Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Our New Baby!

Well not exactly. Welcome to Belicious Honeysuckle Blossom(Honey for short) she was born on the 16th January 2014 at Otane, near Hastings, New Zealand.  She is a Sealpoint Birman and just beautiful.  Only 6 months old she was speyed last week and Derek will take her stitches out while I am away in Auckland next week (although we can only see one, we think she has taken the others out herself)

HoneyBelicious Honeysuckle Blossom (Honey for short)

We had set our hearts on another beauty and although she had been promised to us, the breeders decided to keep her themselves for showing.  This all happened within 12 hours of us picking her up.

But never mind Honey although second choice originally, we think it was meant to be as her colouring is better and she has a lovely nature.

IMG_9294Aren’t I beautiful?

We intend to take her away in the motorhome so we have some training to do with a harness.  You should have seen her in our collapsible basket that we brought her home in.  Hardly a murmur and she kept her eye on Derek in the passengers seat most of the way. 

IMG_9293-001Now where did that ball go?

Wednesday, 18 June 2014


While heading south from Tongariro yesterday we remarked on how many large vehicles there were on State Highway 1.

In a queue behind the local Police we were held up for a short while at the Bulls Bridge as two large vehicles were waiting to cross.

Accompanied by an escort vehicle the large crane took his time.  It is surprising that this trip was in the middle of the day.  Normally these large loads have to have special permits and are told what time the move has to be made when roads are quiet and are usually moved at night.

If you look carefully in the photo you may also see the oversized vehicle in the front of our queue waiting for his turn to negotiate the bridge.

IMG_9244Now what’s this all about?IMG_9245Now we see the holdup!IMG_9246One through one to go!

Once safely through there it was on to the dump station at Sanson (nice and handy to get to, relieving ourselves of all the waste water from the weekend away)) then home topping up with diesel in Levin on the way passed ready for our next trip away.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

High Tea at the Chateau!

Moving on from Ohakune we headed for Whakapapa Holiday Park.  We have not stayed here before but it is just across the road from the Chateau.  Designed for smaller motorhomes we did not have a lot of choice of sites and occupied the largest 3 we could find.

Then yesterday we found ourselves with fellow members of the Heretaunga Caravan Club at the Chateau Tongariro for High Tea.

All set to eat.Left to right, Derek, Dot, Robin, Jenny, Geoff and Eileen.Now where do we start?A feast fit for a king.Watch out for me Geoff!Watch it Geoff let me move!

Afterwards Derek and I headed up to Tongariro Holiday Park to stay with our friends there for the night before moving on home tomorrow.  The other two couples headed off towards Whanganui and then home the next day.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

More than Expected!

At the weekend we decided to head north with two friends to attend the NZMCA Chocolate Éclair Rally at Ohakune. The rally was extremely well attended with over 80 vans and we were lucky that the weather was so fine as most of us were parked on the lawn.  It was rather boggy in places after recent rain but no one had any trouble getting off when it was time to leave.

Over the top of the other vehiclesOver the top of the other vehicles.IMG_8540Mount Ruapehu from Ohakune.

We were extremely lucky with the weather despite the severe frosts in the morning, which kept us all alert. Ohakune is well known for carrots that are grown locally and we were lucky enough to receive a bag of local produce for a modest sum.Mount Ruapehu from Ohakune

Derek and I wandered into town to have a look at the sights, came across a quaint second hand shop in a garage that was chock a block full of motor homers all with the same idea. We have stopped here several times while going to or from Tongariro Holiday Park but it is always good to see if there are any changes.

Great use for old skis!Great use for old skis!How's that for a letter box?How's that for a letter box?

After morning tea and the drawing of raffle prizes on Sunday morning we spent a while talking to several motor homes we hadn't meet before.  Then it was time to move on to our next campsite at Whakapapa for a special treat  tomorrow.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

40th Anniversary Rally!

IMG_9209All set up at Carnival Park for the weekend.Pahiatua Carnval Park Amenities Block, very similar to Carterton.Pahiatua Carnival Park Amenities Block, very similar to Carterton Motor Camp.

This weekend was the Heretaunga Caravan Club’s 40th Anniversary.  We were extremely lucky with the beautiful weather that we had.  The beginning of June being the start of Winter we never really know what to expect

IMG_9199We had to have a Birthday Cake.IMG_9202Derek being President had the job of cutting the cake.IMG_9213We’ll all be drinking out of these at rallies from now on.IMG_9201Now its time for the official duties. New members initiation into our club.

The program for the weekend was planned in advance and included an afternoon tea at Tui Brewery Headquarters at Mangatainoka (just for the boys of course).  This was very popular on Saturday afternoon and we had trouble finding seats initially.  There was a group of Motorcyclists and their pillion passengers that were enjoying the facilities as well. A great time was had by all and then we headed back to camp to partake in 4 zzzz’s.  They can’t get enough of that stuff.  The evening was spent in reminiscing over the many photos viewed on Selwyn’s projector and screen.  Memories are great for the old grey matter.

Sunday morning was free until a bush walk at 2pm and then our 40th Anniversary Dinner at the Purple Haze Cafe in the evening.

IMG_9206Carnival Park Reserve where we headed for our bush walk.IMG_9207Club members in Carnival Park Reserve.IMG_9205

Nice and close to the amenities in case of inclement weather, a heavy frost on Saturday morning but we couldn't have asked for better weather considering the time of year.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Lest We Forget – Anzac Day 2014

flanders poppyThe Flanders Poppy

99 years on, and 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 father who passed in 2012 at the grand old age of 93.

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

we will remember them

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 valour 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 honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.'

Moina Michael

Friday, 11 April 2014

Aratiatia Rapids!

I can remember when in my teens my parents took my sister and I to see the Aratiatia Rapids on the Waikato River.  When passing this way in later years I have been unable to find them.

Now I know in the early 1960’s that Aratiatia Hydro Electric Power Station was built and I assumed the rapids were no longer.   Not so the rapids still exist although water only flows through a few times a day when water is released from the Dam, even if only for 15 minutes at a time.  As we were so close we decided to pay them a visit.

The Power Station is now owned by Mighty River Power which the Government recently put up for sale.

Dam in the background water now in the rapids

Before construction of the dam and hydro station, the Aratiatia Rapids were a prominent feature on the Waikato River. The
dam construction meant that no water flowed over the rapids. However, several times a day, the Aratiatia dam gates of the
Waikato River are opened, which restores the rapids to their normal operation.

Aratiatia Dam before the gates opened.Aratiatia Dam before the gates opened.One gate open.One gate open.Both Gates open for 15 minutes.Both Gates open for 15 minutes.Water heading for the RapidsWater heading for the Rapids.Doesn't take long.Doesn't take long.Aratiatia Power Station in the distance.Dam in the background water now in the rapids.

The Aratiatia Rapids were also featured in Peter Jackson’s latest movie The Hobbit where Bilbo Baggins rescues
the dwarfs from elves by hiding them in barrels which float down river.

Heading back to Taupo we were looking for a place to stay.  Five Mile Bay had been recommended to us so that's where we are off to.

A perfect place to spend the night.Five Mile Bay - A perfect place to spend the night.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

"Catch em', Cook em' & Eat em"

While in the area  and getting hungry we decided to check out the Prawn farm. Here you can catch your own prawns (if you are lucky) or you can visit the onsite restaurant.  We opted to have a picnic ourselves as it was a lovely day.  Whatever happened to the heavy rain that we had left behind in Hawkes Bay?
"Catch em', Cook em' & Eat em"Well not prawns today where we had lunch!Taupo Prawn Farm
We couldn't stay too long as we had a boat trip arranged.

Craters of the Moon (‘Karapiti’ geothermal site)

This is one spot that we usually drive past and never visit.  We were lucky to find one parking place large enough for Gypsy Rover as all the others were designed for the smaller tourist vans. 

Different soil colours at the Craters of the Moon.Different soil colours at the Craters of the Moon.

The Craters of the Moon Thermal Area (or Karapiti in Māori language) is a part of Wairakei, the largest geothermal field in New Zealand, with a surface area of about 25 km2, which lies in the Taupo Volcanic Zone.

Steam galore after last nights rain.Steam galore after last nights rain.

The name springs from the many hydrothermal eruption craters, which are mostly bare earth and which have bright colours due to the mineral deposits. Combined with the numerous steam vents, constantly shifting, and collapsing the walkways around the area are constantly being moved to avoid the hot areas.

Not cloud but steamNot clouds but steam.

In the 1950’s the Wairakei Power Station was built which reduced the pressure in the hot water systems below the earth surface. Since then much of the geothermal activity in the region has dramatically changed.  The geysers at Wairakei Geyser Valley totally disappeared.  Hydrothermal eruptions occur about once a year.

Bubbling mud pool at Craters of the Moon geothermal area.Bubbling mud pool at Craters of the Moon geothermal area.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Huka Falls–Taupo

Staying in Taupo for the first time in many years we decided that we had to do the tourist thing.
Starting at Lake Taupo the mighty Waikato is New Zealand's longest river at 425 kms before flowing into the Tasman Sea just south of Auckland. Over time the river has churned a channel through the geothermally altered rock 15 metres wide and 10 metres deep towards Huka Falls.
Huka FallsTurbulent waters of Huka Falls Taupo.
About 2000 litres of water surge 9 metres over the falls a second.  The falls are gradually moving south towards the lake all the time as the force of the water erodes the rocks.  Upstream of the falls the river is clear and reflective but once over the fall after picking up all the air bubbles the falls are named after the Maori name for ‘foam’.  The flow over the falls are so strong that native fish and eels are unable to swim upstream to the lake. 
Now what's he thinking?  Now what's he thinking?

Ernest Kemp and The Māori Carvings!


Today we joined several foreign tourists on a cruise around Lake Taupo to view the Māori Rock Carvings.

We chose to cruise on the ‘Ernest Kemp’ out to see the Maori carvings on the cliffs at Mine Bay on the north west side of Lake Taupo.  The boat was previously owned by the Kemp family who owned Kemp House (now known as Mission House) in Kerikeri in Northland until the house and contents were donated to The Historic Places Trust by Ernest Kemp in 1974. The house was built on land granted to Samuel Marsden by the powerful Nga Puhi chief,Hone Hika in 1819.  Kemp House is the oldest surviving European building in New Zealand.


The only way to see the carvings is from the lake.  The carvings although not old were created in the late 1970s by Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell and John Randall.  The 10-metre-high carving is intended to protect Lake Taupo from volcanic activities underneath.


In the late 1970s master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell had completed his 10-year training period with Maori elders. He came to his mother's land at Lake Taupo to mark the occasion with a significant carving.
On a boat trip around the Western Bays he saw the cliffs at Mine Bay and recognised the opportunity to use them as a canvas for his work.

Maori Carvings

The main carving is over 10 metres high and took four summers to complete. The artwork is Matahi's gift to Taupo. He and four assistants took no payment other than small change donations from local bar patrons to cover the cost of the scaffolding.


The carvings have become an important cultural attraction for the region and a clear demonstration that traditional Maori knowledge and skills continue to be passed from generation to generation.


There was also another yacht there to view the carvings at the time and unfortunately for them they got very wet from a sudden shower of rain while we were tucked up in the warm. Returning back at 4pm it was only a hop step and jump to our overnight parking spot.

Freedom Camping at Taupo Marina.Freedom Camping at Taupo Marina.How's that for a view out the back window at night?How's that for a view out the back window at night?