New Zealand Travel Guide: Auckland

It’s a miracle! I have finally got around to putting my thoughts into words, and words into sentences to make them into blog posts on the places we visited whilst travelling around New Zealand! hoorah! I have decided to do my version of a Travel Guide on each place, letting you know what I got up to and any must dos and must avoids (in my humble wayfaring rambles opinion).

Our NZ adventure began and ended in Auckland. We opted to travel around on the Kiwi Experience bus and I’ll be doing a separate post about the pros and cons of this method of travel.

Time frame: Its not the kind of place I would go for holiday but I would definitely allow at least 3 days (if you have the time) to explore all it has to offer.  It is the largest urban area in the country so if your looking for your picture postcard NZ pics you’re probably not going to find them here, but, what you will find is a cool city with a diverse population, awesome coffee shops, cafes and restaurants and a sprinkling of some pretty beautiful city scape views.

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Geography: So, Auckland is a major city in the North Island. It has a sailing obsessed population mostly due to its location set amongst two large harbours. One to the Pacific ocean and one to the Tasmanian Sea. New Zealand is known for being full of tectonic activity and Auckland isn’t an exception being on the site of a dormant volcanic field. We were there in October and December, so we straddled the start of the summer. NZ weather is definitely ever changing so prepare for everything.

What to do: It has a bustling main high street full of every kind of shop you could imagine from Chanel to those souvenir menageries that have I ❤ Auckland emblazoned on everything imaginable. Take half a day to mooch around get your caffeine fix, I am in love with the ‘Remedy Coffee’ it sits opposite a cross roads and is a great place for people watching, with exceptional coffee and bacon sandwiches.

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Grab some food from the awesome Elliot Stables just around the corner with every restaurant type you could imagine you will be sure to find something you fancy. Then wander down the side alley across the road and find the perfect place for after dinner desert and drinks.  Take a wander round and chill out on some bean bags or deck chairs, soaking up the atmosphere in the culture and art hub of the city around Aotea Square.

The Sky Tower, amazing panoramic views of the city, plus free wifi! I facetimed my family from the top and the reaction was priceless. Its $29.00 for an adult ticket and I would definitely say it’s worth the money.

Take a walk along the harbour, there is plenty of bars and cafes to keep you occupied. There are over 45 volcano cones you can walk around in Auckland, so if this is up your street take a look at some tours. There are also ferry’s to the nearby Waiheke Island for wine tasting and lazing galore, we didn’t have time to do this but it came highly recommended from an Auckland local.

Where did we stay:

Waldorf St Martins Hotel – Beautiful apartment suite, a little walk out of the main city but views out to sea. Everything you could need and one of the comfiest beds I’ve ever slept in!

Queen Street Backpackers – Perfect hostel for saving money when backpacking. We stayed in an 8-bed dorm, it was light and airy, there was free wifi through out and a complimentary breakfast. Amazing location and cheap Beer, everyones a Winner!.

Columbia Apartments – Not an ideal location. Bad reception for both customer service and efficiency and expensive wifi that didn’t really work properly. Tiny rooms and we just didn’t feel overly comfortable in the dilapidated building. It was a little walk from the main city as well, I wouldn’t recommend it here. However, it was the cheapest way to get a double room.

It was the graduation ceremonies for lots of University of Auckland students and there was a real feel of community spirit watching them parade through Queen Street. I think it would be a great place to live and study, it’s difficult to find the magic of a city like Auckland in a short amount of time. Overall we enjoyed Auckland, it was more of a functional stop than a must see destination but I am glad we went.

Definitely go to Remedy though and sit in the window, coffee heaven! Did I mention the menus were inside old National Geographic *happy place*.

Half a World Away

I could never imagine I would be in the position I am in right now. I mean the literal position is extremely predictable, laptop, coffee shop, headphones in, intently checking my fantasy premier league team score. However, geographically I am on the other side of the world, 5 weeks into my newest adventure. It’s brilliant, terrifying, inspiring, romantic, ridiculous and exciting all at the same time. Its a risk, two fingers up to conformity, a hat tip to wanderlust and just beautifully unconventional.

I have always wanted to travel the world, I want to see everything, know everything, experience everything, its like the worst case of FOMO. Anyone who knows me will testify, no matter how big or small, I want to know whats going on and be included, like an excitable yet slightly irritating puppy.

I think my biggest fear in life is to not have lived it properly, I want to, for the good and the bad, have lived a life that is worth writing about. I want to have a real story. World changing brilliance and adventure isn’t too much to ask for… is it? Therefore when the opportunity to follow my heart to the other side of the world came knocking I jumped at the chance.

So, what happened to prompt this change of hemispheres? I met a boy. Classic, girl meets boys falls head over heels in love kinda tale. 6 weeks of dreamy Worcester dating later I decided to quit my job, booked a plane ticket and 2 days after my 24th Birthday travelled for 48 hours via 3 countries to meet him in Sydney Airport. Causal Tuesday right?

The boy. Without wanting to sound like the soppiest human alive, is the kind of person you dream about meeting. Someone who matches your competitive spirit, can make you feel special and that definitely isn’t horrible to look at. When the biggest downside they have is supporting Manchester United and can sometimes be too tidy you know your doing okay!

Thats where I have been. Exploring Australia and New Zealand and falling a little more in love everyday. Long may the days of chasing the sun continue!

My Words

I thought I would ease myself back in with a little explanation as to why I have been rather quiet recently…

Consistency has never been my strong point. I mean the last time I actually pressed the publish icon on one of my posts was the 4th February. Five months have been an gone, I have let myself get wrapped up in the day to day… eat, work, sleep, eat a little bit more, contemplate going to the gym, nap, drink, sleep, repeat (sound familiar?). There is magic in the mundane sometimes; I know that there have been times in my recent history that I have thrived on my relatively new found routine and structure. I have become more accepting of being settled and less resistant to the life I never thought I wanted. That meant that while I was getting caught up in the world of line marking paint (my job), and being mildly swept of my feet by a tall, handsome stranger my writing took a back seat.

I have still been noting things down, typing away when things get a little too much, squirrelling away ideas for a day when I felt it was important to let other people read them. I wish I could just write, edit and post but unfortunately I am very protective over the words I string together. My writing is a truer version of my thoughts, more than what I share in my average day to day conversation, it has more intention and focus. When I have a topic and I dedicate time to formulating sentences and paragraphs my feelings get wrapped up in the placement of an adjective or an attempt at being funny with a well-timed metaphor. It makes be vulnerable, it holds a mirror up to how i’m actually feeling in a way that effects me much more than anything else. It has become the easy option to hide it away just incase I get a bad reaction or someone I know reads it and sees me differently.

However, recently I have become less concerned about my protectionist stance regarding my words. 1. Life is too short to not strive for the things you love and pursue your passions. 2. I am lucky to be in a position to be able to outwardly express my thoughts on things, a right that isn’t freely available around the world. 3. I want to create worthwhile content that means something to someone and means something to me. 4. This is my corner of the internet, my space that gives me a voice in a millennial minefield, it doesn’t have to be perfect or cool or polished, it just has to be mine and something I am proud of.

So I will be writing, to you, for me, about nothing and about everything. Its my words explaining and telling my story, or the stories of a place, person or people. I think thats what I want the essence of wayfaring rambles to be.

True

Late one Friday night, a 23 year old girl lay in her messy childhood bedroom, hair in a top knot, pyjamas on, typing away on a Mac book which due to its temperature should be condemned,  listening to True by Spandau Ballet partially fuelled by white wine. Painted the picture? I know it sounds like something out of a rarely watched, but cult teen rom-com. But this, at present, is me.

Why do I find it hard to write the next line… well Tony Hadley I will tell you why. No one ever really knows whats going to happen or why or how. So many things have happened this week to make me feel all different kinds of things and I need to get them out of my head. I’m not going to pretend this was an extensively planned piece of writing, but sometimes things can’t be ordered or justified they just need to be noted. Documented that on that day and at that time I felt that way. Or whatever tense that last sentence needed to be in to make sense.

I feel angry at the world and how cruel and unfair it can be, how where you are born even in 2017 can be a life or death sentence. How some people can be so blinded by greed and fear that they start to lose their humanity. How they can fundamentally lose sight of what it is that makes us different from them, we should care, we should help those in need, we should stand up in presence and in policy. We can not, and I will not, be crushed by people that have already lost their humanity, have lost what it is to value a human life. I am not going to fear living my life or doing what I feel is right or standing up for what I believe in. I want to be thoughtful, kind and make a difference to other people’s lives both now and in the future when the next generations inherit this planet.

Now if you have stayed with this post thus far I can imagine your thoughts have strayed to… ‘oh my, it started so light and is she really subtly dissing trump and terrorists whilst listening to an 80’s classic’ yes, yes I am. But in other less politically charged news, I felt happy this week about my progress at work and that me and my family are getting on so well. I felt proud of my friends doing good and making positive changes to their own lives and other peoples. I also felt a pang of heartache when seeing an old couple holding hands walking in a super market aisle and maybe just a little sigh at at the sight of heart shaped paraphernalia.

Human’s are strange things, we have this unavoidable nature to not be alone. It is not just romantically or physically alone but the feeling that comes with wondering if you are the only one to be feeling a certain way. It is at that point the millennials, just like me, take to the internet to highlight their profound thoughts… hola! I suppose that is part of the reason I write some self reflecting brain babble on the internet, it is a search, it is unapologetically outwardly looking for some form of confirmation that your part of something bigger.

Apart from this ‘alone but not alone’ ridiculous non problem promblemness I am actually enjoying being a single person at the moment. I am finding a new level of respect for myself. It isn’t that I didn’t respect myself before, but I was definitely disillusioned as to how someone should be treated and feel about themselves in a relationship. So although sometimes its nice to have the confirmation that your not the only one, sometimes being the only one for a while is beneficial for your heart in the long run.

I know, its like an page long stream of contradictory thoughts. It has been an emotionally odd week.

 

And now bed.

 

The Drive-in Dine in

I work in an office. I love food, it’s intrinsically linked to my mood. Lunch time brings me immeasurable happiness.

However in my current job there isn’t really a comfortable place to zone out for a bit and tuck into some grub, without the fear of disturbing someone else with my chewing or Duolingo practice. I’m not a fan of eating at my desk because then I don’t leave my little computer, post-it, desk bubble all day. I’m also known to be a little bit clumsy, and would probably end up spilling something on company property if I remained seated.

So my plan, I hop in my car, crank the tunes like it was 2001, and drive to the Morrison’s car park – adventurous. This is then the part where I sit in my car listen to the radio and tuck in to the delicacies that frequent my lunch box. Chia seed bar anyone?

Or, more recently, pop into the shop and get some chicken pieces and wedges from the friendly boys behind the counter – I am trying to cut down on my intake of wedges but they are so darn cheery, the boys not the wedges.

It occurred to me as I was singing to JP Cooper September Song marginally too loud in the portable lunch spot my car has become, that I can’t be the only one. That’s when I noticed it. I’m part of a cohort. A band of lonely lunch eaters. I glanced around the car park and spotted 6 other’s just like me. Munching on their lunch in the front seat.

Some common car-luncher themes –

  1. The accidental gaze, this is when you realise you have been staring out of the window at someone without even noticing. They are usually the first to notice. Awkward.
  2. The look of pure irritation when a pioneering piece of food breaks free and lands between the chair and the hand brake. Gahh.
  3. The gentle head bob or mouthing of the words to a song.
  4. The inevitable scrolling of social media to feel like your part of the world.
  5. The satisfied smile when you’ve finished the food then the slight disappointment that lunch is nearly over.

If you think about it, it’s a bit like being in a tank, the windscreen and the other windows. No joke, a woman with her family genuinely stopped and stared at me, like it was a one republic reunion, whilst I was trying to locate the spinach leaf that had fallen down my top. After it had taken me a while they walked away, but still shot a casual glance back a tad too often. The leaf was later found when exciting my vehicle.

Anywho, that was my thought of the day. If you are a car luncher I salute you, maybe park next to me sometime and we could form some sort of lunch club.

 

Mindfulness on the M6

This weekend I went on my first solo road trip. I braved the motorway in my Suzukis Alto aka Casper, and headed to Macclesfield to visit one of my best friends and her boyfriend. I know that you may be thinking #thirdwheel, but lets breeze past that, I’m great at being a very entertaining and helpful extra! Moving swiftly on…

Oh it was a head/heart healing experience. This post is called mindfulness on the M6 because there is something cathartic and calming about having to concentrate on driving, and the next word to the song you’re belting out from Radio 1. Ed Sheehan’s ‘shape of you’ got a 10/10 performance. It’s like for the time I’m driving the part of my brain that stresses and worries is just turned off, because there are more important things going on in that moment. You know, like not causing a major traffic incident.

After 2 hours most of which was spent on the M6, I arrived at my destination. There is something magical about seeing one of your oldest friends doing so well. I truly believe that success isn’t quantified by material things but about quality of relationships and seeing her and her longtime boyfriend being so content kind of made me all warm and fuzzy. The girl is doing good. She also put towels out in the guest room, with miniature bathroom products on top, thats hosting to a whole new level.

I think that if ever you feel down or a bit lost, hanging out with people that really know you and care about you can completely change your outlook. It can be hard being a twenty-something with jobs, uni, travel plans, houses, cars and relationships to contend with as well as just getting through the day without napping.

The best friendships are those that you can pick up and they are just as brilliant as the last time you left off whether its days, weeks or months in between.

Clarity comes in all forms, I had a full on moment just chilling with a slight red wine hangover, coffee in hand, watching an awesome film (Sing Street – it’s on Netflix, watch it!). I think it was the calmness of chilling in a onesie, no make-up on, no bull shit just me, in a place, doing pretty much nothing, with great people and feeling like it was the right thing for me to be doing at that time. I know deep, getting transcendent vibes in a onesie is quite the achievement.

I am not quite at the place I thought I would be 10 years ago but I’m doing okay. I am moving in the right direction and surrounding myself with good people, and that feels pretty sweet. The bacon and egg sandwich also helped this epiphany.

All in all a lovely weekend, spent with lovely people and some me time on the motorway.

 

 

 

 

 

Wayfaring Rambles

Well what better way to start 2017 than getting back on track with my own little corner of the internet.

I may have epically failed last year when it came to consistency and clumsiness whilst on my biggest adventure, but this time it is different. I am motivated and maybe even slightly more grown up than before, slightly.

2016 was a defining year for me, I conquered personal fears, did things I never thought I would and well and truly got my heart broken. More stomped on… but broken will do.

2017 is about taking back my happiness. I want to use all the lessons and experience I learnt last year to make this one even better.

So this space, I want to document my thoughts and adventures, I want it to motivate me to make more memories and keep doing things that challenge me. The content is undefinable and random – rambling if you will.

When everything in my life seems to have become more ordered I want to meander around my ideas and see where it takes me.

I want to have a voice in a world when things can sometimes be overwhelming. I need a creative outlet with freedom and space, thus the rebirth of wayfaring rambles.

Let’s go for a wander…