Rangitoto is rugged, raw, dense vegetation covering most, but not all of the sharp edges of the dark lava rock. The very moment you step on Motutapu, the feel is very different: Motutapu is a 15 sqm mass of rolling hills, farmland that is still (better: again) cultivated by the local iwi (Māori tribe), some windswept trees and some fine beaches and bays to go for a swim or to sit and enjoy being away from the world.
As being somewhat adventurous and in love with hiking, I would not just fly to Christchurch to visit the concert. So, the plan was to take a night bus from Auckland down to Wellington, hop on a ferry to the south island, and meet up with a good friend, Jakob, to hike the 71-km-long Queen Charlotte Track in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. After the hike, which would take four days, we decided to make our way to Christchurch, visit the concert, and afterward, I would fly back to Auckland for work.
When I took a closer look at the map, a relatively big island caught my eye: it does not only work as a barrier between the Gulf and the open Pacific, but it is also, appropriately, called Great Barrier Island. And apparently, there is also a hiking trail. The Aotea Track is a 25 km long trail that loops around the island’s rugged interior and climbs up to the island’s highest peak, Mount Hobson/Hirakimata (627 m). After doing some further research on the island, I learned that it lies about 100 km northeast of Auckland, is about the same size as Auckland, but only has a bit more than 1000 inhabitants (Auckland, on the contrary, has over 1.6 Mio inhabitants). Life on the island is often described as being „life in New Zealand many decades back „.
But what makes Auckland a fantastic place to live is its location! It’s situated in the north half of New Zealand’s north island, right between the Hauraki Gulf and the Manukau Harbor, which opens towards the Tasman Sea. Mountain ranges to the southeast and northwest complete a perfect landscape.
After working for over one year remotely, I eventually checked into a flight to Auckland via Seoul/South Korea. Ahead of me roundabout 24 hours in a plane. But I did not care. As always, I was looking forward to some time to read and being forced to do nothing.