A magical weekend

The lovely thing about Auckland is you can drive in pretty much any direction for an hour or so, and you're in an amazing, totally un-city like place, almost certainly on the water (if not in the water. Lots and lots of water around Auckland). We did this last weekend, heading north to celebrate my friend's birthday. I headed out after work on the Friday, arriving to a small group of - ahem - convivial people and delicious, freshly-made burgers. That's the other nice thing about all these amazing places so close to home – there's no need to take time off work, but odds are someone has and they will make you dinner.

My friend, boyfriend of the birthday girl and head chef, was nervous. He had neglected to tell everyone that instead of a typical holiday home, they had booked a giant two-sided shelter and a large field. He needn't have worried though. The place was amazing. Absolutely astoundingly amazing.

Our weekend hideaway.

Our weekend hideaway.

It's still warm here, and there's something indescribably wonderful and fantastical about sleeping under giant mosquito nets under a giant roof with some of your favourite people just metres away from you, after spending a night eating, drinking, laughing, playing table tennis and generally celebrating life and all that it has to offer when you're still (erm, relatively) young and free. All the better if it's in a place that has a tiki bar (yes!) just a short distance away from your bed. All the better if you know more people are arriving the next day, and you get to do it all again the next night, after spending a day lolling in the summer sun.

Preparing for the day at Matakana markets.

Preparing for the day at Matakana markets.

More preparation...for the killer eels especially.

More preparation...for the killer eels especially.

Two total sparklers (holding some fireworks).

Two total sparklers (holding some fireworks).

Seriously, it's enough to make me want to buy a giant section of land and get a-building...