New Zealand – Part 2 – Waiheke Island:
Hopefully you have read part 1 to my New Zealand blog, as it will make a whole lot more sense. So please go back & read Part one first if you have the time.
On landing in Auckland my Kiwi friend Andi came to collect me, where we went to stay with her Mum for my first night. We had met a few years previously, she had joined me in a couple of road trips across Australia. The last road trip being along the great ocean road from Adelaide to Melbourne just last Christmas. I will have to write about that one some other time. It was great to see her again, and like every good friendship we took off right from where we left off.
My first night sleeping in Auckland was a real treat. After sleeping in hostels and camping out over the previous week, it was so good to sleep in a quiet, snore free zone, in a super comfy bed. I literally did not even so much as roll over!
I woke with a jumping start, over sleeping my usual dawn start as I was in bed heaven and slightly jet lagged. The plan was to take the ferry over to Waiheke Island where we were spending two nights.
I was super excited to be getting onto another ferry in a picturesque bay setting, but surprisingly I experienced a huge wave of emotion not long into the journey. There was an elderly man sitting near me, his wise white hair, brown tanned skin, and elegant pensive pose reminded me so much of my Father that it brought a tear to my eye. As I let the tears flow down my face, quietly hiding behind my sunglasses, I couldn’t help but feel sorrow and sadness that my Dad was not on this planet anymore. I missed him so much, and just wished so badly that I could see him once again, feel his soft hand holding mine, and give him a big bear hug. Being in Auckland was a strong reminder of my emotional experience during the last time I was here back in 2010, when my sister Marianna was dying of Breast Cancer. I missed my sister immensely too, and felt again the injustice of her passing at such a young age.
I know now to let myself be emotional when it happens. Even if I had been cheerful only moments before. This is how grief works. It strikes at the most random of times. Suddenly, without warning. Now after after few years of experience with grief, I simply allow myself to feel the emotion, without holding back, and relive the moment that has come to me. I feel like it is all a part of the grief process, and very natural. Then like a wave it passes over me, and my emotions return to calm again.
I wiped my wet face and joined my friend on the upper deck for a brighter view. Soon we had landed, to a magical island paradise. Waiheke is a small island off the coast of Auckland, average population of 8500, which fluctuates over peak periods like Easter and Christmas. It is an expensive little place if you want to buy property, and it seems having a boat is a necessity in such a magical island paradise.
We made it to our accommodation by taxi, and soon settled in to our new abode, a simple and small shack with million dollar views of the harbour. I loved it immediately. I was in heaven!
We spent the afternoon at the beach, where I collected shells and took a refreshing swim in the shallow and cool water, swimming out close to the many catamarans anchored in the bay of Little Oneroa Beach.
My energy soon surged with all the sugar, so I decided to go for a run to burn some off, after the sit-ups and push ups didn’t feel like enough exertion. As I gave my friend some peace and quiet after a surge of manic energy induced by chocolate and fresh air, I happily jogged off down the gravel path keen to explore my new environment. I jogged around a bend and up and down the hilly streets where I came to another stretch of beach. The sun was just setting in the sky, and the balmy warm evening was a delicious time for an evening jog. I really was in paradise, I was very impressed with this island lifestyle.
On my return we had some dinner and played Yahtzee. I have a new love for games, I think it is a great way to connect to others and have some fun without our distracting and demanding modern technology. I think it’s also being an only child, it’s just so fun for me to play games with other people! I am so used to entertaining myself, and might I add quite good at it!
On the bookshelf in our cabin, I found a readers digest dating back to 1979! Apparently nothing gets thrown away in this house! I came to an interesting and still quite timely quote,
‘If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail’. Abraham Maslow 1979 Readers Digest.
Interpret that as you wish, but I think he means we all see things in different ways but should use the skills we have to deal with our problems at hand. I feel like lately I am certainly hammering my problem nails! Getting things done, being productive and feeling very creative, I am also really enjoying my trip so far. How do you interpret this quote? So overall, my first day on Waiheke Island was a huge success. I was already looking forward to the next day of adventure.
The weather unfortunately didn’t perform for us as well as it had the day before, but still I was on holidays and happy. We were lazy and relaxed in the morning, but it was good to have a slower paced day as I had been on the go for quite a while. We made it out for a meal at lunch time, then returned to the house for a siesta.
I slept like it was the dead of night, and felt so much better for it.
At sunset I went for a walk on the beach and took some photos, catching the beautiful early evening light. Capturing images through the lens of my camera really helps me focus and appreciate the small things right before my eyes, and be present in the moment. My forever racing mind drifts quickly, photography has helped me harness it, and really be in the surrounding moment. It is so important to be as present as we can be in life, as it can pass us by too quickly. It is too easy to drift back in time or pre-empt the future, and stress or worry about what could happen or won’t happen. Photography is excellent to correct this, and really helps to create focus, appreciation and the bonus is a great result for others to enjoy as well. You can view some of my photos on Instagram under Ozolins813. Please like and follow me on there too.
Waiheke Island is a place I will no doubt return to. I loved the relaxed pace and scenic views and even the ferry ride was great, to glide across the water and see the world from this perspective. Waiheke Island was only my first stop, I was still to journey to Auckland, Cambridge, Wellington and Queenstown. All will be revealed in my future posts.
Until then, take care and hope you enjoyed reading about my first stop in New Zealand.
‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’ – Lao Tzu