Kia Ora from New Zealand!
When I was a kid dreaming of airplanes and far off places, the place I most wanted to travel to was New Zealand. There was something dreamy about going to the literal other side of the world. The accents were foreign and charming. The people seemed laid back and fun. I just KNEW I had to go there. It was the first place I put on my bucket list and until 2011, 3 days after the Christchurch earthquakes, when I made my first trip to this ruggedly laidback beautiful island.
It’s been 7 years and what feels like a lifetime ago but this trip I knew I wanted to make it to Auckland. I had previously spent one night in the northern capital and had no idea what to expect. In truth, I barely remembered.
What I found was a bustling, thriving city filled with a mixture of maori, kiwi and asians. Laidback (as promised) and metropolitan. Being Christmas, oversize Santa’s, twinkling lights, popup markets and crowds greeted me wherever I went.
What surprised me most? The sun. As a former skin cancer survivor, I wear sunscreen daily but the intensity of the sun caught me off guard. Even fully sunscreened up, I found myself burning under it’s rays.
Auckland favourites, the Viaduct harbour area and Piha beach, were prime spots for enjoying the days but getting caught with bouncing rays on the turquoise beaches and pristine water.
Lesson learned, my dear ones. Suncreen, hat and shoulder coverage are no longer optional but essential for this pale-skinned Canadian in the kiwi sunshine.