19 January 2015

The most beautiful island

Over the summer break we were lucky enough to go to a stunning island. It is one of my favourite places in the world, because it is so wildly beautiful and there are no roads or cars. If you want to go somewhere, it's walk, paddle, or stay put.

Although it was peak holiday season, there were very few other people there, and they were great company. It made it such an easy place to be.

The only entertainment devices we took with us were books and a kayak. No screens, and yet the children were happy and content, as in love with the place as us, clambering over rocks, swinging on the rope swings and skimming stones. They could hardly believe that this wonderful place was their backyard for a few days, and they could roam free. (They were on the ipad within minutes of returning home.)

One of the best parts was cooking great food over a fire, all the while listening to the song of native birds (this is a predator-free island). My favourite was the parroty screech of kaka. I also loved my encounters with an old friend of mine, the North Island robin. Another one appeared every twenty or thirty metres when we went walking.

We also roved to New Plymouth - a lovely town of beaches, bush and rivers - and Auckland, where we went up the Sky Tower and to the Auckland Art Gallery. At the art gallery was a collection of intricate, inspiring lego buildings, which anyone and everyone could add to and modify. And add to and modify they did - it was a happy, absorbing hive of activity. (Alert to creative and frugal families: I think it's free to get into this part, but it might pay to phone ahead and check.)

The art gallery was full of things that people had created to be beautiful and interesting. It struck me that no matter how hard we try, we cannot compete with what nature provides, slowly and blindly.

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