Down By the Bay

We sit there on the rocks, the sound of the bay’s waves ebbing and crashing into the shore.

Celeste pulls a cigarette from her pack.

The smoke mixes with the salt-water air, the clinking of bottles adding to the murmurs and laughter. Faces blur into the darkness, features blanketed by the black, summer sky. I don’t even know how many of us are here. A lot but not. It is only through sound and the occasional flashlight from Kate’s iPhone we can point each other out.

It’s a page torn straight out of a summer novel.

The stars are out. The Milky Way explodes across, whispering a gentle hello from up above.

Orion’s Belt hangs like a familiar accessory, contrasting with the Southern Cross – a reminder I am miles from home.

Daphne and I shriek, exchanging a glance, as we both embrace the shared moment of seeing a shooting star.

I wish I could bottle up this moment forever.

Moments like this where I wonder why no one really thinks about coming to New Zealand.

You see, I enjoy European architecture as much as the next person, but there is something about the world’s natural sights that will always captivate me.

I could’ve sat on that pier all night long just staring at the stars.

At times I wish I could’ve.

This past weekend a large group of international students from AUT got on some buses and headed four hours north to the Bay of Islands.

A study in 2006 said it had the second bluest sky in the world.

I’d buy that.

It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

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For two days I enjoyed kayaking and sailing across the Bay. I got to accomplish another bucket list item by sitting underneath a waterfall. I slept in a hostel for the first time (which was actually a lot nicer than I had first expected). I got to see dolphins do flips. I got to climb up one of the steepest hills I’ve climbed, only to come face to face with an astounding view. I finally got out of the city.

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IMG_5326And while it was a nice vacation from school, the trip was not without its educating moments:

  • The Bay of Islands was the first part of New Zealand discovered by Europeans – more specifically, Captain James Cook
  • The pohutukawa tree, or Christmas tree as it’s commonly known, can’t grow in soil and can withstand salt water. We spotted a lot of them growing out of the rocks on the sides of the islands. They’re called Christmas trees because during the months of December and January, red flowers bloom on the trees, colour the coastline in red
  • Orcas do visit the Bay (I was immensely upset I didn’t get to see any, while our Swedish roommates did…)
  • Cormorants, a type of bird also known more commonly as Shags, reproduce a lot and really fast. Hence the name, according to our guide during our kayak trip. We saw a bunch sitting on the rocks with their wings open, that’s how they dry their wings
  • I also finally, finally, finally (and embarrassingly) got it through my head that Amsterdam is in the Netherlands

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