If we haven't had the pleasure of meeting, my name is Katrina and I write for Mini Nanny Agency's blog, manage social media, and am a casual babysitter. I just got back from a short but very sweet trip to Auckland where I was fortunate enough to take my 'office' with me while I checked out Auckland's Matariki Festival, celebrating the MāoriNew Year Te Marama Tamatea-a-io (the first quarter phase of the moon).
I think it's important to be able to step away from your everyday routine once in a while, whether it's a weekend camping trip or a month-long holiday, with the intention of changing up the routine for the return home to better suit the life you want to live. That's what this solo-Auckland trip was for me anyways, and I thought I would share my top three favourite things about my week.
Number Three: Nature
Auckland is ranked the 3rd most livable city in the world, and I can see why. Even without a car, I was able to get out of the city on a 25-minute ferry ride to Rangitoto Island, one of New Zealand many islands. Rangitoto was an active volcano about 500 years ago, and today is home to the largest pohutukawa forest. On route to the summit, I saw two kiwi birds (who moved way too quickly for me to photograph), checked out the lava caves, and took in the city skyline of New Zealand's largest city from the top of an old volcano without having to worry about poisonous snakes or spiders (like we have in Australia) or bears and cougars (like in Canada)!
Number Two: Art and Culture
The Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki is a must! The Body Laid Bare: Masterpieces from Tate is running until July 15, and was the item on my list I was most looking forward to because I studied the themes and some of the pieces curated for this exhibit in my last year of university. At the heart of the show, is Auguste Rodin's most celebrated sculpture, "The Kiss." Rodin is known as the greatest sculptor since Michaelangelo, and seeing "The Kiss" in person amongst works of Matisse, Picasso, and Lord Leighton Frederic was one of the coolest (possibly nerdiest) highlights of my Auckland trip.
The Matariki Festival is on until July 2 with heaps of free activities throughout the city. The street party on Federick Street was a great show with live music and modern Maori inspired cuisine. At the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium, AXIS: Anatomy of Space was screening in their 360-degree dome cinema. It was a unique experience watching the film on the circular domed roof, and it was stunning. The piece was choreographed by New Zealand Arts Laureate Daniel Belton and performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Number one: The People
As a traveler, I've found that you can experience the most breath-taking parts of the world, but it's the people who create that charm that will make you fall in love with a place. The Kiwis I've come across have been genuinely warm and laid back, and it's one of the many reasons travellers gravitate to New Zealand.
Since I was going to Auckland mainly to set new productivity goals for myself, going out of my way to meet new people wasn't high on my priority list, but I ended up meeting some really amazing people who I'm so grateful to have experienced Auckland with.
My greatest take away from my little trip has been making new friends and the insightful conversations and stories shared. The trip was intended for a refresh in ideas and a cementing of goals. I don't think I could have taken away as much from my trip without the support from my friends and family in both Brisbane and back home in Calgary, so this solo-trip has truly been a memorable one and I'm so glad I could share some snippets with my Mini family.