You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

The Year Of My Life: Travelling Aotearoa New Zealand. Today: Auckland!

Travel With Locals, Worldwide, City Travel, New Zealand, Oceania, Travel Blog 0

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The year of my life it is, then. It does feel like it though, looking back. What I have learned, experienced, worked, enjoyed and loved in all these months is really quite astounding. AOTEAROA, the “Land Of The Long White Cloud” as the first people like to call it, is a true force of nature. Tremendously beautiful & seductive all along: North & South Islands stretch out over 3.000 kilometres from north to south, producing an explosion of colours and habitats that are unique in the whole world. As a part of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana, New Zealand bid farewell to Australia millions of years ago slowly sinking into the sea – until the forces of the plate tectonics gave rise to what you can see today as islands: Countless fault lines, many of them dangerously active, run across the land above and below sea level. They add a unique charm to this country. This charm is what I would like to share with you in this series of travel articles from Aotearoa, New Zealand.

I first arrived in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, right in the middle of summer. Head over heels. Full of high hopes. And with an appetite for adventure. “We are a very small company and cannot offer to pay you, but if you still want to come and help support Creative Tourism New Zealand, you are more than welcome to stay with us for a while.” This was the reply of my lovely Kiwi family Denise & Crispin Raymond following my application after finishing my studies in World Heritage & Culture Tourism management. I really just googled “creative tourism” and found “Creative Tourism New Zealand“. Half a year later, I was there. 19.000 kilometres away from my home Austria. Rock’n’roll!

(Fühlt man sich) Einsam und voller Ungewissheit beim Start einer solch großen und langen Reise? Eigentlich nicht: Das Grundvertrauen in die guten Dinge des Lebens sowie in die Menschen selbst wird in Neuseeland nur allzu gerne erwidert.

(Would you feel) lonely and uncomfortable at the start of such a long and glorious adventure? Actually, I didn’t: The level of trust received and exchanged with the people all across New Zealand makes you feel “at home” immediately.

Schon bald nach meiner Ankunft im Hochsommer der Südhalbkugel sorgten solche Aufnahmen für wahr gewordene Träume.

Soon after my arrival to the summer of the Southern hemisphere, pictures like these made me feel like a dream come true. In the foreground, you can spot New Zealand’s “Christmas tree”, the Pohutukawa tree that likes to flower around Christmas.

Neue Wege beschreiten, bedeutet immer auch, ein Stück weit über seinen eigenen Schatten zu springen. Eigentlich habe ich ja doch ein bisschen Höhenangst, im Sky Tower von Auckland traut sich jedoch jeder aufs (sichere) Glas. Ist Euch schon mulmig?

Walking new ways always means leaving your own comfort zone, at least a little. Actually, wasn’t I always (a little) afraid of heights? But the view from Auckland Sky Tower is spectacular, and after all “everybody does it” (stepping on the glass). Afraid of heights, anyone?


Auckland is … “not New Zealand!”, is what I kept hearing over and over. To me, however, everything during these first few days in Aotearoa New Zealand felt exciting, new & very KIWI!

The Maori people stick out their tongues as part of a cultural performance at Auckland Museum, and enjoy having their photo taken. Somewhat shy, you can see me grinning at the camera with them. As a wine lover, I also discovered cute little Waiheke island in the Hauraki gulf near the city of Auckland. Parts of it have been freed of cars (and roads), all that is left are gorgeous walking trails and long, endless empty beaches. Beautiful. How was I to know way back then that this was only the beginning of my hiking & trekking adventures in the “Land Of The Long White Cloud”?

Auckland also impressed me with the fact that the entire city is built on volcanoes, many of which are still active. Seriously! The Kiwis, however, seem to be quite cool about it, continuing to stroll on Queens Road and down to the harbour, watching crazy tourists bungee jump off Auckland Sky Tower 😉 and enjoying the sun-kissed fruit that gave them their name (or vice versa).

Köstlich, solche Kiwis direkt vor der Nase.

Delicious: Hand-picked organic kiwi fruit right in front of me.

Das Auckland Museum lohnt den Spaziergang: Hier erfahren Erstbesucher wie ich alles Wissenswerte rund um Kultur, Geschichte und Natur des Landes.

Auckland Museum is worth the visit, informing first-time visitors about the many aspects of this magnificent and fascinating country.

Hier wohne ich dieser spektakulären Kulturdarbietung bei - und lächle grinsend und etwas tapfer in die Kamera.

Here, I also become part of this cultural show – smiling bravely into the camera among Maori warriors.

Da habt Ihr den Salat - bzw. Beweis: Auckland ist zu großem Teil auf Vulkanen errichtet, dieser hier steht mitten in einem Park etwas außerhalb des Stadtzentrums! Hinaufsteigen lohnt sich - schon alleine wegen der Aussicht.

There you go, proof for a fact: Auckland is indeed built on many volcanoes such as this one. The ascent is worth it, especially given the view all over town – and into the crater.

Der Auckland Sky Tower animiert viele zum Besteigen - und auch Herabspringen. Was ahnte ich da, dass ich gut ein Jahr später selbst "von der Brücke springen würde" … Wahnsinn!

Auckland Sky Tower beckons many to climb AND jump it. How was I to know that a good year later, I would also jump off a bridge here in New Zealand …!


My first few days in New Zealand went by in peace, sunshine and high hopes for the future. I bought a cell phone including a local SIM card in order to stay connected, as well as a good outdoor rain jacket from Mountain Design that I still wear today. Went into the travel centre and booked my bus for Tauranga, Taupo & Wellington in order to cross over to the South Island. Denise & Crispin Raymond were to come and get me in Motueka near the Abel Tasman National Park as previously arranged. Exciting !!

Next time, I will tell you more about these unique trips in the land of the Kiwis. Please excuse a likely hint of excitement that you will notice in all of my “Tiki Touring New Zealand” posts: Today still, thoughts & images about this country cause me to smile and be happy. New Zealand … A dream come true!

Willkommen in Neuseeland: Ankunft am Flughafen von Auckland nach über 24 Stunden Flugreise aus Europa.

Welcome to New Zealand: Arriving in Auckland after more than 24 hours travelling from Europe.

Was mag diesem Baum passiert sein? Natur inmitten der Großstadt gibt schöne Rätsel auf.

What may have happened to this tree? Even nature within the big city is uniquely intriguing.

Wer gerät bei diesem Anblick nicht ins Schwärmen … Zu gerne möchte ich gerade die Zeit (und mich an diesen Ort) zurückdrehen …!

Don’t you want to dream away over seeing photos like these? I certainly do, with a strong wish to time travel back to this very moment. Now!

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
Work starts with Pleasure: English & French translations of the World Heritage Brühl Palaces
The Year Of My Life: Travelling Aotearoa New Zealand. Today: Crossing the North Island


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