So, I have to confess, I am writing this blog about my last few days in New Zealand from the comfort of my beach bure (hut) in Fiji. So, the details are a little sketchy at this stage, but I need to complete the blog about the end of my journey so I can begin afresh in Fiji.
As luck would have it, the weather was bright and sunny when we left the Coromandel for Auckland, so we decided to go for a hike near the town of Thames. The name of the Valley we went to completely escapes me now, but we went there for a walk and sat down by the river and watched the water flow past and contemplated our trip thus far. Not a soul around - just the birds and the trees and the beautiful blue sky. It was sublime and epitomised our trip through this beautiful country.
After this sojourn we headed out towards Auckland. We were going to be staying with my friend Etienne and his girlfriend Liz at their hideaway in the wild west of Auckland. Unfortunately, we didn't have a map of Auckland which included the Henderson Valley so we had to stop at an information centre to get vague directions for the area but still had no idea how to get to Scenic Drive - it's a miracle we found it in the end!
We ended up at the end of the road at Bethel's Beach - a windswept bay with one lifeguard station battered by the full force of the weather systems. I asked a local woman walking by, "Is there a nice cafe nearby where we could get a bite to eat at sunset?". She responded wryly, "Well, you might be able to get something on Sunday when the food truck comes around. There's nothing around here - welcome to the West".
We eventually found Etienne and Liz's place but by this stage Wendy was feeling quite ill so the next day was spent recuperating. The only place I saw in Auckland was the local Westfield shopping centre when I went to buy us some lunch - a mere 25min drive away.
I would have liked to go to the museum in town but the thought of driving all the way there and trying to find parking in the notoriously difficult city centre and then trying to negotiate my way back through the rush hour traffic just filled me with dread. I just wanted to take it easy - I still have another few months to go and many more places to see. Normally, when I travel, I try to go to as many places as possible but this trip has made me realise that it's ok if you don't see everything.
So, it is with this newfound attitude to life that I depart to go to Fiji. Places to go, people to meet and things to experience but it's ok if I don't do it all! Thank you New Zealand, for showing me how to appreciate the marvellous, simple things in life.