After a 12-hour overnight flight from Los Angeles, we landed in rainy (!!!) and grey Auckland, NZ. Not the most welcoming sight for a family seeking summer, but I was so relieved to have survived the flight that I didn’t care too much. And by that afternoon the sun was out and shining. Apparently New Zealand is known for its potential to have all four seasons in one day!
We stayed for the first four nights in a charming neighborhood called Devonport, which is across the bay from Auckland (by bridge or by ferryboat). The town feels a bit like something out of southern California in the 1950s — it’s quaint and friendly, and we definitely enjoyed the slower pace… and good coffee (another thing they’re known for!).
We spent a day walking around Auckland and we spent a few days discovering the beaches — which are sandy and beautiful, and actually relatively quiet. Auckland is made up of 50 different volcanoes (all extinct, thankfully), so the combination of mountains and water makes for a really beautiful landscape.
The sun really is intense here. Everyone warned us, so we came prepared, but I still managed to burn my scalp (where my hair parts) and get my cheeks a bit too rosy! Uggh. We’re getting used to the idea of wearing hats at all times. And I have to buy my kids some rashies.
After four days in Devonport, we drove up north to a stunning wine region called Matakana Coast. We’re staying in a ‘bach’ (which is Kiwi speak for ‘cabin’) in a really cool resort called Riverside Matakana. The resort is sandwiched between the Glen Eden River and the Kawau Bay in a hilly stretch of vineyards. My kids are in heaven! Tomorrow we’re taking them out to the Goat Island Marine Reserve where you can ride a glass-bottom boat around the island to check out the marine life. My 4-year-old, who is (STILL) obsessed with sea creatures, is going to love it.
A friend of mine suggested I keep a journal while we’re away so I have been writing daily, trying to note all the places we’ve been and things we’ve seen. Another friend suggested I give my boys a ‘treasure box’ for them to keep their favourite little treasures and objects which will forever remind them of this adventure. My boys’ school teachers suggested I take flash cards and reading materials so that we could take advantage of this time with our kids and teach them how to read. All good suggestions, and we’ve been doing it all. If you have any other suggestions for me, I would love to hear them!