I've been promising myself for ages that I'd stop and get a photo of this old woolshed beside State Highway 16 which I travel when going to and from Auckland. I invariably enjoy my drive along this road and have rarely, if ever, enjoyed the drive via State Highway 1. It always seems to me that other motorists on the main highway are in a bad mood, rushing, not giving a fig if their surroundings are beautiful or not. I prefer the road less travelled, a twisting, winding scenic road with big views of rolling hills, glimpses of a harbour and endless sky. For a few years there were far too many logging trucks using the road but that hasn't been so bad lately.
In recent years the transport authorities have urged Aucklandersto consider SH16 as an alternative route north at holiday time. Take the scenic route they say but all too often the motorists don't hear the warning about the dangers of a rural highway. Consequently my road of choice is best avoided in summer at long weekends. The one time I found myself heading towards the most unusual heavy traffic heading north on this road I was a wreck by the time I reached my destination, and I felt lucky not to have been in a head on car wreck. It seemed to me that on every other corner there would be a vehicle coming at me on the wrong side of the road, travelling far too fast for the sharpness of the corner, having totally ignored the road speed sign. I know it is easy to scoff when advised to take a corner at 25 or 35 kph (about 15-20 mph) but it's best to do so if you don't know how sharp that corner is.
I don't know why I went off on that rant. Probably I'm already anticipating travelling to Auckland on Christmas Day. I shouldn't be. I won't be driving, I'll be going with my son and his family. I daresay Auckland will have emptied of all those who are heading away for Christmas by then.
Anyway, last time I travelled SH16, I did stop and take that photo.
I suppose if I lived in Taranaki I might not be quite so enamoured of Mount Taranaki. I might get accustomed to the the sight of him as he lords it over the surrounding farmland and small towns. Hard to imagine but it's possible. I find it hard to focus on a fence when this the view between roadside fences.
I went to a bit of trouble to get this next shot. As I cruised past this puddle on the Surf Highway I caught a glimpse of a mountain reflection. So I stopped, turned around and went back. My timing was off. No sooner had I stopped than the traffic seemed a lot heavier than it had been. I stepped as far back to the side of the road as I could without endangering my life but the reflection wasn't quite there. The ground was very uneven up closer and I didn't want to trip with so many potential spectators around. From the far side of the road I could barely see the puddle. My car was well off the road but after a huge truck went past and honked his horn at me (it could have been a friendly toot, it's hard to tell) I gave up.
This is an accidental shot that I liked. I was trying to get a glimpse of my daughter's goat through the trees when I clicked by mistake and ended up with a little peep of a fence.
I just had to wait a while and he came to see what I was up to. The sheep keeps a safer distance.
Luckily I don't mind when animals come to see what I'm doing.
A little sign beside a dirt road off State Highway 45, the Surf Highway in Taranaki pointed to Stony Creek Walkway. I don't think it said how far up the road it was but I figured I'd go a little way up the road and see. The countryside was pleasant and I stopped to stretch my legs, eat an apple and have a little walk around at the local Okato football grounds. Just a little further on I came to the local swimming pool and the Hangatahua River. I think. I thought I had it right until I looked it up and am now confused, it might be the Waiwhakaiho River. Either way, it's a very pretty, typical of the numerous rocky rivers and streams which drain the slopes of Mt Taranaki.
I loved the little suspension bridge, it bounced around with just me on it so I can imagine how a child would love it. It's definitely top of the list of places to take my grandson next time I'm visiting.
I didn't venture on to the walkway along the banks of the creek but would love to discover it with a child.
If I hadn't been on a mission that day I would have lingered longer. It was very pleasant beside the river with the sound of water running over the rocks, cows contentedly grazing nearby.
Back on the highway I pulled over beside the old and abandoned Okato and Puniho dairy factory.
Down one end someone, sometime, had tried to brighten it up.
Looking at the river photo I've just been reminded about another river photo I took, right on the outskirts of New Plymouth. This is taken from a house building site. It's higher above the river than it looks. I admit it is a fabulous view but I think that is a slip in the hills directly opposite. That would make me a bit nervous about my foundations.
While I was in Taranaki, one day my daughter kindly offered me her car to go adventuring. I'd told her I wanted to go to the other side of Mt Taranaki, to the coast side, to Stent Road to visit a garden I'd read about.
Stent Road beach is one of New Zealand's top surfing
spots, so I thought I might also get some nice beach photos. I'd heard it can get really crowded. The crowds were definitely missing mid week in November and I found the beach a big disappointment. Admittedly the tide was out but I couldn't imagine the walk from the surf to the land over those rocks.
The best part was the driftwood. Maybe there's something I don't know.
My luck was out when it came to the garden, too. I should have made more enquiries and made a phone call before trekking out to the end of Stent Road.
I know the garden would not have disappointed. It's right beside the beach, extremely exposed to the west coast weather. The road appears to go right through the property as the sea front opposite the house is also grassed and gardened by the owners. How they maintain such a lush garden on that wild and windy salt laden site is beyond me.
Looking at my photos now I think I should have knocked louder or wandered around and called out before deciding no-one was home. Now I notice there is a window open.
Of course, I stopped often that day to take photos of the mountain and sheds. It's a bonus for me when I can get both in the same photo.
I found this one quite attractive with its multi coloured patches.
I had a lovely day, wandering up side roads when the mood took me and
taking a long way home around the southern side of the mountain, a happy accident as I thought it was going to be a shorter route.
As a tribute to Margaret at looking for identity, who is the new hostess for Good Fences, I've found a few photos of European fences.
At a railway station somewhere between Inverness in Scotland and Bath, in England.
No fence could contain the glory of the beaches in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland
I'm afraid fences were the last thing on my mind when in mainland Europe, my head was turned by so many wondrous sights. The fences here near Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque, as it is popularly known, were purely accidental.