Like most of my plans this year, my trip to New Zealand was a spontaneous decision thanks to cheap Jetstar flights.
I landed in Auckland early on a Tuesday morning in a severely sleep deprived state. I’d spent 10 hours of the previous day on a bus from Canberra to Melbourne and then caught a red-eye flight to Auckland, so to say I was feeling tired would have been an understatement.
My plane arrived just after 5:30am which meant my friend Josh had time to pick me up and drop me at his place before heading to work. Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan thanks to mother nature and a huge rainfall that started shortly before I landed.
By the time I made it out of the terminal Josh was already late for work. He’d been waiting over an hour and a half thanks to the delay in getting our luggage from the plane to the terminal, and the huge lines at customs and quarantine. As he drove through the streets of Auckland he asked if I remembered my way around the area as I would be driving his car back home after dropping him at work. Thankfully he was only working around the corner which meant I successfully navigated my way back to his place.
As I walked into the house with my bags in tow my friend Kate came up and game me a huge hug as her dog Ninja barked in excitement. Ninja took a liking to me when I visited in January and we all agreed it’s because I’m a fellow Australian. He spent most of the next week sitting on my feet any time I was in the kitchen as he thought I’d give him cuddles (which I did, when he wasn’t smelling like wet dog).
My first two days in Auckland were less than exciting. As my body was still getting rid of the last remnants of the chest infection I’d contracted I spent most of the time watching Netflix or sleeping in what’s possibly the world’s most comfortable bed.
By Thursday I was feeling good enough for some adventures so Josh and I prepared for a day at Waiheke Island with our friend Sam.
We left the house 35 minutes before our ferry and had a 2km drive to the terminal. Just after we got in the car it started raining which caused a backlog of traffic on the roads. We were both sceptical as to whether we’d make it in time to catch our ferry but I was still feeling slightly optimistic.
Time seemed to be going faster as we neared the terminal and we were both getting worried. With 10 minutes to go I jumped out of the car while we were stopped at the traffic lights and ran to the terminal to buy us tickets. Josh still had to park the car and make his way to the terminal and I just hoped he could do it in less than 10 minutes. I ran to the gate and breathlessly told the lady that my friend was coming and was met with an unimpressed smile. Luckily Josh ran up just as she finished announcing the final boarding call so we rushed aboard and settled in for the 30-minute ride.
The rain continued until we arrived at Waiheke Island and met up with Sam. She picked us up and took us to a café to enjoy a quick brunch before heading out to a rainforest for a trail run. I elected to run on my own as I didn’t want to run as far as the others, so I just took my time as I jogged along the path and watched as the sun slowly came out from behind the clouds. We had just enough time after running to stop by the beach before Josh and I said goodbye to Sam and headed back to Auckland.
I’d decided to head down to Napier for a long weekend to check out the Tough Guy and Gal Challenge so I spent most of my Friday on a bus listening to Tim Ferris podcasts. That evening I met Silvia, an Italian lady who was sharing my hostel room. We started chatting and I learnt that she was on an adventure similar to mine, except she was in search of food while I was in search of running events.
Other than completing the Tough Guy and Gal Challenge there wasn’t much else that I did in Napier. I did spend a lot of time walking around along the foreshore and through the town, but the freezing cold wind made it miserable to be outside unless the sun was shining. On the Monday I managed to walk up Bluff Hill and enjoyed the 360 degree views of Napier and surrounds.
Tuesday was another long bus ride followed by a visit to Giapo – Auckland’s premier ice-cream place. I have never seen or tasted more incredible gelato than at Giapo!
My last day in New Zealand was another cold and rainy day, but that didn’t stop Kate and I from heading to Fairy Falls for a trail run. Kate decided that a run wasn’t enough and waded through the water, only to then fall and end up completely drenched. After a good laugh we headed back up to the car as I swore at the amount of steps I had to climb and followed Kate at a glacial pace.
The next morning I said goodbye to Josh and Kate once more before flying back to Melbourne. I stopped in Melbourne for a few days to visit my friend Anja and head to the Winter Warrior Challenge before heading down to Wye River with my friend Lisa.
This was my first time visiting the Great Ocean Road so I made Lisa stop a few times so I could take photos and just enjoy the view. The next morning, we headed out for a run but after a minute I was just running in circles as Lisa attempted to catch Pokémon along the beach. After giving up on the idea of running on the beach Lisa took me via the caravan park so we could jump on a giant inflatable pillow.
It was then time for us to both pack and head to Hawaii for the Spartan Race Trifecta Weekend, and another three month trip for me. I’m so grateful for the time I got to spend on the east coast and in New Zealand over the last few weeks as I saw some incredible sights and spent time with some awesome people.