You don’t need a car, a crowd of people, or buckets of cash to make it happen, just the drive.