Lantern Festival: Illuminated art in Auckland

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One of the most popular summer festivals here in Auckland is Lantern festival organized to celebrate Chinese New Year. This year it took place in Auckland Domain which was illuminated with more than 800 homemade lanterns. Everything was about Chinese art and Asian food, of course. The park looked magical with all those lights but it was so crowded, I didn’t really expect  so many people there, we could barely move around.

However, to mark the year of the Monkey, which started on the February 8, I managed to capture a few of the imaginative lanterns from this year’s festival… Enjoy!

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In the new year I wish you a lot of new stamps in your passport!!

 

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When I visited Cathedral Cove for the first time I knew that we will be back again! I have to say that now it looks a bit different because during our visit in the winter we were almost alone here and this time it was covered with the travelers from all over the world and it made it even more beautiful…

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It seems like a perfect place from where I can wish you all the best in the new year. Somehow I feel that for me this will be the special year and can’t wait to see where it will lead me… And to you, my fellow travelers, I wish you an exciting and adventurous year and a lot of new stamps in your passport!!

Happy travels!!

 

Follow me around Waiheke!

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It took me just 40 minutes from Auckland downtown to get to this wonderful green island in Hauraki Gulf. Perfect idea for a short getaway! Here I have found everything I needed – fresh air, clear blue sea and the nature which is hard to describe in a few words.

This island you can explore by walking over the several trails. That was my way because I didn’t want to miss anything while I’m here. I was ready to walk for hours and it is easy to wander around the places like Waiheke, great scenery is just pushing you to go further! Lot of people come here to walk so called Te Ara Hura Trail – 100 km of walking path which lead them all over the coastline, through the native bushes and across sandy beaches.

My first stop was Oneroa, island’s main village just 20 minutes from the port. I just sat for a while on the Little Oneroa Beach and the sound of the ukulele played by this guy in front of me just perfectly completed the picture…

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Then I got here. Wandering around the Promenade led me to this small, peaceful beach called Surfdale. I can easily imagine it as my little secret place!

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Wiheke is famous for its vineyards. I saw those places on the photos and I was really excited about finally getting there! You can take a vine tour and taste the product of this wonderful green fields…

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Beaches here really look like those from the brochures which are inviting you to go and visit the dream destinations. After a walk through the bush I arrived to the sandy Palm Beach. It is one of those places!

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After almost eight hours walking I had to go back to the port to catch the ferry. All I need to do now is plan my next trip to this island because Waiheke is definitely worth visiting more than once…

 

 

Auckland Domain is my happy place

As you already know I just moved to New Zealand a few months ago and I’m still discovering something new and exciting every day. That’s why for now lot of places here can be described as my happy places. Photo challenge theme for this week really made a mess in my photo album so I decided to share with you my today’s happy place. Here I am, in the Auckland Domain, enjoying the sun. You know, summer is just around the corner, I can feel it…

Sun, surf, sea… Here are the best beaches in the Auckland area!

Our first month in New Zealand is already behind us! I can’t believe how fast the time goes by. This whole month we spent in the Auckland area and there are still a lot places to see so we will extend our stay here for a few more weeks. As we have spent a week on the east coast and now we are housesitting (more about housesitting I’ll write in my next post) on the west side we had the chance to enjoy on a few of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand. We are already thinking about the summer and how great it will be. There are so many new things that we want to discover and this beaches seems like a perfect places to do that. One thing you have to have on your mind: car is a must here because there are spots which you can’t reach without it so think about buying one, cars here are pretty cheap and you can sell it very easy before you head back home.

So, here are those magnificent sandy places!

Bethells Beach

Bethells Beach (Te Henga), black sand beach on the west coast, is a place for riding the huge waves! Beside that you can enjoy walking over the sand dunes which accumulated over the last 4,500 years. It is a very windy place and can be really cold so take a wind jacket. I have to say that this is my favorite beach for now!

Piha Beach

Piha is one of the most popular beaches in this area and it is located only 45 minutes from Auckland. Here you can take a surfing lessons or choose one of the trails through the woods and just walk around the bush.

Karekare Beach

This beach is part of the Waitakare Ranges Regional Park. It is situated between Piha and Whatipu Beach and it is a great place for picnic and for swim but have in mind that you can swim only between the flags. While you are there take a ten minute walk to the Karekare Falls, it’s really beautiful!

Milford Beach and Takapuna Beach

This are long, very peaceful, not windy sandy beaches on the east coast. There is a great walk from Milford to Takapuna all the way along the beach and over the lava rocks. This places are not spectacular like beaches on the west coast but are definitely worth of visit and if it’s a hot summer day it can be a great place to take a swim in the clear blue sea.

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Orewa Beach

Only 20 minutes north of Auckland you can enjoy on the beautiful 3 km long Orewa Beach. If you are for kitesurfing, kayaking, windsurfing or surfing this is the place for you. Also, only few minutes’ drive from here you can visit Waiwera Thermal Resort and jump in the geothermal hot pools.

Next week we are going on a road trip toward the south of the north island. On the way down we are going to stop in Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo and lot of other places all the way to Wellington. If you have been here, give us a few good suggestions what we shouldn’t miss 🙂

All about the trip you will be able to read here!

Happy travels!