Sunday, 2 February 2014

Taranaki Falls

Despite their name these falls are not found in the Taranaki region, but on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park.

IMG_8957Doesn't he look grumpy after his walk to Taranaki Falls?

After leaving Tongariro Holiday Park we decided to head for Whakapapa Village and see if we could find a park big enough for Gypsy Rover, so that we could attempt the 2 hour round trip to Taranaki Falls.  We were lucky to find a park behind the Chateau Tongariro and after changing into our walking shoes we headed off.

Home of the Tongariro ChateauHome of the Tongariro ChateauChateau Tongariro at WhakapapaChateau Tongariro on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu at Whakapapa Village.

We had been advised by a couple of German tourists that there are two ways to do the round trip.  They advised walking past the first entrance and heading further up the hill to the second.

IMG_8936Off he goesIMG_8937Boards covering part of the swampy area of the walk.

This was good advice as the trip is easier walking from this end.  We walked passed several tourists struggling on their way to the falls as they had started at the other end. 

IMG_8939Rare Mountain Daisy on the slopes of Mount RuapehuWouldn't stand there if I was you!Wouldn't stand there if I was you!

We had no problems and the reason for the advice was there are 130 steps by the falls that are easier to descend than ascend.

Mount Ruapehu slopes - only a trickle at the momentMount Ruapehu slopes - only a trickle at the moment.

Our timing was pretty well spot on too, just over 2 hours later we arrived back at the motorhome and headed off for the Marton NZMCA camp.  We were lucky there as we managed to occupy the last site available. The place was fuller than we have ever seen before. Shows what a popular place it is.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Double Full House!

Yesterday we decided to head off to our local Focal Pont Cinema to see a movie.  We had decided on one of two for the morning session.  Gold card members get free coffee and morning tea on a Monday or Tuesday morning.

Were we surprised when we arrived and found that one of the movies “Philomena” starring Judy Dench was full.  Never mind that had been our second choice and we had come to see the “The Book Thief”.  Purchasing our tickets and collecting our free morning tea we headed into the theatre.

When we have been there before we had the theatre to ourselves but not today as the theatre gradually filled up until there was not an empty seat. A great movie, worth seeing.  Now that takes one off the list two more to go, when can we squeeze them into our busy schedule?

Two full houses in one session, a real surprise, shows the calibre of the movies shown.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Water Lily!

IMG_8878Our first water lily.

When the pool was put in the backyard a couple of months ago, our friend Bill kindly gave us 8 fish for it.  We then thought it would be nice to have a water lily so that the fish could shelter underneath it. Heading north out of Levin SH1 there is a large pond covered in water lilies. 

A sign outside said they were for sale so in we went.  We were asked what colour we wanted and we suggested pink.  Ok, no guarantees as they are hard to know what the colour is until they flower.  We have been watching this bud coming up for a couple of weeks.  As we are away next weekend I was convinced it would flower then.  But no, today she opened and yes it is pink.  There are now another couple of buds appearing which no doubt will open while we are away.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Eketahuna Express!

Eketahuna Express

As a New Year treat to ourselves we booked this unique steam locomotive hauled train journey. Leaving Levin at 10am travelling North up the North Island Main Trunk line to Palmerston North then East through the Manawatu Gorge turning South at Woodville to Masterton.

The Eketahuna Express headed by Ja1271 arriving Levin station.The Eketahuna Express headed by Ja1271 arriving Levin station.Yours truly aboard the Eketahuna Express.Yours truly aboard the Eketahuna Express.Quite a sharp curve to be able to get this shot.Quite a sharp curve to be able to get this shot.

There were several options available. Alight at Woodville to be taken by bus to the races for the day, Eketahuna for visits to Mt Bruce wildlife sanctuary and/or the Middleton Model Railway and boutique cheese factory or Opaki for a visit to the Paper Road Vineyard. All 3 options were well patronised having something like 400 passengers on the train. We opted to stay on the train right through to Masterton.

Prone to slips in the gorge, this one closed the road for a whole year. Millions of cubic metre's of rock has to be removed.Prone to slips in the gorge, this one closed the road for a whole year. Millions of cubic metre's of rock has to be removed.Prone to slips in the gorge, this one closed the road for a whole year. You can see where the road had to be rebuilt.You can see where the road had to be rebuilt.

The whole day was well organised with Rotary putting on a BBQ, pancakes, ice creams and soft drinks for both inward and out bound trips at Woodville.

A Rotary patented pancake cooker, or what to do with an old BBQ, an electric motor and a disused sawmill blade.A Rotary patented pancake cooker, or what to do with an old BBQ, an electric motor and a disused sawmill blade.

At Masterton the Kiwi Kai Kart was on hand to replenish those in need of further nourishment. The train also consisted of a buffet car to keep travellers well fed and watered along with a souvenir shop for those requiring mementoes of the day.

Yours truly aboard the Eketahuna Express.Yours truly aboard the Eketahuna Express. This was our carriage. Fifty foot wooden body built in 1912 in Newmarket.Ten ton of coal and 3000 litre's of water for the return trip.Ten ton of coal and 3000 litre's of water for the return trip.Pristine condition.Pristine condition.

The return journey was interesting in the fact that at Masterton they just turned the locomotive for the return trip but at Woodville they turned the whole train so that passengers on the cliff face side going through the Manawatu Gorge on the outward journey would be on the river side going back giving everybody a good view going through the gorge.

Road bridge at the Woodville end of the Manawatu Gorge.Road bridge at the Woodville end of the Manawatu Gorge.

The latter procedure was done on what they call the Woodville loop where 3 lines form Palmerston North, Napier and Masterton converge. All clever stuff.Twice during the day we had to wait while we crossed path’s with a milk tanker train. Fully loaded they carry 400,000 litres of milk, that’s a lot of busy cow’s.

Ja1271 running around the Woodville loop.Ja1271 running around the Woodville loop.

We eventually arrived back in Levin on time at 9pm well satisfied with our days excursion. Steam Incorporated appear to be running an excursion train on a monthly basis for the coming year. You can check these out on their website www.steaminc.org.nz. We may well be tempted to partake in another trip depending on other commitments.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Windows!

Yeah right.  I now have my computer back from the doctors and it  is now up and running again, although it has hiccupped once since, when I was trying to restart it.  Fingers crossed that normal operating will be resumed.

The problem according to the technician was that ‘Windows’ had become corrupted. No known reason why, (and no other problems found, even under a stress test) although I know that the computer was doing a ‘Windows or Microsoft Update’ at the time. We will see what happens in the future. 

Despite being out of warranty for 6 months, the problem was repaired under warranty.  Thank you Samsung.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year

graphics-happy-new-year-206239

Happy New Year! We wish everyone a 2014 that's full of fun, laughter and lots of great times with family and friends.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Depends on your perspective!

The following photos were all taken within a couple of minutes of each other last evening.  Almost from the same spot.

IMG_8827Blue sky to the south.IMG_8826Hazy to the west.IMG_8828North west and its getting darker.IMG_8821North and the black clouds are gathering.This is where the heavy downpour came from 5 minutes later.