I’m going to jump out of chronological order because I feel like talking about a journey I went on back in Auckland.
At this point, I had been there for around two months. I was thoroughly enjoying New Zealand, although I hadn’t done much. Auckland is quite an expensive city, especially for someone not working a full time job. So I spent most of my free time relaxing or exploring the great outdoors when weather permitted.
I’ve noticed a trend in my travels, in my life, in myself. No matter the location, no matter the circumstances, at some point I always get bored with my surroundings. Various reasons are the cause of this. In the past, I have dealt with this affliction in not always the best of ways. Needless to say, after two months in Auckland combined with a few other issues surrounding me, I found myself falling into a bit of a rut. I needed something to break me out of it.
In life, we have to find a way to rediscover. Some people are afraid of change, others welcome it. Myself, I am addicted to change. I am in constant need of something new or different. While out on the road, this is easy to come by. However, settling into a certain location for any prolonged point of time can deprive you of that desired change. Routines form. Habits lock into place. You tire of things.
The solution: find something new to do. Find a way to rediscover your city, your surroundings, your life. For me, this was the Coast to Coast Walkway in Auckland.
Due to Auckland being fairly narrow, it is possible to walk from the northern coast (which touches the Pacific Ocean) to the southern coast (which touches the Tasman Sea) in a relatively short amount of time. The walk starts from downtown Auckland at Viaduct Harbor and takes you through various parks and hills through the Auckland landscape until you reach Onehunga, about 16km (10 miles) away.
I had read about this walk and had been eager to try it, but to say the winter weather in Auckland is fickle would be a gross understatement. You can literally have a complete blue sky before you, shut your eyes for 10 seconds, and open them to rain drops about to poor down on you. This type of weather conditions doesn’t exactly suit this walk unless you plan on bringing raincoats and other various weather repellent devices.
Since I didn’t feel all that to be necessary, I waited for the weather forecast to improve. The coming weekend was supposed to be superb. My girlfriend at the time didn’t feel up to the task of 16 long kilometers, so I went at it alone. The walk starts in downtown, however, at the time, I lived outside of the city. I grabbed a bus into the city and walked down to the harbor to find the starting point.
I had been in and around downtown quite often, but I still followed the track as best I could so that I would be able to say I completed it. You walk through downtown near Sky Tower, over through Victoria Park, and past Auckland University before hitting Auckland Domain.
Auckland Domain is a massive park with rugby fields, many walking paths and Auckland Museum. It’s a great spot to take walks on a perfect day or even at nighttime for a more romantic mood. The Auckland Museum is well worth a visit, too. It has lots of Maori and Polynesian history plus some World War II artifacts.
From there, continue through streets of Auckland. Don’t worry though. There are plenty of signs to help you on your way. Just remember which direction you are walking. You can complete this walk in the other direction, finishing in downtown instead of beginning. There are two colored-arrows highlighting each path. The yellow arrow is your friend if you started in downtown, where you’ll want to follow the blue arrow if you started in Onehunga.
Stumble upon Mt. Eden. Auckland is home to about 50 volcanoes, the last of which erupted about 700 years ago (Rangitoto). Mt. Eden is a dormant volcano that erupted about 28,000 years ago and remains as one of the highest natural points in Auckland. A pretty cool sight, plus it gives some great views of beautiful Auckland.
I stopped off at Mt. Eden Fish Shop for lunch. A famous place in the Auckland area; I had some fish ’n chips to help me refuel for the rest of my journey. I ate quite a few fish ’n chips meals while in New Zealand, but Mt. Eden Fish Shop was one of the best. I highly recommend stopping by there.
Venture a little further onto One Tree Hill. Originally, a white settler in the 1800s cut down the tree atop the hill, for reasons still uncertain. Various attempts at replacing the tree with a native species of tree failed therefore a non-native tree to New Zealand was planted in its place. Later on down the line, this tree was damaged by the Maori who felt that it had no right to be there as it was not part of New Zealand. My recollection may not be 100% accurate, but you can read all about it up on the hill! A cool historical marker plus you get to see some more stunning views of the city.
One Tree Hill
Around this time, the sun was beginning to set and I still had quite a long way on my journey.
From this point on, the walk has less big points of interest but is still beautiful. You get the opportunity to explore Auckland’s suburbs at a slow pace and really take in the atmosphere, the local stores, the local dairies, the houses. It’s a truly wonderful walk. At the end of it all down in Onehunga, you come out to Manukau Harbor.
At the beginning of the day, I was breathing in the smells of the Pacific ocean. By the end of the day, the smells of the Tasman Sea filled my nose. You can’t help but feeling a sense of accomplishment after walking 16 kilometers. It was an amazing feeling.
The end of a long journey
The only problem now was how do I get back home. I hadn’t researched that part and I couldn’t seem to find a bus anywhere. I knew how to get back to my house, but dreaded the thought of walking there. I started walking back that way and eventually just had to walk the whole way to my home. I’m not sure of the distance, but I would be willing to bet it tacked another six or seven kilometers on to my walk. Upon getting home, I collapsed onto my bed.
Sixteen kilometers plus some more. I was renewed. Tired, but renewed. I felt as if I had rediscovered the city and my appreciation increased because of it. Rediscover yourself, your surroundings, your life. It keeps you young.
Good night, Auckland.
Next time on This Is My Travel Blog – New Zealand: Going North – Ninety Mile Beach, Cape Reinga, and A Tale of Colliding Waters