Last year we found a tiny sanctuary, and today we have returned. I am sitting on a white wooden deck chair, a pillow behind my back. My legs are wrapped in a blanket. Beside me is ginger tea in a china teapot, macarons made by our host, dark chocolate, and black grapes – real ones – sharp, complex, gelatinous – not those supermarket orbs which taste of nothing but vacant sweetness. The gentle heat of autumn sun. Salty air. My book has been abandoned and lies upside down on the arm of the chair – and I am feasting greedily on the view. We are high on a hill overlooking the endless, wild, Muriwai coastline – ensconced in the thoughtful, quiet luxury of our suite at 216. I want to stay forever.
A celebration brought us here, and brings us back one year later – our wedding anniversary. I’m actually a bit mad at myself for not Scheduling This Awesome sooner, because these weekends – agenda-free, chore-free, just-us pockets of unashamed spoiling should not be saved up for just once a year. We loved this place. And we left, after just two nights, feeling whole, expansive, united. Why didn’t we come back sooner? I can’t remember any reason that seems remotely sensible.
We talk – rather than just swap to-dos and calendar dates and work stories. We sit still for long stretches of time – only getting up to make more tea, find some other delightful thing to eat. Sometimes we read to a soundtrack of birds and cicadas and shivering flax. Sometimes we just stare – chins lifted – soaking in the spectacle of the changing coast. The restless clouds, the tiny black ant-people in the distance, the salt spray that lifts and descends – obscuring and revealing the horizon. I notice things – the weight and texture of the blanket on my knees, how the wool radiates heat right through to my skin as the sun hits us, the waxeyes feeding on the flax flowers, the feeling of profound nourishment that can sweep through you from just a few deep lungfuls of clean air.
When we venture out, we take long slow walks on Muriwai’s black sands – watching dogs, grinning, rush in and out of the shallows, and kite surfers fly past us on the gloss between breakers. We wade into knee-high piles of sea foam washed up at Maori Bay, and watch the frothy beads, caught by the wind, skitter along the shoreline. We eat, twice, at Provenance – lazily, papers spread over the table. People watching over the rim of my cup.
This weekend we also work. It’s unavoidable this time – but somehow, here, the tasks assume an ease. Keep their perspective. We tick things off without dithering and second guessing, then head back to the deck, those chairs, that pot of tea. Place our feet, one in front of the other, across the coolness of the wet sand. Let the powerful Tasman Sea suck against our ankles.
We find an unexpected rhythm of renewal and productivity.
Of connection and then of focus.
216 Luxury Accommodation
Muriwai Beach, Auckland, New Zealand
Provenance Eatery & Store
Waimauku, Auckland, New Zealand