In typical Auckland fashion, the glorious sunshine gave way to dark rainclouds, just in time for our annual weekend away. Our chosen destination this year was Matakana, just 45 minutes from Auckland. Despite the miserable weather on the weekend of 29-30 October 2022, we managed to make a great trip of it anyway! Jack Chipperfield shares what the team got up to below:
After a brief stop at the famous Matakana market, the trip kicked off with a snorkelling session at Te Kohuroa (Matheson Bay). Jandals and poise went out the window as we wiggled into our wetsuits, donned our snorkelling gear, and moonwalked down the beach. Such a mass migration of flippers hasn’t been seen since 2005’s March of the Penguins. Our efforts more than paid off, as the bay treated us to sightings of kina, sea hares, and even a shy little octopus. Suitably salty and all snorkelled out, we piled into our cars in search of a warm shower.
Our accommodation provided a welcome respite from the elements. After warming up and drying off, we enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner and dessert, courtesy of hosts at the Salty Dog.
Following this, the multi-talented Benjamin Walch pulled a guitar from nowhere to lead a bi-lingual singalong, before Subodh Dangwal stole the mic and put on a Bollywood karaoke performance. Not to be outdone, Debajeet Baruah hit the dancefloor with some hip movements that would put Shakira to shame.
The wet weather continued the next day as tired team members trickled into the Brick Bay winery, the site of Sunday’s activities. The prospect of a sculpture walk in the pouring rain seemed a bridge too far for some, but fun persevered on the day as Captain Jack (that’s me!) and his giant umbrella rallied the troops. Our brave adventurers made full use of Brick Bay’s communal umbrellas as we set off in the name of artistic enlightenment. The sculpture trail did not disappoint. Surrounded by vineyards and native kiwi bush, we discovered rocket-ships, bunny rabbits, dinosaurs, and a group of bridesmaids picnicking under a DIY umbrella fort. Enlightened, if not a tad damp, we returned from our walk to have lunch in the beautiful glasshouse restaurant. We were spoiled for choice as platter after platter appeared at our tables. Despite our valiant efforts to finish it all, we finally admitted defeat and stashed the remaining food into takeaway boxes. Tired, happy, and tired, we bid our farewells and journeyed back home.
Though our weekend away has come and gone, our awesome memories will certainly be remembered. Hopefully next year’s adventure will be just as exciting, if not slightly drier. A massive shoutout to Liam Bramley, who organised our trip and successfully herded 30 people to the right place at the right time – much appreciated by everyone who attended!