I arrived by bus to Cambridge, a quaint little town two hours south of Auckland. I was meeting my good friend from university; she had invited me to stay only a week previously so I was happy to add a stopover.
Since we had seen each other last, she had found a good partner, had two beautiful children and built a creative and large home, set with veggie patch and everything! It was a real treat for me to pop in on my way through the North Island. As we both studied sport science, we are both sporty women. It was great to meet my match with energy again.
The first activity we did, was take the dogs for a walk. We power walked, dogs and children in tow, around this pretty lake and chatted away catching up on the past and the present as a lot had changed for both of us.
In the evening we had a healthy salad and a delicious fejoa crumble for desert. Fejoas are a new fruit for me, and I think I have almost eaten my body weight in them since I have been in NZ. You slice them in half, then scoop out the grainy sweet flesh with a spoon. They are very nice, and quite a unique tasting fruit.
My friends house was so great. I liked everything about it. They had designed it themselves, and her partner had physically been part of the building process, making it even more personal and original. She had a great collection of coloured glass, ornately displayed high on a window sill, to attract the most light. Maybe it was time for me to create my own sense of permanent space? Staying there definitely was encouraging the idea.
First thing in the morning we had a game of squash, I had to burn off some energy before my long day of sitting on a bus to get to my next location. Squash was great, a good sweat up, and very satisfying bashing the hell out of that squidgy little black ball. We won't mention who won…but needless to say we had a great time! Squash is my new favourite sport. I will be buying a racquet and hitting up a social comp once I get back to Perth.
It wasn't long before I was waving goodbye again, it had been a great catch up and I promised to return, for hopefully a longer visit next time. There is more sport to be played!
The bus journey to Wellington was long, but it passed quickly with scenic green mountains, forest and lake views and frequent stops. One stop was made at a cafe with a hobby farm, it was so great to see animals and give them a pat. I had the best hot bran and apple muffin, smothered in melting butter. As I devoured it in chunks, I wandered outside amongst the farm animals in the warm sunshine; to photograph ponies and pigs, llamas and flowers, and sprinkled some bran crumbs to the most eager free range chickens.
As James the bus driver welcomed us to our destination, his jolly voice pumped out over the loudspeaker; 'have a wet, wild, windy Wellington weekend.' He was pretty proud of his alliteration skills so I thought I better add it in!
Wet and wild Wellington it certainly was! I was in immediate need of a rain jacket! My first night I met up with my Scottish friend who I had met in Darwin a year or so before when we were both travelling. We had formed a great friendship over the time and she had stayed with me in Perth too. She had made Wellington her base for the time being so here I was to visit her. We went for a light meal and and had a little walk around and had a good catch up.
It was early to bed my first night, and early to rise the next morning. I took off at 6am for a jog along the waterfront, underestimating the chilly wind in my sleeveless vest. I had to run extra hard just to keep warm! Warmer clothes will be needed here, I wasn't in hot sunny outback Australia anymore!
After my run I went for a swim in the indoor 33m pool, what a perfect length. It was just right, indoors but with a massive full length glass windows looking out onto the harbour, plenty of light and no overbearing smell of chlorine. A great way to start the day, and loosen up my muscles after squash the previous day.
After all my exercising, I stumbled down to the waterfront for a sticky beak, and came across the world water ski championships, score! I was pretty enthralled by the powerful boats, and very skilful athletes who were so dedicated to this extreme sport. Once the race had started I got talking to this one man Rudy, who was looking intently on the race with binoculars. He proved to be a great source of knowledge and interest to me, his son and daughter had both previously been world champions, incredible! This sport was all about speed, skill and heart racing adrenalin. Skiers would whip along the water in a crouched strong hold, clutching their rope tether from behind high powered brightly coloured speed boats, reaching speeds between 80 and 110kmph. My new friend had reached the fastest speed of 170kmph mostly achieved on flat river water. He had dedicated his life to the sport, to help his children become the best, and invest no doubt a huge amount of cash into this expensive high end extreme sport. His daughter was the current world champion winning the championship title last time, but had now retired from competing at the young age of 23. Sadly a terrible accident had changed her destiny. Her best friend had fallen in a race, broken her neck on impact, had cardiac arrest, and died on the scene, at an extremely young age of 21. This traumatising accident her friend suffered, made her decide to give the sport up. She had reached the top of her game being world champion and now would focus on her career and other parts of her life. Extreme sports most definitely have extreme consequences. I watched the rest of the race in trepidation, having ultimate admiration for their athleticism and bravery. This was a race of speed, stamina, skill and courage. Respect! However, I think I will stick to squash for now…
Ok, until next time, take care and hope you enjoyed reading!
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine