Thursday, 29 June 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, 26 June 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, 23 June 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, 14 June 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!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

My new friend

I get the best baby sitting gigs.  This time it is Smudge, the family's new kitten.  It's the most laid back little cat I've ever come across, spent half an hour exploring the house, finally decided a cushion on the couch in front of the heater is the top spot - and went to sleep.  Maybe she didn't like being awakened by a camera poked in her face.  But no doubt she will get used to it.

I returned from a week in Taranaki a few days  ago.  I helped to celebrate my baby daughter turning 40!  For some reason that made me older than my oldest son turning 50 recently.  The mind works in mysterious ways.  The nights were cold with fresh snow on the mountain although cloud passed in front of it every time I pointed my camera in its direction.  I'll be back down there in mid July when there will be more snow and more photographic opportunities.  I never tire of trying to capture the beauty of that mountain.

It must be the crisp, cold air that makes for such lovely sunsets in Taranaki.  I was out the back of my daughter's house taking photos when she told me to go around the front, the sunset was even better in that direction. 
 Back yard view

 Front yard view

My friend, Chris and I take off for our annual mid-winter break later this week.  This year we have decided to visit the Wairarapa, the southern most part of the North Island.  A fair way from home, about 770 kms (around 480 miles) and probably a whole lot colder but we will pack our winter woollies.