One last look at 2013.

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My first post of 2014 is about my last run of 2013.

Over the break my partner Alex and I visited Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Passage, Queensland. Initially we went there to take in the beauty beneath the water, of the Great Barrier Reef, but the views on land were just as inspiring. This view, from the top of One Tree Hill, is one of the most celebrated on the island however, after tackling the 82 meter elevation to get there my breath was already taken. But, thanks to the power of photography, I can enjoy it forever without having to go through that again. 🙂

Summer’s here.

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It’s quite early in the season to go for a swim in New Zealand, but on Sunday that’s just what we did. It was only nippy for the first few minutes and then the water took on a beautiful warmth. Very uncharacteristic for the Kiwi summer where we usually have to wait until after Christmas to enjoy water as warm. After a great afternoon in the ocean, we spent the evening eating fish, chicken and salad while the sun set. #perfectweekend

 

Urban Oasis

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The second open garden on my self-directed walking tour of the Auckland Garden Design Festival. The owner explained that this garden is still a work in progress but they’re thrilled with the direction it’s taking. Much time had been spent moving excess soil from the site while still retaining the mature trees and palms already in place.

The circular theme that runs through their home is brought to the garden by a curved wooden deck and a large circular planter. While the idea that an outdoor room can be an extension of the home is echoed by a large artwork of blue flowers by Desna Whaanga-Schollumprovides.

I can’t wait to see how the garden progresses when they hold the festival again next year.

Click the link if you’d like more information on this garden. http://www.gardendesignfest.co.nz/garden22.html

Nature can Nurture

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On my Saturday morning walk, I took the opportunity to view some open gardens as part of the Auckland Garden Design Festival. The beautiful spaces inspired a feeling of peace and calm that grew with each one I saw. It made me wonder if there was any research about the de-stressing effect of gardens and other possible health benefits. Turns out there is.

An article from scientificamerican.com states, “Just three to five minutes spent looking at views dominated by trees, flowers or water can begin to reduce anger, anxiety and pain and to induce relaxation, according to various studies of healthy people that measured physiological changes in blood pressure, muscle tension, or heart and brain electrical activity…. Throughout human history, trees and water have signalled an oasis, and flowering plants have been a sign of possible food. Open views deter surprises by predators, and shaded alcoves offer a safe retreat….. Indeed, the benefits of seeing and being in nature are so powerful that even pictures of landscapes can soothe. “

Sounds more like common sense to me but, I’m glad scientists agree that looking at living things helps us feel more alive.

Click the link if you’d like to see more pics and details on this lovely garden. http://www.gardendesignfest.co.nz/garden23.html

Spring, in the land of the long white cloud.

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Spring, in the land of the long white cloud.

There was a smidge of blue sky peeking from behind the clouds so, Alex and I headed to my favourite North Shore Beach, Castor Bay. Though we weren’t as brave as these kids who were in the water, boogie boards and all, we had a great time sitting on our towels, listening to the waves. Kids really don’t care when it comes to getting in the water do they? Rain, hail, shine or even slightly cloudy it seems. ☺

Under the Bridge

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Under Bridge Artwork

Walking around the waterfront the other day, I took a slightly different route and discovered this huge photo where the harbour bridge meets the shore. There’s no plaque explaining what the people are up to but it seems they’re building the bridge’s first platform. As soon as I saw it I started thinking about what I was walking on and appreciating the effort previous generations had gone to. I so rarely think about how hard those who’ve come before us have worked to give us the life we now enjoy. I also appreciate that someone thought to put the picture there to remind us. It’s so nice when you see that care has been taken when it’s not really necessary. The council could have left the base of the bridge exposed but instead have chosen to remind us of those who built the structure we’re now getting the benefit of. Just a couple of the many things to think about when you’re out for a walk in Auckland.

Sunday

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Sunday

6.5km Map My Run today. The gorgeous weather meant Wynyard Quarter was the busiest I’ve seen it in quite a while. There were even boats sailing happily on the harbour. Great day for it.