On Sunday the morning was great. Clear sky’s, warm temperatures.
I’d been watching the ferries head out of Auckland and decided I need a boat ride. I got online and researched the options. There were several islands to chose from and I settled in Waiheke. I bought a sandwich, a ticket and was on my way. It was about a 20 minute ride to a lovely island.
There were lots of passengers and as we got off they got into a variety of buses and vans for various activities (wine tasting, boat riding, touring). I’d found a map showing hikes along the edge of the island. I had several to chose from and randomly selected one that went right. It climbed slowly around the bay. I stopped for lunch and to enjoy the view. It was incredible. The ocean was calm, the shore line gorgeous and there was no one there.
I continued on along the beach. At one point I saw a woman ahead walking toward me with her dog. As she got to me I looked up to greet her with a hello. As I glanced up I was looking at a face I recognized and from her expression I knew she recognized me. We both said oh my god and hugged. It was Bridgette, a woman I met last October on the camino. Unbelievable.
I remember her telling me she lived on a small island in NZ but I had no idea where. She had given me her email and told me to contact her when I came to NZ but I hadn’t (something she pointed out to me). What are the odds, the one person I knew in NZ and I ran into her on a randomly selected path that I chose. If you read my Camino blog you might remember this woman I posted a picture of her sitting on a swing with her pack on.
We chatted for a while and exchanged phone numbers. She said she would be in Auckland on business the next day. She would delay her work and she’d show me some great hike if I wanted. Of course I said yes.
I continued my hike. The landscape was amazing. Small farms, vineyards, gorgeous houses and still no people.
I made my away along the trail. Eventually it hooked up to a road that went along several wineries. I chose one for a glass of wine. This place was spectacular, rivaling anything I’ve seen in Napa. I sat on the patio with a view of the ocean in the distance.
I returned to the ferry dock and returned to Auckland.
Even without the crazy meeting of Bridgette the trip to Waiheke was excellent. Any trip to Auckland should include at least one day on this really cool island.