3 min read

11 . 15

11 . 15

We wake early during the week, so a 6am start this morning feels like a sleep in. It’s still raining – the sunshine forecasted seems implausible today. But we are booked on the 7:30am car ferry so I get up and make ‘train breakfasts *’ for the journey.

We have raincoats and walking shoes. We have a list of things to buy at the bulk food store – some for us, and some for donating to our local budgeting service. We have podcasts and ebooks for the ferry. The dishes are on, and we leave Milo asleep on the bed.

Let’s go.


The rain on the roof of the car and the steady drone of the barge make me drowsy. I stay awake by compiling lists of books I want to read.

We stop for coffee and a chat with Nics parents and I cut a couple of pieces of antler fern from a tree in their backyard. We get all our shopping done, then head north past fields of cow parsley, taller than the sheep that graze in it, and paddocks filled with spring calves.

An Indian woman with kohl-darkened eyes and a charming sense of humour does our wine tasting at Runner Duck Estate winery. We later discover her and her husband own this place – they named it after the runner ducks in India and the fact that the bulk of their vines are on Duck Creek road nearby.

This warm afternoon is perfect for wandering so we drive down forgotten roads to beaches we haven’t been on for years.

There’s kayakers on the hungry river near Puhoi and slow traffic on the motorway. But we are in no rush today. Even with the slow traffic we are back in Auckland well before our ferry departs – so much before that we manage to gain passage on an earlier one. I love the non-drama of switching ferries if an earlier one has space for us.

Bathed in a sunshine I didn’t expect to see today, we look past the frothy wake at the city, quietly disappearing from view.


* When we lived in the UK and were off on an early morning weekend adventure by train, I would stuff croissants with bacon, brie, avocado & lettuce for breakfast on the train. We have introduced other friends to this ritual and continue it now for ferry, car & plane adventures in NZ.