One year of blogging

“As much as I love international travel I think it’s important (and cheaper) to get out there and explore one’s own backyard. So I’m starting this blog to encourage myself to get out there and do more things on my days off. So join me as I begin my journey to see what this great country has to offer…”

I wrote these words exactly one year ago today – January 16th 2014.

Call it a New Years Resolution or just a goal. Last year I decided that I wanted to do more with my days off work and get out of the house. So I created this travel blog to encourage and document my adventures around my home country of Aotearoa New Zealand.

My first was a day trip to Hobbiton – the location for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. It was a great start and was definitely one of my favourite outings from last year.

At Hobbiton - January 17th 2014

At Hobbiton – January 17th 2014

Despite living in Auckland for 6 years I am embarrassed to admit I had never been to places like the Auckland Art Gallery, Bastion Point and the Botanical Gardens. This blog gave me a reason to go and cross them off my list.

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, Bastion Point

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, Bastion Point

I also had a reason to revisit places like Devonport, Takapuna, Birkenhead, Orewa, Auckland Zoo, MOTAT, Auckland War Memorial Museum and Wintergardens, and the SKY Tower.

When I had 2 or 3 days off work I tried to get out of Auckland. During the year I visited Coromandel township, Waitomo Caves, Hamilton and Wellington.

Boat ride through Mangawhitikau Glowworm Cave - Waitomo

Boat ride through Mangawhitikau Glowworm Cave – Waitomo

I could post when I liked, there was no pressure. Some nice people read my posts. I helped a couple of people along the way like the lady who wanted to know the gate closing hours for Michael Joseph Savage Memorial / Bastion Point.

I don’t know where this blog will go this year or where it will take me. My only plan is to do more than I did last year and enjoy myself.

Thanks for reading. Have a fantastic and prosperous 2015!

New Year Fireworks - SKY Tower

New Year Fireworks – SKY Tower

Takapuna

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Rose Gardens, Takapuna

Yesterday afternoon I went to Takapuna Beach. After a quick visit to Shore City mall I made my way through the rose gardens and walked along past the Hurstmere Road shops and down to the beach.

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Takapuna Beach Cafe & Store, The Promenade

Once on the beach I walked down to the rocks at the end of beach and then walked back to the boat ramp and stopped for a Peanut butter and choc ice cream at Takapuna Beach Cafe & Store.

I then walked back up to Hurstmere Road and ordered fish n chips from High Tide Seafood, which is opposite the Hospice Shop at the end of Parkway Arcade (56 – 60 Hurstmere Road).

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Takapuna Beach, Rangitoto Island in the distance

I sat on the grass eating my fish n chips overlooking the beach as beachgoers swam, sunbathed, kicked a soccer ball around, played volleyball, and parents watched young triathletes prepare for a triathlon.

The Takapuna Beach .kiwi Tri Series was being held on Friday. I watched the 3:9:3 youth event, where they swim 300 metres, bike 3km, and run 3km.

The adult category followed the youth triathlon but rather than stay and watch I walked to Killarney Park, which surrounds one side of Lake Pupuke, a fresh water lake in a volcanic crater. It is amazing that in this country you can walk from a beach to a lake in less than 15 minutes.

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Lake Pupuke, Killarney Park

Couples were picnicking in grassy slopes of Killarney Park, while screaming teenagers dived and ‘bombed’ into the lake from the jetty. Some say if you take a bird’s eye view of the lake it resembles a heart – I heart Takapuna!

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The PumpHouse Theatre, Killarney Park

In 1884, a pump house was built on the shores of the lake to supply the local area with fresh water. This pump house was replaced in 1906 and was used a water supply source until 1944. The iconic pump house building, which still stands today, became a protected heritage building in 1983 and is now a theatre venue. Unfortunately when I visited construction was being undertaken so the building was surrounding by scaffolding.

Next to the PumpHouse Theatre is a café which is open from 10am to 4pm. So it was closed when I visited.

At the PumpHouse I watched Shoreside Theatre’s summer Shakespeare in the Park production of Othello. It’s interesting to note that this year marks the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth so what better time to enjoy Shakespeare’s rich language.

The play was held in the outdoor amphitheatre under the stars. Shoreside Theatre provide cushions for the wooden bench seats, which are much needed as the play runs for just under three and half hours.