Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Taupo fences

On our way down to the Wairarapa a couple of weeks ago, Chris and I broke the journey and stayed a night in Taupo.  It's about 430 kms south of here, in the centre of the North Island.   The following morning we took a stroll along the waterfront and visited the Saturday morning market before heading west to Napier.

At the time the British and Irish Lions rugby team was touring the country and in one place, the fence was being used to fly the flags of New Zealand and our British and Irish visitors.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A wet weather drive

Yesterday the rain bucketed down.  Not all day, just in intermittent downpours. The day started with a rainbow.  Change that to my day because it was well under way when, as I was making my bed, a rainbow caught my eye.  I guessed from the dark cloud behind it that a bit of rain might be on its way. 

Rather than sit inside all day and probably feel cold and miserable I decided to take a drive to see how much water was pouring down the side of the mountain and check out the roadside waterfall just up the road a bit.

Every crease in the hills was streaming.

 Between downpours it was drizzling, so all these photos were taken through the car window. 

Further from home, closer to Tangiteroria, the upper reaches of the Northern Wairoa River was just keeping within its banks and not by much. 

And here's my shot of the day.  Nothing at all to do with what I set out to see.  Isn't he beautiful?  Both of them are but I found the big fella closest to the road to be the most impressive.  He didn't move an inch when I stopped opposite him, just placidly gazed at me with what I fancifully thought to be a soulful expression. 

Friday, July 7, 2017


During the week I went to a funeral at a marae down on the Kaipara Harbour.  My friends final resting place looks down over the water.  It's a long time since I've lived in this area and on my way home I took a quick detour to see if I could find the place on the road which allows a good harbour view.  I should have paid more attention to exactly where I was but it wasn't far from the marae which is marked on this map.  Took me forever to figure out how to include the map, even following instructions.  I wanted to include it because the Kaipara is such a big harbour.  By area, it's one of the largest harbours in the world.

As you can see, the tide was out.

Rest in peace, Mihi.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Common and uncommon

Common sheep fence.

I don't often find a helicopter on the other side of the fence.

Linking to Gosia's Fences from around the world.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Random from the Wairarapa and King Country

Strangely, for me at least, I didn't take many photos while I was in the Wairarapa recently.  My camera stopped charging on the second day.  The battery is quite expensive so I didn't have a spare and even if I had owned one, I probably wouldn't have thought to have it with me.  I take crap photos with my phone so don't have many to share.  The first thing I did when I got home was order a new battery which is now in the camera and life is back to normal.

I wish I had taken more shots when we stopped for a closer look at a fresh farm milk supply cabin up a side road not far from Carterton.  The milk comes from a local farm, and is supplied to customers, untreated, through a vending machine.  It is dispensed into glass bottles for $3 a litre.  Customers can supply their own bottles if they wish.  

Suppliers say nothing is added, nothing is taken away. There are as many arguments for raw fresh milk as there are against it. 

Regulations for raw drinking milk were passed late last year and farmers who sell raw milk to consumers must be registered with the Ministry for Primary Industries.  

There doesn't always have to be a reason for a photo, does there?  Some just take themselves, especially on a phone.  And then sometimes I like the result.  It took me a while to remember this wall and chairs were in the visitors centre at Stonehenge Aotearoa.

This one took itself at Cobblestone Museum.

On the way back home we went cross country to Te Kuiti to see the recently unveiled statue of Sir Colin Meads

 A little admirer touching the shoelaces of the great man.  Sir Colin himself was impressed with the detail that the sculptor had got right as even his laces were done up as he used to lace them.  

Sir Colin is now 81 and very ill with pancreatic cancer.  You can't live in New Zealand and not know he is regarded by many as New Zealand’s greatest ever rugby player.  He has the reputation of being a good, honest, hardworking bloke.

His statue is truly impressive.  2.9 metres bronze, the man appears to be in full flight, the rugby ball dwarfed by his legendary huge hands. The likeness to the man is remarkable.

Another visitor agreed to stand in front of the statue, to give an idea of the scale.  We agreed that it was about 1.5 times real life size.

My one criticism is about where it is located.  It has pride of place, right on the middle of town but the railway building behind just doesn't look like the right backdrop.   

In a cafe on the other side of the road the female staff were sporting new tshirts celebrating the life of Sir Colin and the new statue.  They really like them and one of the girls took off her apron to appear in my photo.  Thanks, girls.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Wairarapa small towns

The advertising says, "Bring your appetite to Martinborough".  Unfortunately we arrived with ours mid-afternoon on a Sunday when the recommended eating place was closing so we settled for browsing a dress shop which had some interesting art on display, a kitchen wares shop, a wine shop and a cosy little bar.

Martinborough Hotel on the corner

Martinborough's other claim to fame is its vineyards and we sampled a lovely rich red.  I must return in summer sometime and visit some of those vineyards which are within walking distance of the quaint village square. Some of New Zealand’s best pinot noir comes from the town’s predominately family-owned vineyards.

Another of the small Wairarapa towns, Greytown has architectural charm and we enjoyed a stroll up and down the length of the main street with its excellent examples of Victorian colonial architecture.  It's New Zealand's most complete street of wooden Victorian buildings and is a favourite weekend getaway for Wellingtonians.  

I was most impressed by the huge Eucalyptus tree which stands outside one of the churches.  It was planted there in 1856 after being carted in a wheelbarrow from Wellington.  (Love a tree with a back story!)

Greytown really is a pretty town and is often described as the prettiest town in the North Island.  It's shopping heaven, with the street lined with  clothes, shoes and homeware shops, quirky antique stores, art shops and bric-a-brac.  Each shop reflects the personality of its owners, some being the odd side of quirky I thought.

We returned a couple of days after our first stop to visit the Schoc Chocolate factory and Cobblestone Museum.  I can close my eyes and imagine myself back there exploring my personality though chocology.   True, that's what the brochure says I was doing.  I'd be awfully ill if I explored in depth with all 85 flavours.  That's the chocolate shop on the right in the shadow of the tree below.  It stands on the edge of the museum grounds. 

Little chocolate factory on the right

The museum was excellent, far exceeding my expectations.  It's laid out as a small village with a schoolhouse, hospital, chapel, stables, blacksmiths etc. and a plethora of artifacts.  There's lots of variety - shearing shed, ploughs and farming and road making equipment, as well as a couple of houses moved there from their original locations.

 Old sheep shearing machine

Thursday, June 29, 2017


There's some rather clever marketing going on in the Wairarapa.  I don't know why I always call the area the Wairarapa.  I've seen it referred to as both with and without the 'the'.  The area is only about an hour's drive north of Wellington and each of the little towns makes itself a destination for something in an effort to attract the Wellingtonian's weekend dollar.  Carterton, where we stayed has its central location as an advantage and claims to be the arts hub of the Wairarapa, although we didn't discover any of the authors, illustrators and painters it is home to.  

We did, however, visit Paua World where paua shell is incorporated into the jewellery and homeware which is admired by many tourists.  Not my cup of tea but there was an interesting video about the life cycle of the paua and how they harvest and polish the shells.

Stonehenge Aotearoa, on the other hand, was fascinating.  Yes, New Zealand's very own Stonehenge!  On a rural hillside, overlooking the Tararua Ranges.   A full scale working adaptation of the original, built right here in Aotearoa (New Zealand) to help us understand the wonder of stone circles.

I'd never remember everything they told us so have cheated to gather this information.
Stonehenge Aotearoa is a giant astronomical clock constructed from circles of stone, as is its 4000-year-old ancestor in England. Both are 30 metres in diameter, and they  have the same task, but that is where their similarities end. Our Stonehenge is designed for its specific location’s latitude and longitude. Its role is to accurately track the seasons and help New Zealanders understand the beauty, complexity and scientific truths of our southern skies.

Though there are other astronomical clocks, this one is unique as it links with Maori astronomy and the navigational points of the Maori star-compass that Kupe and his fellow sailors used to navigate their way to and from New Zealand and around the Pacific.

Richard Hall is one of New Zealand’s foremost astronomers. It was his idea to build a Stonehenge here. But this vast structure is not a one-man creation. The Phoenix Astronomical Society, which has 250 members, provided voluntary labour over a period of two years to construct it. Robert Adam spent over a thousand hours completing the required surveying and astronomical calculations and the Royal Society of New Zealand helped in the funding.


Near Stonehenge Aotearoa is the most frequently photographed building in the Wairarapa, known as the Haunted House at Ahiaruhe.  It sits on top of a ridge and can be seen from miles around.  It was built in Palmerston North in 1925 and moved by a farmer to this location in four pieces in the mid 1980s. The farmer intended to renovate it and make it his family home but the couple separated soon after and he was left with four children to raise at a time when it was hard to make money on a farm.  There was no money to spend on the house so he so he has left it to Nature’s devices and it has continued to deteriorate. It didn't look what I imagined a haunted house would look like.

There are fences in all my shots of Stonehenge Aotearoa, so am linking to Gosia's Fences from around the World.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Driving to Wairarapa

It was a long drive for Chris this year for our mid-winter break.  If we had taken the shortest route it would have been 1,550 km each way but we went the long way in both directions.  Via Napier on the east coast on our way south and via Te Kuiti in the west on our return.  We stayed the first night in Taupo and our last night in Taumarunui, with four nights in between in Carterton.  We were happy with our decision to stay in Carterton as it is pretty central to all Wairarapa towns and we had a very comfortable unit in the Carterton Holiday Park.

Early morning at Carteron Holiday Park on the one morning when there was no frost

GB's old stomping ground of Napier.  

 A scene GB will recognize - and a great place for a late lunch


Between Taupo and Napier Chris followed a sign to a lookout which, to our initial disappointment, was shrouded in fog.  Luckily we could just see the Waipunga Falls and decided that the mist added rather than detracted from them.  

Fog once again descended upon us further south until we could barely see 100 metres in front of the car.  

It lifted in some places, just enough to give what I thought was a rather romantic hue to the scenery.
Tomorrow I'll sort through my photos for some around Wairarapa.  

Friday, June 23, 2017

A few from the Wairarapa

I managed to get a few fence shots during this past week while I was in the Wairarapa.

Here are just a few, mostly just ordinary farm fences. The first two are from the car window looking towards those mountains that I loved.

This wonderful creature would never be contained by any fence.  It wasn't all that late in the day but the fog was descending. 

 Fences down an alleyway in Carterton where we stayed.

 Linking to Gosia's Fences around the World.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Taranaki fences

I'm very much an occasional blogger these days.  I don't post while I'm away from home and I've been tripping around a bit lately.    Below are some fences near my daughter's home in Taranaki.  Just practical farm fences in farming countryside.

  Raindrops clinging to a farm fence

 The family returning from a late afternoon bike ride.
Arriving home

 Looking back the way they have come earlier in the day.

The view from Aiden's school

Since I joined Good Fences and embraced the fence I don't need to get cross every time a fence gets in the way of my shots.  Which is just as well as it sure happens a lot!  Now I just have to learn to love power poles!