Leaving the harbour side, after whiling away a beautiful summer’s morning, I found myself plodding the streets of Parnell, the artisan quarter of the city. A small selection of streets bustling with galleries, boutique shops & bistro cafe’s, Parnell has a wonderfully eclectic and bohemian vibe.
I dropped my backpack off at the Chalet Chevron, the only accommodation I had booked beforehand, to ensure I had a roof for the first few days. What a great choice! An antiquated little B & B, oozing with charm and Kiwi hospitality – which is always warm!
I spent the next two blissful weeks doing the tourist thing, visiting Auckland’s Skytower, taking a ferry to the volcanic island of Rangitoto then climbing to the summit (literally breathtaking…i.e. utterly exhausting but worth the effort!), visiting galleries, museums, the sea front & harbour not to mention spending a wonderful day at the Planetarium looking at the Southern Hemisphere.
But amidst my tourist travels, the most wondrous, surprising and inspirational thing I found, was that you could be a wandering stranger, enjoying your own solitude and the sights around you, in complete freedom and safety.
Sadly, I just wouldn’t dare to go exploring city streets alone and after dark in this country.
Wearing a smile wherever I went, I soaked up the sights and sounds of New Zealand’s largest and friendliest city but had my eyes set on the road and adventures ahead…
Little did I realise just how monumental my odyssey would become.