During last Christmas, we went on an small adventure. We left Auckland and the big city like many other New Zealanders. We drove as far north as we could get. Through the winding roads and pastures. Here a grocery store is not easy to find, or for that matter a neighbour. But the nature is breathtaking. We past by so many beaches we lost count, we even drove our car down one, that was a first one and a great feeling of freedom. Not the best treat for your car with all the salt water though. (Remember to wash it directly afterwards if you are doing it). We climbed sand dunes and ran down them again feeling the sand hitting our legs and the wind blowing in our hair. The sand has blown all the way from Australia to this spot.
Every smaller town we stopped in people were so friendly, like almost all kiwis seem to be, they ask you about your day, how you feel and if there is anything they can help with before wishing you a merry Christmas.
At Cape Reinga, the most northern point in New Zealand you would see two oceans meet, the Tasmanian sea and Pacific ocean.
“The ‘Te Rerenga Wairua’ component of the name in Māori language means the leaping-off place of spirits. The ‘Reinga’ part of the name is the Māori language word meaning the underworld. Both refer to the Māori belief that the cape is the point where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld.”
Kate and Sherman is a lovely and truly inspiring couple that we met during our time in New Zealand, we just have to share their story with you.
Kate’s originally from Boston and Sherman from Philadelphia but just after they got married, when people around them expected them to start a family and buy a house, they moved from the states to New Zealand. What was suppose to be a one year working holiday turned into three years and a blooming photography business.
Sherman early got a good job at a advertising agency in Auckland. Kate started off as an employee but with too little time for her personal projects and to develop her own creativity she decided to go solo and start her own business. Today she is an established New Zealand Wedding Photographer that shoot weddings all over the world. Because the wedding season in New Zealand and most other parts of the world are so different, she goes to the states for their summer season and when it’s winter in the states, wedding season starts in New Zealand. She also inspired us with her food photography by showing us her latest work for a cook book with colorful bakery and yummy cupcakes. Now we are looking into finding a similar project, photographing a themed cook book would be a dream come true.
We first found out about Kate when goggling around to find photographers in Auckland. Her work is lovely, she has her own style. We set up a meeting at a local café and it turned out that we had so much more in common than just our passion for photography. The coffee that we had led into a glass of wine, then drinks, dinner and a evening out all the four of us. Neither of us wanted this new friendship to end so quickly, we had so much fun hanging out, but the day after we had to leave Auckland with our rental car. When we left Auckland it was with the feeling of happiness that we just found amazing new friends but we also felt bad about not spending more time with them. We wanted them with us on our trip, imagining how much fun we could have had together! So we decided to meet again when we got back to Auckland.
10 days later we drove into Auckland again to meet up with Kate and Sherman. Fredrik hadn’t tried the New Zealand surf yet, so the boys went to a good surf spot just 30 minutes outside of Auckland. The girls had a nice picnic on the beach while playing with their cameras. The surf was good, and hanging on the beach also. After the beach we stopped by a local brewery on the way back to get some food and tap beer before calling it a day.
Our idea was to sleep in the car somewhere around Auckland our last few days, but we ended up getting invited to stay with our new friends in Parnell. We couldn’t have asked for better friends in the city, thank you so much Kate and Sherman for everything, meeting you really made a difference, we miss you guys. All the best of luck to you with your projects, until we meet again.
When we got to Auckland it felt like coming home. After two months in Asia and in countries with a totally different standard, finally we would be able to cook our own food again. Everything here is so clean, quiet, the streets so empty and people just as friendly and helpful as we remembered from last time. Taking the shuttle bus from the airport, we were 2 dollars short for the tickets, but we got on the bus anyway because the ticket salesman said “– Hey, it’s christmas after all, enjoy your stay in New Zealand.” Also the bus ran on time.
Downtown we met up with a swedish couple, Sara and Hampus who were on their way home after spending one year in New Zealand on working holiday visas. Sara as a photographer and Hampus work with web development, they both have their own companies. It was nice so meet some swedish people again and they took us to some really nice places around Auckland.
We went to have some yummy yoghurt ice cream in Mission Bay on the outskirt of Auckland. Then we went up a hill to get a nice view over the city and sat down on the grass. As we sat there just enjoying the fresh air and the light breeze, the sun broke through the clouds and gave us a warm welcome to New Zealand.
As we started to get hungry we took the bus into the city again to walk down to the harbour area, a cool place, urban style with nice restaurants lined up at the waterfront. Fredrik finally got to taste a nice beef again after two months on just vegetables and we also shared a bottle of good red wine before hitting back to the hotel again.
Thank you Sara and Hampus for a great day, good luck in Sweden!