Auckland, NZ

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!).

Auckland Volcano

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.

Cheltenham Beach, Auckland

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.

Riverside Matakana

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!

xoxo Courtney


Comments (9)

January 10, 2010

My mum used to bring match stick books, cards from restaurants, funny receipts etc and sticked them all in the travel diary. It looks really sweet now, 30 year after date!!
I miss you, and i’m SO jealous!!!

January 12, 2010

That is such a cool idea Esther. My husband has started to collect really really tacky touristy artifacts from all his business trips – they looks ridiculous individually but together as a collection look really cool. I love Brooke Reynolds (of Inchmark) collections of mundane everyday things, see:

January 11, 2010

Welcome to New Zealand! I was so surprised to be reading an entry written so close to home (our house overlooks the goat island marine reserve)… yay for documenting your travels on the website!

Since you’re in the neighborhood I just wanted to suggest you to make it up to Pakiri beach- it’s an extra 15 min drive past the goat island turn-off. Goat Island beach is always way too crowded and really bad for swimming (my kids hate it)… but Pakiri has the nice white sand and it is STUNNING. Our favorite beach in all of the auckland/ northland region. Hope you have time to go see it!

Enjoy your trip! And definately get your kids some rashies, otherwise you will spend half your day reapplying sunscreen every 5 min. Safe travels!!

January 11, 2010

Hi Catherine,
How funny! We visited Pakiri beach on our 3rd day here! It was amazing. We had friends staying on the campsite there, and so we had fun hanging out with them. And thankfully they were prepared — with big umbrellas and tents to shield us from the sun. It was also fun to have dinner with them on their camp site — it gave us a glimpse of the camping lifestyle, which we are about to embark upon!
Also… we just visited the Goat Island reserve, and it was great. Got to see dolphins!
Thanks for the suggestions!
xx Courtney

January 11, 2010

Courtney – I am jealous! That picture of your husband and boys looks amazing! Love reading about your adventure…if only my family could ever do something like this! xx

January 11, 2010

Looks amazing! The glass bottom boat…sounds very fun. Are you staying in those black cabins? They look very eco-cool!

January 11, 2010

What a treat to come across this post in my inbox on a cold, slushy Monday in London!
I second Catherine’s recommendation to visit Pakiri beach -an absolute must! Try to make it across to Waiheke island whilst in Auckland also. I’m homesick at the thought…
Wishing you and your family happy travels!

January 11, 2010

Lovely to read about the NZ adventures. We all miss you over here in Europe!

January 13, 2010

OH! I wish I’d known you were in Matakana! We’ve been staying in Omaha for the last two weeks – just around the corner! Sounds like you are having a great time though! I hope you checked out Charlies Gelato Garden on Sharp Rd – The BEST gelato ever! YumYum

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