I’m still in Auckland!
There has been so much happening since January, when I first arrived in Auckland, it only just feels like I have finally settled down and have some sort of routine back in my life. It is quite scary to think that its May already and I have been a Kiwi for 4 months and over a year now since I left my home and my whole life.
I reflected on Monday 9th March this year and thought back to saying goodbye to Mum, Dad and Tim in the Brisbane airport and flying to Bali with absolutely no idea what was going to happen over the 12 months that I planned to travel. It was hard. Travelling solo for this first time, especially after a massive personal disaster was the hardest thing I ever done. Memories lingered with me most of the way around the world. News from home was heartbreaking on occasions. And being alone. Being alone was the hardest. I made some wonderful connections and friends whilst travelling but they never really took that feeling of being alone away.
After travelling through Bali, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, China, Tibet, Nepal and India I travelled home for one month (July) before departing again for Africa. “Phase Two”, as I called it, was where my journey really started.
As much as I loved travelling through Asia; when I landed in Cape Town, South Africa I knew what I was doing; I had been practicing those previous months for that moment. I didn’t have any crap holding me back in Australia and I wasn’t wasting another opportunity for anyone.
After two months in Africa I travelled through eastern Europe (Croatia, Slovenia, Hungry and Poland) followed by basing myself in London for November and December. The worst time (weather wise) to arrive in London. I was lucky to find part time admin work, so worked a few days a week and explored London as much as I could. Including short trips to Portugal and Belgium.
Somewhere between Christmas 2014 and New Years 2015 I flew from London to Hong Kong to Auckland to see what destiny had in store and because I had absolutely nothing to lose.
New Years Years 2015
I was very lucky to find a job within my first week and of all places I ended up working in the Mayor of Auckland’s office. The position was Diary Assistant and basically I had to book and organise all of the Mayor’s business meetings. It was a really interesting role – I had never worked in politics before and I did enjoy that full on, go, go, go aspect of it. Your day is based around what happens in the newspapers that morning; what a councillor has said; what the residents are angry about or what has been leaked to the media and thats a pretty exciting culture to work within.
Stunning views from the Mayor’s Office
Also earning money was an amazing feeling again. After being an unpaid backpacker for 10 months to get that first pay check was bliss as my long service leave payments from my previous job had run out a long time ago! I am certainly at that point in my travels where my savings are dwindling and I need to base myself somewhere for a decent amount of time and save again. No matter what anyone says you can’t keep travelling forever!
There are still so many places I want to travel to – the big one is South America – and my plan is to work hard, save hard and set a date to catch a plane. However I must admit being based in Auckland (and not Australia) is pretty cool – technically I am on a working holiday and I am using the weekends to get out and explore as much as I can.
There was certainly one highlight from working with the Mayor and that was meeting with John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand. He was such a lovely, genuine bloke.
Pam, Hana, Hani, the PM, myself and Kate
Another work perk…trying on the freshly signed Black Caps jersey prior to the World Cup
About 3 weeks ago I moved into a little flat in the uber cool suburb of Ponsonby or Herne Bay. It is apparently Auckland’s Hippest Strip according to I Love Ponsonby. I love Ponsonby because it takes 15 minutes on the bus to get into the city; 10 minutes walk to the yummiest and funkiest cafes and restaurants and 2 minutes walk to a small beach where I can’t hear anything but the waves.
Work hasn’t been the only thing I have been up to in Auckland…
When the weather was warm and sunny earlier in the year, hanging out at either Mission, Kohi or St Heliers Beach were always a great option. Prior to moving to Ponsonby I was living in St Heliers which was a 10 minutes to the beach. Mission Beach and St Heliers are excellent places for a Saturday morning brunch or an cheap Indian curry on a Tuesday night.
Kohimarama (Kohi) Beach with its spectacular views across to Rangitoto
Enjoying brunch and the view of St Heliers beach
Cricket! Every weekend (well at the start of the season anyway!) I played WAG whilst watching the Ellersie Cricket Club in action.
The Hauraki Gulf is the stunning bay in the backdrop of the Auckland skyline. It is also one of the best places for an Aucklander to take the boat out for a spot of fishing. On a good day, when the sun is bright the water gleams crystal clear. There are so many islands and coves in the bay that there are good opportunities for spear fishing and snorkelling and on my first boat trip I did see two small sharks!
Tawharanui, about one hour north of Auckland, is a another perfect spot for a picnic and a bush walk. It is a mixture of white sand, rolling waves (with dolphins playing!), tropical forests and green pastures. All things Kiwi! So far, one of my favourite places.
Another day trip from Auckland is Muriwai Beach, on the rugged western coast of New Zealand. The waves are pretty awesome on the west side and it was good fun boogie boarding which I hadn’t done since I was a teenager.
And there has been plenty of other good times in between…
Dinner atop the Sky Tower
Silo Park within Wynyard Quarter; there are food trucks, markets and a movie projected onto the silo during Summer
The views from the top of Mt Victoria across the harbour in Devonport
Australia vs New Zealand, Eden Park
Mosquito Bay with its stunning black sand
Dressed up for a wedding
Mt Eden ~ the highest volcano in Auckland city at 196 metres high