AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
On a sunny day in February 2019 we left our home town, Langebaan (near Cape Town) in South Africa, for the longest flight yet of our lives … over the Indian Ocean via Sydney, Australia to arrive close to midnight in Auckland, New Zealand – almost 24 hours later.
Probably the most luggage we ever had on a journey! Packed suitcases and our backpacks – here at Cape Town International Airport in South Africa
Cheers on our first visit to New Zealand in mid-air … served with one of our favourite dishes, namely Bobotie!
Arrival in Auckland, New Zealand … tired and jet lagged, but also excited to explore a new country!
Very dear friends of us back in South Africa, contacted their family in New Zealand to inform them about our planned visit to New Zealand – we have a three months’ visitor visa to explore New Zealand.
Our new friends in New Zealand, very kindly, suggested that we can stay with them until we sorted out our accommodation and other important business … we were astonished by this kind gesture of people that did not even know us!
They picked us up at the airport (at the inhumanly time of almost midnight), took us to their home in Gulf Harbour, which is an hour’s drive from the airport, and welcomed us into their home.
Pearl baked a cake to welcome us in New Zealand – “welcome home” – how sweet is this 😊
Welcoming gifts in our bedroom (with even hay fever tablets 😌) … they really went out of their way to make us feel welcome
We are very excited to explore this new country. When we usually arrive in a new country for the first time, we always compare the new places with towns back in our home country … the things and places that we are familiar with … and here in New Zealand we sometimes felt that we could just as well be on a drive in the well-known Garden Route (Knysna/St Francis Bay/Wilderness) back in South Africa.
After a week in New Zealand, we visited Auckland and the surrounding places – it is beautiful, so much greenery and trees. And best of all, you can see the beaches and ocean from (almost) anywhere!
Auckland (as seen from the bus on the motorway/highway)
The waterfront of Auckland
On a ferry, leaving Auckland harbour to Gulf Harbour
We visited the well-known Piha Beach on the rugged coast west of Auckland and was fascinated with their black sand surf beach! Although it was rainy and overcast, Piha Beach did not hide their beauty from us!
Piha Beach on an overcast and rainy day
We enjoyed a walk on the beach – with our toes in the magical black sand. There was a surf competition for the younger ones and we took some time watching them performing in the waves.
Spectacular views on Piha Beach
Berto, Pearl and Werner walking through the river at Piha Beach
Black sand between my toes – I have not experienced this before 😊
Our new friends also showed us a stunning place called Mahurangi from where you can see small islands in the sea. We did not know that Auckland was surrounded by so many small islands.
A boat in the calm bay of Mahurangi
One morning we got up really early to watch the sunrise from the Shakespear Regional Park at the tip of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. We started to walk in almost complete darkness, up a very steep hill and through a herd of sheep to arrive at the lookout point.
Me and Berto at the lookout point in Shakespear Regional Park – waiting for sunrise
Sunrise at Shakespear Regional Park
What a spectacular view!
Shakespear Regional Park, named after the Shakespear family who bought the land in the 1880’s from local Maori, has so many walkways.
The local people we met since arriving in New Zealand, overwhelmed us with their friendliness. As foreigners, this had a huge impact on us and something we will always remember.
We were now ready to find some accommodation for the next couple of months and to see more of New Zealand.
On our first visit to New Zealand!