In and Around

When your friend are in town, you have two days to show them around, where would you take them?

Andrew came back to Auckland for the weekend to meet up with some friends from the States. A high school friend, with a friend who’s a pilot, were able to hop a ride to Australia, and then New Zealand. Not knowing what the budget was, we decided to keep it low key and head back to the west coast. While it was deliciously sunny out, it was SUPER windy, but we went for it anyways. We grabbed lunch at Piha beach cafe and then went up to Karekare beach. Our favorite beach! But the wind just wouldn’t let up!

We purchased a beach shelter, but instead of an oasis from the sun that we had imagined, we turned it around and tried to construct an oasis from the wind! Talk about a challenging construction project! We succeeded in a somewhat dilapidated but marginally functional barrier and caught a couple of waves and rays before we gave in! Sadly, the wind beat us down!

Friends in town

But low and behold, despite having been to the beach half a dozen times, a co-worker told me about some waterfalls at the beach. We decided to give it a go, since the bush would provide some refuge from the wind. We wandered no more than 10 minutes from the carpark before we struck gold! Silly Andrew and I had just never payed enough attention to the signage! But alas, our first encounter with Karekare falls!

Karekare Falls

The next day we went to Devonport, our favorite place for brunch and a walk around. I even found an awesome yarn store and bought some threads to make some booties for some friends back home who are expecting later this year.

We went to some souvenir stores and wandered downtown as well. Always eating of course. After brunch, we picked up some fruit, Devonport Chocolates and tapioca tea! It’s as if friends in town make us hungry!

Andrew had to head off back to Aussie, so we headed to the airport and hit up Villa Maria winery. I loved their late harvest Riesling, and everyone else found a favorite too. Afterwards, we tried to find a passable joint for dinner, but were sorely disappointed. The options were limited nearby and we ended up eating some swanky diner food before sending Andrew off.

The next two days saw our friends off to Hamilton, Rotorua and Waitomo while I went back to work. And that was it! A very short visit. We were able to hit up my favorite ice cream place in town but otherwise it was an in and out job. It was so great to see our friends, as missing them is the biggest hurdle of living far from home.

Most unfortunately for our friends, but lucky for me, that Friday the local rugby league had their first game in Auckland against a team from Canterbury, where several of my co-workers are from. As such, it only seemed fitting that I tag along, even though I ended up rooting for my local Auckland team, The Blues (I was wearing a blue shirt, so logically that was an easy decision to make). The opposing team, the Crusaders had a great start, but the Blues got their heads in the game and came back strong. It was an awesome game, way faster paced than American football and more hands on than soccer. An enjoyable experience and hopefully I’ll be back.

Perhaps, at some point, some of our friends visit will eventually overlap with a rugby game. Until then, I’ll wave the flag solo!

My first rugby game Go Blues! Woo!