In the late 80s I would consider New Zealand as one of the most isolated countries in the world. But not anymore.
This is a personal journey back to Auckland, the city I lived and worked in for three and a half years when I was in my 20s. I felt a tinge of sadness as I was driven around Auckland…
The neighborhood with vast empty land and a few small houses were all cleared. Now they are filled with strip malls, shopping centers and houses. Affordable homes sold in the high 100s are selling like ‘hot cakes’ for high 500s and going higher each day. News of people flipping houses for profit sounded so pre-2008 America.
Stores that closed by 6 pm and remained shut on Sundays now stayed open through the night and are packed with shoppers on Sundays. The land known as Aotearoa, “land of the long white cloud” by the first Maori voyagers, felt like a carbon copy of my old neighborhood of New Tampa, Florida.
My friend Hope, an Aucklander assured me that “change is good!” “Now we have a variety of stores, and goods are cheaper than 20 years ago!” Compared to the late 80s when I was living in Auckland, and the mid-90s when I last visited, today's Auckland has become a multi-cultural center in the Southern Hemisphere. The tiny population of about 800,000 in the late 80s has increased to around 1.5 million in 2015. So, Hope is right to say that change is needed to accommodate the increase in population.
Although major changes are seen throughout Auckland, I was glad there were many constants, like the beauty of the Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto, Auckland Harbour Bridge, extinct volcanoes and historic buildings at the waterfront .
The City of Sails has a special place in my heart. The person I am today is because of the people I met and the elderly mentors I had in Auckland. Most of the elderly mentors have passed away. My contemporaries and friends in Auckland are still some of my closest friends today. They housed and showed my family and I the Auckland they love and the ‘hometown’ I cherished.
So come along with me and take a glimpse at the places, foods, and things I like about Auckland-
Auckland! I'll be back...
Is Auckland on your travel bucket list? These photos are just a fraction of what my family and I did while in Auckland visiting friends and family. If you are planning a trip to New Zealand, check out Intrepid Travel's options for tours in New Zealand.