1 – Landing in Auckland – Airport to Waiheke Island

Monday Did Not Exist

After landing in Auckland international, I sat down. It was supposed to be Monday, but it was Tuesday. Flying west over the international date line deletes a solid calendar day off your life. Do you lose the day? Are you just saving it for later? What happens if you continue around the world? Do you get a little younger than the stationary people?

Take the Bus to Auckland City

I took the bus system into the city to avoid what I would expect to be a large taxi bill. If you’re on a budget, this is the way to go. The bus will actually take you right down to the Quay (pronounced “Key”) which just happens to be a short walk to where the ferries can take you to all the islands in the Auckland Harbor. Ferries are part of what makes New Zealand so awesome. Even if you’re staying in Auckland, I reccomend taking a ferry somewhere. I was set to visit Waiheke Island to meet with a stranger I had met on the internet while researching a very strange lifestyle festival called the Rainbow Gathering.

Love Affair Travel Strikes Early

This was it! From the airport and onto a boat cruising through the harbor as the sun was rising. I love boats and seeing the lay of the harbor from a tremendous high speed boat plowing through the bay while introducing me to New Zealand.

It’s difficult to describe how elated I feel at these times. There is something about being wrapped in wonderment for how beautiful the world is while you race across a strange water-way to a place and group of people that you’ve never been to or people you’ve never met. The Love Affair with travel stems from moments of enthralling wonderment like these.

Auckland and Waiheke in Summer

When Christmas times strikes New Zealand, it’s the middle of summer. They have a tree called the Pohutakawa which blooms these amazing red flowers for the holiday season. The red is striking across the deep green of every surface. New Zealand is, “green as.”

Sweet As

Thats a New Zealand (and Australian) thing. They say things are, “mean as,” “fast as,” or “sweet as.” Essentially, it’s a simile that doesn’t require completion. This might make you upset when you land there, but two weeks into your trip, you’re going to be saying it naturally and loving each moment of it.

How to Hustle Free Rides While Traveling

While on the ferry, I struck up conversation with a good looking middle aged couple. We discussed our plans for the trip. They had to go prepare for their wedding, I explained that all I had for a destination was a beach on the island.

“You don’t have an address?” The soon to be bride asked.

No, I explained. All I had was the beach that the person I was to meet lived at. Oh, and I’ve never met them before. I had a phone number, but no phone and the beach didn’t have a pay phone because, well it’s out in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand.

They agreed to take me and my small bags in their rental car. It was one of the most beautiful drives of my life.

Find the Place, Take Your Time

They dropped me off on the beach. I ended up stashing my big bag and kept my precious small bag on a hike around what I would describe as a small seaside village. I met strangers who explained they didn’t know the girl I was looking for. Everyone was suprisingly welcoming. One couple at a yoga retreat building offered to put me up for the night If I didn’t find them.

The exotic smells, the crashing of the waves and the invigorating climb up hills to knock on doors of people I’ve never met before was fantastic. I loved every moment of it.

Finding My People

After much deliberation, I found the place, and my new travel mates. She was a lovely woman with a beautiful young daughter. I spent the afternoon with them, preparing the van for a long trip. The next day we were to drive from Wiheke Island (take a car ferry back to Auckland) to Wellington and take a ferry across the Cook Straight and be at a strange music festival the next morning.

What a bizarre situation…

Best of all, it’s only the beginning. This was the dying days of 2009. This marks the beginning of a long journey across the southern hemisphere. Perhaps the best and most challenging of my life.

If You Find Yourself on Waiheke Island…

…and you’ve got coin; for the best meal, location and wine of your life, go to Te Whau. It’s a work of art.

Thank you very much for reading. If you have something to say or a question about anything above, please leave a comment below or contact me.

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