Back in February I set off with a cousin on a road trip from Taranaki up to the Waikato, across to the Bay of Plenty, over to Gisborne down to Napier and then home. We had an amazing time. Our first goal was to visit Hobbiton which is the Film set from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. What an amazing place it was totally worth the entry price and exceeded my expectations. This set was rebuild for the Hobbit movies and this time the Farm owners requested that the Set be built of permanent materials in order for it to become a tourist destination. He worked with Sir Peter Jackson and his studio and it has been a triumph, also an economic success story for the Farm, Matamata and the surrounding area. It employs a large number of locals and draws tourists from around the world. Every detail is carefully crafted the clothes line for example came up to my knees and the clothes were all in proportion.It was a grey drizzly day but as you can see we still got good photos.
From Hobbiton we drove to Tauranga and the following morning we headed over to visit family in Gisborne on the east coast of the North Island. This small city prides itself on being the first city to see the sun. Captain James Cook sailed into the bay in 1769 and as Cook was unable to gain many of the provisions he and his crew needed at the bay he gave it the name Poverty Bay. Now Poverty Bay is one of the more fertile areas of New Zealand and famous for its Chardonnay, fruit, vegetables and avocados, and abundant sunshine although we actually brought the rain from Taranaki with us. We had one fine day travelling over and then it rained. They needed it as it had been very dry but we wanted sun 😦 so not many photos.
After a great time with Family and touring wineries we headed of in the rain to Napier to meet up with my Sisters and Brother in Law for the Napier Art Deco festival. More on that in the next post.
Today I want to wish all my followers Seasons greetings for this festive time. I know that we all have different ways of celebrating and also different faiths but this is the time of the year for me to celebrate Christmas. Being a December baby I have always loved Christmas time, the carols, decorating the house and bringing in the Christmas tree or even putting up the fake one; the family traditions and then joy on peoples faces as they gather with their families and friends.
This year is a little different its been harder somehow to get into the spirit of the season. My decorations are more low key as I have no family visiting this year, I am going to my sister’s for Christmas Lunch then back to my Brother’s for the evening meal.
There have also been so many momentous happenings here in New Zealand with another major earthquake shaking us badly and creating chaos and recently our Prime Minister suddenly resigning,. Internationally Donald Trump in America winning the Presidential race, Brexit in Britain and so many injustices around the world in war zones and terrorism in cities like Paris and just last night Berlin. just to name a few.Each year we ask for Peace but it never happens.
I guess that the best we can do in our small corner of the world is to share love and happiness with those close to us and in our community too. As a country far away from the unrest of the world we are known to be generous and supportive of those in need all over the world as well as in our own backyard. We must all lead by example and show the way so I wish you all
Joy, Peace and Happiness this Christmas and for the coming Year.
Oops I have been a while getting back to my holiday story but that’s life. 🙂 Our Trip to Milford sound had been planned with great anticipation, and high hopes for a lovely fine day. In reality we must have struck one of the wettest days of May. I have never seen rain like it but with this rain came the most magnificent water falls. All along the valley on the way to Milford Sound The hills were literally covered by a wall of water and the rivers were raging.. Nature at its best.
When we got to Milford we were booked on a cruise of the sounds and this was amazing, as there were just so many waterfalls. Even though it was very wet and windy I was determined to get out in the weather and take photos. This was part of my Bucket list so well rugged up away I went. Hanging on to rails , taking photos with one hand at times and getting the spray on my face and the camera. Please forgive the photos as they are not the best but capture the moment.
It was an exhilarating trip on the boat for me and my son who also took some really good photos with a much better camera. Unfortunately my daughter in law was not feeling too good and she stayed below inside in the warm. It was an amazing day and we were all tired by the time we drove home to Te Anau as it is a two hour drive each way so it was a long day.
Lake Te Anau , the gateway to Fiordland national park was to be our destination for 6 days as we explored the area. We had a lovely day driving from Kaka Point To Te Anau stopping at small towns along the way for coffees and photo opportunities. This was Gore a very nice rural town with a great entrance. Salmon country.
Lake Te Anau is a the largest and deepest lake in Fiordland the town is small and caters to holiday makers and tourists. It is the stepping off point for Milford Sound and for several walking and biking tracks. In summer there would be lots of boats I suspect but the town was bunkering down for winter as some of the restaurants were closed. But we found two excellent ones on recommendations from friends.It was very wet and rained most of the time and one photo shows the lake was so high it had submerged a pier. On a finer day I went for a walk and found these gorgeous toadstools and the colours of autumn.
My family and I enjoyed our stay though as we had fun playing Rummycub, Yahtze and doing jigsaws in between our travels.Next installment with be our adventures on Milford Sound. Bye
May 2016 saw me off to the South Island for a late Autumn holiday with my family (Son and Daughter in law) They live in Christchurch and I try to see them at least twice a year now that I am retired. Back in January we had planned a holiday down to the very southern parts of the island We were all excited as none of us had ventured past Dunedin or Queenstown. We set off on a fine Saturday for an area called ” The Catlins” it is on the east coast south of Dunedin and Balclutha. Well known for penguins and wild scenic parks and lots of photo opportunities. My son is an avid photographer and as you know I like taking photos too. We stayed in a nice bach right on the beach at Kaka Point for tor two nights, how lovely to go to sleep with the sounds of the sea washing against the shore.
Sunday was Mothers day and it was so lovely to have it with my family as we could not remember when we were last all together on Mothers day many many years ago anyway. Waking up to the sound of the ocean, being spoilt with a yummy breakfast and a card and gift of a snuggly merino wool wrap for those colder days and nights was wonderful. Then off we set to visit lots of the special places we had been reading about. Wild and windswept in parts and forest and waterfalls in others. There had not been much rain so the water falls were low but still beautiful and we found an amazing mirror lake tucked away down a short walk. No penguins or seals as it did not seem to be the right time but the bird song in the bush was delightful. I was also treated to a lovely lunch. We travelled all around the area, saw great views, trees sculptured out of shape by the fierce southern winds and even a quirky Tea pot Garden.
After a great day out we headed back to Kaka Point for rest and relaxation before setting off the next day for our second destination. Lake Te Anau.
A couple of weeks ago I set off on a road trip to catch up with several friends. I travelled down to Masterton for 6 days then up the island to Cambridge. Because I like driving off the main highways and exploring my friends told me about highway 54 from Ashurst (Palmerston North) bypassing Fielding and then connecting with State Highway 1 at Vinegar Hill. They also told me to watch out for this viewing lookout. So I stopped and got some photos. It was amazing as it shows thousands of years of river beds and how the land was formed. Once I was on Highway 1 I headed north to Taihape and then on up the desert road. it was at least 14 years since I had been on that road so really enjoyed myself.
Stayed with friends in Cambridge and then Morrinsville, huge changes in the roads up there, lots of new express ways and towns being bypassed. It is so nice to catch up with old friends , chat about old times and relax over a wine and a meal, lots of coffee as well. I even fitted in a little art as well and a visit to Raglan.
Then it was time to head home and back to my world of gardens that needed work and a week filled with meetings. A lovely friend had mowed my lawns so that was a neat surprise.
A road trip is such fun, find new roads and by ways, sharing experiences with friends and refreshing your own spirits. Do my readers enjoy doing this, I wonder? Do they have the opportunity to drive off into the country , visit old friends and explore their world. We are so lucky in this country that we can be mobile easily. I am blessed to have wonderful friends and a car that takes me safely around the country and the health and time to do it now that I am retired.
Christmas day is over once again and most of us are either breathing a sign of relief, enjoying our families being home for the holidays or taking part in the madness of the Boxing day sales. It is a beautiful summers day here in Hawera and my neighbours are out mowing lawns probably prior to going away on holiday. I hosted Christmas Lunch for my siblings this year and it was great to have them and their families gather around my table celebrating Christmas and catching up with each other.
I hope that for most of you today is a day of relaxation I can not think of anything worse than to go out shopping for “bargains” in crowded shopping malls or town centres. That is not what Christmas is about. I am not overly religious but over the past few years have come to the realisation that we can live life much more simply and in a less stressful way if we do not buy into all the hype.
When I was a child our family did not have a lot of money so we used to make our presents for each other and it was so good for us to be creative and also know that the gift you received had been made especially for you. I remember one year using my pocket money to buy little calendars which I then attached to pictures I had made and stuck on cardboard. I received a couple of those types of gifts this year and it was lovely.
Of course I still enjoy getting all of my presents regardless as I know my family and friends pick special things for me. I am a Christmas Child at heart and always have the decorations up and send out Christmas Cards.This year I made about 40 Christmas cards and enjoyed the act of crafting them and adding embellishments and then choosing who to give each card to.
In a few days it will be another New Year and my hope is for a more peaceful year for the world, for good health, happiness and prosperity for my family and friends and all of you who read my blogs. May 2016 show that the Human Race can get their Act together and work one small step at a time to make our world a better place.