Mum, dad and Lucy came to visit in August. They flew into Auckland for a few days and then hired a campervan and travelled around the North Island for about 10 days, before returning to Auckland for a few more days. It was the middle of winter so the weather wasn’t great but there were still some nice days while they were here.
One of the days they were in Auckland we went to Piha beach, a west coast beach close to where we live. Apparently there had been some seals on the beach before we arrived but we just missed them. While we were there the tide came in and we had to climb over some rocks to get back to the car (Lucy was happy about this).
We then went for a walk to Fairy Falls, which involved a stream crossing and a large number of steps, but was quite impressive.
Another day we walked to the top of Rangitoto Island, a volcano just of the coast near Auckland. We got a boat over to the island and then spent a few hours walking around.
It was great to have them here visiting.
So far we have been really impressed with the western beaches near Auckland, having visited Piha, Bethells and Karekare beaches already. Last weekend we visited the southernmost of the western beaches, Whatipu, for the first time.
The beach was stunning and was quite quiet compared to the others, probably because it was a bit harder to get to. It took around 35-40 minutes to drive there and the last 6-7 km were on unsealed roads. We stopped at Huia Lookout Point on the way, which gave a great view of Manukau Harbour.
We went for a nice walk along the part of the beach – it goes on for many km’s – and will definitely be returning to do some walking/running on some of the trails in the area.
I had initially planned to write a short blogpost on medical life in New Zealand a couple of months ago but never really got round to it. Since arriving in Auckland almost 6months ago (yes, really that long ago already!) I have rotated through 3 different jobs in 3 separate hospitals.
My first 3 months were spent in Auckland City Hospital working as an orthopaedic house officer. I found the first couple of days pretty stressful and initially found myself wondering what the hell I had done moving here! Fortunately it didn’t take too long to get used to the system and I found myself settling in quite quickly. It was nice to have Rosemary and Katrina (two other Brits) around as they started at the same time as me and we all had pretty similar fears / doubts / thoughts in the first few weeks and so it was nice to be able to share that with them. In the end I was quite sad to leave orthopaedics, mainly because of the great people that I worked with. However, if I am entirely honest, I did find the job somewhat boring (paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork) and it made me realise that it was probably time for me to step up and apply for a registrar post. After much debate I eventually put in my application to work as an A&E registrar, and shortly after was offered a job working in Middlemore Hospital.
Before moving to Middlemore as an A&E registrar I had to spend 4 weeks working as a house officer in Geriatric Rehabilitation in North Shore Hospital. The commute was a royal pain in the ass and although the ward team were lovely, this job made me realise that I don’t have the patience for 5 hour ward rounds / ward work!
I have now been working as an Emergency Medicine registrar for about 1 month and am absolutely loving it. I feel that I have so much to learn and it can be quite daunting at times; however, every day brings something new and this is probably the only specialty I can say that I get genuine enjoyment from. Let’s see how the next few months go!
We took advantage of a public holiday (the Queen’s birthday) to head over to Rangitoto Island, a 25 minute ferry journey from Auckland. Rangitoto is a volcanic island that last erupted around 600 years ago. We took our running kit and, following a route we found online, ran up to the summit, did a loop around to some lava caves and back up to the summit again. The views from the top were amazing, with great views of Auckland and the surrounding area. Not bad for winter.
We then ran down to the eastern side of the island, close to Motutapu Island. At this point we had to decide whether to retrace our steps and follow the road back to the ferry or to carry on as planned and follow the longer “coastal track”. The sign said the coastal track would take 2 hours 15 minutes and we had 55 minutes till the ferry was due – we’d been going about 3-4 times quicker than the signs so thought we would easily make it. Initially everything was good but the track turned out to be much rougher than the others on the island, consisting of large, loose volcanic rock. It was very difficult to run over and we started to wonder if we would make it back to the ferry in time. Fortunately the path eventually improved and, with a fast last couple of km’s (and a slightly delayed ferry), we just made it back in time!
It was a little weird spending my birthday so far away from loved ones but my family and friends, both old and new, made sure that my first Kiwi birthday was one to remember.
Unfortunately as I had to work there was still no change to the 5am alarm clock! After waking up I opened my card from Chris to find out that he had booked us a weekend away in the Bay of Islands and a boat trip to see some wild dolphins – literally a childhood dream come true! I then had a very brief Skype call with mum and Mike … cue the first tears of the day. The second tears of the day came when I found out that they had organised a cake to be delivered to me…. just as good as I’m still waiting on the cake that Chris promised to make and I’m writing this almost 2 weeks later! The cake was delivered to my work as the delivery man wasn’t keen on leaving the cake on the doorstep with all the ants – now that’s service for you! The nurses on the ward all sang happy birthday and we tucked in to the rather delicious cake pictured below.
After work I headed down to the SkyTower with Chris and two friends from work, Katrina and Rosemary. We ate dinner in a revolving restaurant at the top of the sky tower with an amazing view over the city (when the clouds cleared enough to see!). I thoroughly enjoyed myself but you’ll have to ask Chris what he thought of the vertigo-inducing meal!
After dinner we headed to Giapos for what must be the most amazing ice cream in the city! The picture below doesn’t really do them any justice.
A big thank you to all my family and friends for their birthday wishes….although I was feeling pretty home sick it turned out to be quite a good day!