Just 4 Sydney-side Hartnells

Just 4 Sydney-side Hartnells

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Flashback: Whanganui - River of Fun

The WHANGANUI was absolutely amazing. Its located in the western side of the north island and dumps into the ocean after winding its way through the mountains. We headed towards those mountains next so this is the 3rd to last post in New Zealand.

We climbed up a tower and got quite the view of the local town and the river that winds through it. We stayed at a pretty nice place, but were challenged to dry our clothes when we couldn't use the drier after 8 pm. Cam hung things throughout the whole room & they dried over the next two days.

We arrived to the area in the evening and arranged to book a speed boat trip. It was a sweet ride, ridiculously fast and majestic with the river like glass surrounded by steep cliffs.

We were guided by a local Maori man to the "bridge to nowhere." This was a bridge built to connect a local road that never was completed. Strange, we were walking through the woods and then around a bend there was this bridge. After the short walk we paused for lunch and then came back via the speed boat to a canoe.

Slowing down really meant that we could take our time and absorb our surroundings. It was beautiful.

With the wind in your face or the challenge of getting through the rapids without getting wet. Cam & I made it through. We stopped by a cave and I climbed over lots of rocks to get the perfect shot. It was worth it, but I looked so tiny I decided not to post it here.

Tomorrow Cam & I fly to Melbourne to see his family and to celebrate the birthday of MaryEd (Cam's Mom). I'll post some pics from that when we get back. HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND TOO!

FLASHBACK: Windy Welly! The Capital City of Wellington

What trip to a capital city would be complete without seeing the seat of government. Unlike the US's Washington, Wellington has a limited number of government buildings and very few memorials/statues. The two most famous ones are shown here (but don't ask me who the statue is supposed to be).

The building on the left is the Beehive building built in the 1960s. I was super psyched when I heard about it, but I didn't see a photo till we walked to it from our hostel. It doesn't look like a beehive at all to me! Its all silver & white & there are the huge windows on the bottom floor. The shape is sort of half a beehive, I suppose, but honestly, I was very disappointed. The tour was interesting, speaking about the structure of NZ's federal government and getting to see where legislation is debated or crafted was also great. Only wish was a more appropriate named building.

We were in Wellington for a few days and we did LOTS of walking. One of the coolest things we thought was to see the whole city from on top of a nearby hill, but you'll never guess how we got up there...a wicked red cable car. This shot is good enough to put on our own postcard! It shows are cable car going back down the hill straight into the heart of a shopping district. On top of the hill was a neighborhood constructed for people who worked in the financial/government section of downtown. The cable car was built in the early 20th cent.

After getting off the car, we headed into the cable car museum. They had several old cars on display and some diagrams about the cable car hoisting system. It was a great museum & next to botanical gardens. We went on a short hike, saw an observatory, and finally found this bench where we snapped a picture. Wellington sure had some blue skies and was a bit windy too.

We spent the rest of that day walking along the waterfront and checking out another museum that included artifacts from the city of Wellington. On the dock, I found this wonderful large pipe that allowed me to yell all the way back to the US.

Too bad I missed the exact same pipe behind me that really just channeled my yelling to the other side of the parking lot.

Funny thing about this photo. See just at my feet something casting a shadow? That's a guide book of New Zealand that MaryEd allowed us to borrow. After this shot, I forgot to grab it & Cam & I walked off another mile down the road before I realized it. Luckily, Cam ran while I walked back to the spot & it was still there. PHEW! We would have had bad trip if I had lost it for good. The worst part, we were on our feet for 10 hrs that day & were very tired.

The next day we headed to Te Pappa, one of the best museums I have ever been to in my life. You all should know how that really means something as I have visited a fair share of museums in my day. This one was absolutely fantastic: hands on, lots to read or just look at photos, spectacular exhibits, videos, side shows, the works. We saw a colossal squid, took funny photos & put them up on a huge screen & wrote & moved them, learned about Aboriginal family symbols and made rubbings of them in a replica celebration structure (photo). And most of it was free...an absolute steal. I think we donated $20 just because it was that good.

If anyone goes to New Zealand, you have to go to this museum.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekends of Fun around Adelaide

We borrowed our neighbor's bikes (thanks Moreen & Barry) to take a ride around the new hood. In Marion, our small town, there used to be large amounts of agriculture including grapes, abalone, and almonds. In this self portrait by Cam, we are in front of a flowering almond tree.

Also on the bike tour of our neighborhood, we came across a bell mounted into a gum tree outside St. Anne's, a small Catholic chapel. They ordered a bell in the 1860s, but the wrong one got sent and since it didn't fit it into the already built small bell tower, they put it in a nearby tree.

Finally, here's a shot of Cam on a bike path next to one of his favorite things, a canal. It was channeled back in the 1960s. There were quite a few gum trees along this path too.

We were able to meet up with our friend (I have a friend in Adelaide!), Gabriella for dinner at a Thai restaurant. Notice our goodie bags in the foreground. The one on the left supposedly is degradable, but it is being investigated. The bag even had a person with a halo on their head.

With a gift card from Janet & Rick (cousins) Cam & I bought a cast iron oval casserole from La Chausseur, a French company. I've wanted one of these for a really long time & we made a chicken paprikash in it the first time we used it. It turned out so tasty!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

FLASHBACK: Napier the land of Art Deco

Napier is a town that was destroyed by an earthquake in the 1930s and then completely rebuilt over the course of that decade. Cam and I
had an awesome stay there overnight that included overnight at a former prison turned into a hostel.

This is a shot off a park near the beach. The arch was built as a gateway into the downtown area. We had some dinner at a surfer bar just on the street you can see through the arch. I got to see some wicked cool waves crashing, a bit scary.

The evening hours were quite around town. While Cam was near the fountain taking this beautiful photo, a few other kids walked by. I was tempted to just drive off, but I didn't (he he he, it would have been funny, but not to C).

The sleeping in the prison was quite daunting. When we arrived it was dark, so it we didn't get to check out the rest of the prison save for our room, the kitchen, and the showers/bathroom. I'm extremely glad I only saw those few bits because some of the rooms that included interpretation were a bit much.

The entry gate (see photo) was the most inviting part. We were told that tours started at 9 AM and visited the shower room (occupied or not). As guests, we were to plan accordingly (that was one fast shower for me). There was a lot of graffiti from former inmates (adolescents, aborigines, males, females). Of course, there was the typical noises in a jail: unexplainable voices, banging of doors slamming shut, whirling wind outside in the courtyard. But the absolute freakiest part was a demon mannequin all red & black standing in a dark corner of a cell that you turned the light on after walking into it. He was creepy!

I'm really into head cut outs, and this just was the best photo op after our stay.