Monthly Archives: February 2015

Kiwi

Week 34 – Getting out of the city – places near Auckland

‘The world is my backyard.’

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Tongariro

Tongariro hike

This week we went off on adventures outside Auckland, as John’s brother lent us his Ute (4-wheel drive truck.)

Ute

Neil’s Ute we borrowed

Our first stop was National Park and hiking Tongariro – an active volcano. It’s a 19km (11.8 miles) hike with some difficult bits, but beautiful. Well worth the effort to see. (Some extra photos of the walk are at the bottom of the blog!)

After that, we deserved sometime in the thermal pools in Tokaamu – a very nice soak in our own private pool,

Tokaamu

Tokaamu hot pools

then, a lovely drive through the countryside to see Huka Falls

Haka Falls

Haka Falls

before arriving in Rotorua

Roturua

Roturua Museum

for 2 nights camping by Blue Lake. Rotorua is known for its hot sulfur baths and Maori culture evenings. The later I’d done on a previous trip and the former found us trying out the Art Deco ‘Blue Baths’, where we had the pools to ourselves.

Blue Baths

Blue Baths – Rotorua

We did some shorter hikes in this area around Blue Lake,

Blue Lake

Blue Lake

the Government Gardens

Government park

Government Park

and, the #1 attraction there, the Redwoods. They planted this forest in the mid-1800’s as an experiment, but found the trees grow too slowly, so these are the only ones you’ll find here.

Redwoods

Redwood Park – Rotorua

Then, our week ended, at a friend’s in Tauranga where we celebrated Julia’s 21st/30th/? Birthday and saw a stingray by the restaurant,

Stingray

Stingray

we swam in their beautiful pool,

Julia and Al's pool

John and Al swimming in the pool

loved their cats – Cocoa and Leila

Burmese Beauties

Burmese Beauties

and walked the Mount.

The Mount

Walking the Mount

Then, it was a drive back to Auckland with a quick stop at Karangahake Gorge

Karangahake Gorge

Karangahake Gorge

and Miranda hot pools.

Miranda Hot Pools

Miranda Hot Pools

Debx

More photos of our Tongariro crossing hike:

Advertisements
Tiritiri

Week 33 – Gorgeous City of Auckland and surrounding region

‘It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.’ – Aristotle

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

This week we caught up with our Kiwi family, as we split our time between John’s brother and niece’s homes.

Howick Village

Howick Village House

We started out with a place called: Howick Village – it’s an historic village of ‘how things’ were in New Zealand, mainly from the mid-1800’s onwards. That same day, we headed off to a memorial to Savage – a Prime Minister who, we believe, brought social reforms to New Zealand, but the park lacked any confirmation of this. (I’ve since looked into it and it is true, it is meant to be a memorial to this very philanthropic Prime Minister).

Savage Memorial

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Gardens

Also, the same day, we went up to the top of Mt Eden which has, what I believe, are the best views of the city.

Mt Eden

Mt Eden

The next day, we headed out to Hunua Falls – a beautiful location. Strangely, on the day we were there, they were surveying the pond below the falls, as the water is very murky and full of rocks that dead bodies get trapped under, when people jump from the top!

Hunua Falls

Hunua Falls

Then we were off to a New Zealand hobby farm, to see how it works and visit all the cute piglets.

Piglets

Piglets!

After that, it was off to black sands beach– beautiful!

Black Sands Beach

Black Sands Beach

Our last day with our niece, her partner and our nephew, we went for a walk up Rangitoto which is a dormant volcanic island near downtown Auckland.

Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island

Next day, we went to the bird island of Tiritiri, where they have managed to clear any species which are not indigenous. We stayed the night here, so we could see the night birds – Kiwi and hear the dawn chorus of birds.  I love the sound of bird song, anytime of day, do you have any that you like best?  Would love to know, so I can check them out on the internet.

Saddleback

Saddleback

Our week ended with dinner at a friends

Nigel and Sue's

Nigel and Sue’s

and seeing Pokeno Market. It’s been a jam-packed time!

Pokeno Market

Pokeno Market

Debx

Sunrise

Week 32 – Two Beautiful Harbour Cities – Sydney & Auckland

‘Reach for the sky.’

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

We are halfway through and safely ‘down under’ in Australia and New Zealand this week.

We started this week with our last few days in Sydney and, after a 12 hour sleep, no real jet lag! Awesome!

We went to Manly Beach,

Manly Bay

Manly Bay

Shelly Beach

Shelly Beach

Shelly Beach

and a walk around the North Heads,

North Heads Park

North Heads Park

affording us excellent views of the Sydney Harbour on the ferry ride to Manly.

Downtown Sydney

Downtown Sydney

Then, we had a short flight over to John’s home town of Auckland, New Zealand where we are staying at John’s brother.

On this trip, I asked to see more of this beautiful city and, so far, I’ve not been disappointed with this stellar and green city.

Auckland Downtown

Auckland Downtown

Our first day, we went to the viaduct area

Viaduct

Viaduct Auckland

in the downtown which houses many restaurants and is the launching point for most of the ferry’s to the out lying islands.  We were, also, lucky to be here on Waitangi Day – the New Zealand national holiday.

Waitangi Day Celebrations

Waitangi Day Celebrations

So, we saw some traditional music and ate Maori food – excellent!

Then, we headed over to the North Head Park and explored the tunnels

North Head Tunnels Park

North Head Tunnels Park – Auckland

and excellent views of the downtown area.

Auckland

Yvonne and Neil at North Heads Park in Auckland

That evening, we went to see ‘Empire’ at the Spiegeltent – good fun!

Empire

Empire at the Spiegel Tent – Viaduct Auckland

Next day, I really got a feel for the city on the newly developed  16km Coast to Coast walk – beautiful!

Coast to Coast

Coast to Coast – 16 km from harbour to harbour in Auckland

Our final day this week found us fishing, where I caught the biggest of 21 fish – great day out!

I’m a keen one for doing exercise, do you do any sport/exercise and what tricks do you have for keeping it up on holiday?

Fish

The big catch and my big fish!

Love

Debx

Santa Monica Pier

Week 31 – Crossing Continents – California to Australia

‘Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.’ – Corrie Ten Boom

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Air Mattress

Our air mattress for the last 5 months which has been our bed – will NOT be missed!

This was our last few days in the U.S.A. and our first few in Austral-Asia.  We lost one day this week, due to time changes, which has made this letter seem like it’s come too soon!

We started this week having a lovely meal, with my parents, at the Jackalope – the horned jackrabbit

Jackalope

Jackalope

or, in our case, a really lovely restaurant.

Jackalope Restaurant

The Family at the Jackalope Restaurant

Later, that same evening, I saw my only pink flamingos on this trip.  Normally, they are in Florida, but I had to see them in Palm Springs, California.

Pink Flamingos

Pink Flamingos

Just before we flew out, my Dad, John and I did a hike my Father has spoken of often – Ladder Canyon.  This really was a hike that requires all fours at times, but it was worth it for the experience of viewing this beautiful and, at times, very narrow canyon.

Ladder Canyon

Ladder Canyon

Just before our flight, we made it to Santa Monica Beach, L.A. – the end of the Route 66.  I tried Bubba Gump’s Restaurant for the first time

Bubba Gump

Bubba Gump

and toasted a glass of sparkling wine to North America and to Austral-Asia.

Air Lounge

Toasting to endings and new beginnings in Qantas Air Lounge

14 hours later, we reached Sydney, Australia – a very green and livable city.  After a friends suggestion, we decided to spend a day walking from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach.

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

Coogee Beach

Coogee Beach

It takes about 3 hours to walk there and back with spectacular views of the coast,

Rugged Coast Line

Rugged Coast Line

Waverly Cemetery

Waverley Cemetery

Waverley Cemetery

and coved beaches.  What is your favourite spot in Australia?

Bronte Beach

Bronte Beach

Time to rest before we head off to New Zealand.

Debx