On my last day in Auckland we drove out to Mission Bay. (We = me + sister + her husband & 2 girls + brother-in-law + his elder son. Younger son was four days old - and extremely cute - and at home with mum.)
Mission Bay is an idyllic little slice of beachiness, with a dominant view of the peak of Rangitoto Island, one of the distinctive sights of Auckland. It has become, typically, one of the most expensive places in Auckland to live, but luckily it seems that this hasn't stopped anyone coming out to the beach from other areas. Pohutukawa trees line the beach, and they're just starting to bloom with the beautiful red flowers that have earned them the name 'New Zealand's Christmas tree'.
Some paddling, a picnic lunch, some shell-collecting, some ice creams later, and we headed off. It was a lovely morning-and-early-afternoon, but it really only awakened my appetite for the northern beaches of New Zealand. A little hint of the more tropical side of my country, which I haven't really experienced before.
And then it was back to Christchurch!