Sunday, 24 May 2015

Foster and Allen.

Last night we headed for Palmerston North for dinner and a show. This is not something we do too often but we couldn't resist this one

Foster and Allen

The meal at Chinatown with friends Jenny and Robin was a real surprise with a gold card discount for the buffet meals.   Not something we get a lot of use of. We’ll have to go back and try the other side of the buffet next time. There was so much variety but we were unable to sample them all.

Then onto the show, with several buses from Levin, Wanganui and Dannevirke the show was very popular amongst our age group. Singing some of their popular songs such as “Maggie” and the audience joined in with “The Fly.” Unfortunately their version of “Gypsy Rover” was not on the nights programme but never the less a lovely evening was had by all.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Sir Peter Jackson’s Great War Exhibition.

Pukeahu (Mount Cook), the National War Memorial Park was officially opened on 18th April 2015. Being away up north at the time we took the first opportunity after returning home after our Anzac Weekend club rally, to visit this site.

IMG_0065Pukeahu Park War Memorial Park

Sir Peter Jackson helped to create this $10 million exhibition to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli landings. It is inside the former Dominion Museum building behind the National War Memorial Carillon in Wellington.  It tells the story of World War 1 from 1914  to 1919  honouring the role many Kiwis played.

IMG_0074The Australia memorial commemorates the long and close relationship between the people of Australia and New Zealand.

IMG_0080The wreaths from Anzac Day inside the War Memorial.

IMG_0097Great War Exhibition, old Dominion Museum Building, Wellington.

As you walk into the museum you are in a  "peaceful" Belgium street setting in 1914. As you walk through the exhibition you are shown the experiences of conscription and heading out for war, before viewing the recreations of battle scenes, including life-sized tanks and weapons. (Extremely realistic)

IMG_0100Our tour guide in a replica Belgium Street.IMG_0112Soldiers on the battlefield.

IMG_0114These soldiers were all hand painted by model enthusiasts.

IMG_0098The 51 metre high Carillion in Wellington.

IMG_0095This model of a New Zealander Richard Henderson and his donkey is a memorial to all medics and stretcher bearers and commemorates the 75th anniversary of the landings on Gallipoli.

Much of the exhibits  in the exhibition are from Peter Jackson's private collection and based loosely on the story of his grandad Will, while other pieces were donated from war museums in France and Belgium.

Sir Peter Jackson used the  creative talents of his teams at Wingnut Films and Weta Workshop to create the experience .

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Anzac Commemorative Coin

While unpacking the motorhome on arrival home I discovered a new coin amongst our belongings.  Looking closely we discovered that it was a coloured 50 cent coin which I must have picked up at the Waiouru Army Museum on our way home.

One million of these legal tender coins were minted to commemorate the centenary, on 25 April 1915, of the Anzac landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

IMG_0050 The ‘Tails”Face of the commemorative 50 cent coin.

Featuring New Zealand and Australian soldiers standing back to back with their heads bowed in remembrance. The Maori motif pattern symbolises strength and determination, and the silver fern is New Zealand’s identity.With New Zealand’s national colours, the motif is white on the coin, with the background coloured black.

IMG_0051The “heads” face of the coin with the Queen and the year 2015

It is the first time in New Zealand history that a New Zealand coloured circulating coin has been produced. It has been checked that the coin is the same size as the existing coin and will be accepted in coin and vending machines.

I wonder how long these coins remain in circulation or are picked up by collectors?

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Lest we forget!

  ANZAC Day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps)

flanders poppyFlanders poppy 

25th April is the observance day New Zealanders and Australians remember the fallen of the two World Wars.

I remember as a young girl getting up early in the morning to attend the annual Dawn Parade service with my late father.

The many thousands who sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom. May they rest in peace.


One hundred crosses at the National War Museum at Waiouru commemorate the ultimate sacrifice by New Zealanders in the 1st World War 100 years ago.

We Shall Keep the Faith

'Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.'

Moina Michael


Sunday, 19 April 2015

NZMCA Ngongataha

On leaving Paeroa we headed south via Te Aroha and the outskirts of Matamata before turning onto SH 5 which took us to Ngongataha. We were heading for the newest NZMCA Park which was opened the previous day.  Would there be room for our 3 vehicles? No problem, we chose 3 spots overlooking Lake Rotorua. Derek wandered off and took this photo of a model engine at the Rotorua Ngongotaha Miniature Railway.


We had booked tickets earlier in the week for the self-drive rail cars at Mamaku. Similar to the trip we did a couple of years ago while travelling through the Forgotten Highway. We went from Whangamomona railway station to taking the moth balled line towards Taumarunui.

IMG_8935Straight ahead now driver, although there wasn't one!

With a distance of 19kms return we departed Mamaku Station before turning around at Tarukenga Station for the return journey. Travelling through the beautiful Dansey Scenic Reserve on the steep 1:35 gradient railway.

IMG_8947Passing through the forest, look at the tall straight tree trunks.

IMG_8942Coming up to a bend we can’t see around the corner.

Out from the cutting we see stunning lake views and rolling farmland.  The Rail Cruiser is the world’s first fully automated petrol-electric four seater self drive hybrid rail vehicle. We travelled along in 5 rail cruisers 250 metres apart. On reaching Tarukenga station they are turned and ready for the return journey.

IMG_8944Stunning lake views.

Cruising along at 20kms/h listening to an audio (which unfortunately was breaking up in our car and we missed a lot of the commentary) was very peaceful.

IMG_8955Getting set to disembark before turning the car.

The Rotorua Railway was originally planned in 1877 to take tourists to the Pink and White Terraces. Known then as the 8th wonder of the world.  The line was uncompleted in 1886 when the eruption of Mt Tarawera destroyed the terraces. It was nearly 20 years before the line was then completed.  It has been unused for the last 13 years before the Railcruising Experience has once again carried tourists since November 2011.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Martha’ Open Cast Goldmine Waihi!

After leaving Bowen town we decided to take a look at Martha’s Open Pit Mine in Waihi on our way to Paeroa.  Whilst we had been to Waihi several times we had not visited the Goldmine, as we had only passed through.

WaihiWaihi Replica Poppet HeadIMG_9930Cornish Pump house at Martha's Mine, built in 1903.

This pump house was moved 300 metres to a more stable site in 2006.  Taking 3 months to completely move it now sits adjacent to Martha's Mine.

IMG_8930Poppies lined up to commemorate Anzac Day on the boundary fence.IMG_9942Looking down into the now open cast gold mine.

Originally an underground mine it has now been opened up and all work is done above ground.  There have been several occurrences of collapsed underground shafts collapsing over the years due to the instability of the land.

IMG_9943Our first viewing of a drone.

The drone is sitting on the carrycase, this shows the size of it, the four propellers are attached manually just before take-off.  This young couple had decided to try out Dad’s drone by flying it over the mine. “What happens if it falls in?” I said.  No problem it runs for approximately 15 minutes and then returns to the controller if not directed back and the batteries run out.  The controller is very small which holds the smartphone and its GPS.  A small camera is located under the drone and can be set to photograph and then download to the smartphone.  Very clever, bit beyond us.

UFO?Not a UFO but a drone above Waihi, Waihi roundabout made with sculpured steel balls from Marthas MineRoundabout in centre of Waihi, is made of replica steel balls used to crush the gold and silver in the quartz rock.It's a BoggerThose are some big machines!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Anzac Bay, Freedom Parking at its Best!

From the top of the hill, what a view?Looking down from the top of the hill at Gypsy Rover with Anzac Bay behind.

What a beautiful spot.  While the others had opted for a couple of nights in the motor camp.  We freedom parked a couple of hundred yards further on in the local reserve. 

Anzac Bay at Bowentown was once named St George's Bay. The name was changed in January 1916 to honour those who served and fell at Gallipoli. Nearby Katikati had its  first World War One death when Harry Pritt died on his first day in action on 8 August 1915 along with other members of the Auckland Infantry 5th Reinforcements. The bay at Bowentown is said to be is a perfect miniature replica of Anzac Cove in Gallipoli.

Bowentown Freedom Camping.Bowentown Reserve just out of Waihi

Bowentown Reserve

Almost surrounded on three sides with the ocean, what a fabulous spot, our favourite so far. We were accompanied by up to a dozen other vehicles and felt completely safe.  The weather was at its best and our new battery performed beautifully.  Meanwhile the others were spied upon when we climbed to the top of the hill.

There's the other two vans!Our friends parked together at the camp just down the road.

An old Maori pa overlooking the bay.The site of an original Maori Pa on the hill overlooking the camp.

first one wayOne could see for miles from the top.

and then the otherNice little private sheltered beach nestled at the bottom of the hill.