Blogs from New Zealand, Oceania


Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Taranaki March 20th 2023

September 1982: Patea was a busy little town. There were two doctors, two pharmacies, a post office and telephone exchange, County Council and Borough Councils, a town hall, banks and shops. That changed overnight when the freezing works closed. Almost everything closed, never to reopen. It is hard to believe 40 years have passed. Attending the event outside the gates to where the Works used to be was emotional for the large crowd that turned out in the rain. Memories were shared, the information board and plaque were unveiled and photos were taken. I will let this report fill you in on all the details url= The highlight of t... read more
Freezing Works gates
Information board

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wanganui March 20th 2023

Geocaching takes us to so many places we wouldn't have normally bothered to visit or even known existed. This one took us past Whanganui Airport, along a dirt road which was more potholes than road. It made me wish we were in a 4WD and not my car that is very low to the ground. But the drive was worth it as the cache was placed by one of my favourite geocachers and it was my favourite kind - an easy one to find! It make a change from having to admit so many DNFs. This one has the added benefit of providing a great photo op. The bunker sits right beside the Whanganui River and the views are great.... read more
Landguard Bluff

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wanganui March 19th 2023

Netflix managed to convince me that trying glass-blowing would be something worth putting on my bucket list. That would be the long list where things don't get crossed off very often. However, my landlady heard me mention this and sent me to New Zealand Glassworks in Wanganui to make a glass paperweight. I arrived early and was able to watch the gentleman ahead of me making his paperweight. Being able to view this from the gallery was great for all the customers but quickly convinced me it was going to be far too hot for me and way beyond my capabilities due to having Sjogren's and Lupus etc. I explained my fears to the lovely staff who assured me it would be fine. They would do whatever I needed them to do. So, with great trepidation, ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Taranaki March 19th 2023

Built in 1885, St George's Anglican Church in Patea is registered as a Category I Heritage Building. It's Parish is the oldest between Whanganui and Hawera. The stained glass windows are stunning. However, the church is usually closed so you need to check which Sundays the services are held.... read more
Stained glass window
Stained glass window
Stained glass window

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island March 19th 2023

For photographers, Patea offers plenty of photo ops. One of the best is the historic Hunter Shaw Building. It was built in 1930 thanks to a bequest from Mr Shaw's estate. It used to house the library. My favourite memories of the building involve the clock. The mechanism for it is on the wall and didn't always work correctly. All four faces were more than capable of telling different times. It isn't open very often. I had to sneak in during Paepae in the Park.... read more
The Hunter Shaw Building
The Hunter Shaw Building
The clock mechanism

Oceania » New Zealand March 17th 2023 Lego is something I have a love/hate relationship with. I love seeing what amazing things people can create with it but hate trying to do anything with it myself. I blame my inability to use it on my arthritis (that's my story and I am sticking to it). Fortunately, there are some extremely talented Lego builders out there and a group of them provided their time and creations for this year's Brickshow in the Eltham Townhall. As you will see from my photos, Star Wars is my favourite theme and there was plenty of it to drool over. I just had to remember that Sjogren's makes me clumsy and knocking any of it over would not make me popular. However, the charming Daniel Mulholland from Lego Masters NZ had models he was more than willing ... read more
Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island March 11th 2023

Nose Basher, Jawbreaker, Boulder dash and Rat Rock ....these might sound like Father Christmas's reindeer but they are actually rapids on the Clarence River that were marked in BOLD on our map. We thought that packing the boat for the second day would have been easier than Day 1. All the bags and barrels had to be secured to loading rings on the raft so they wouldn't disappear downstream if we capsized. I (Pete) started at one side of the raft, Jamie on the other. Gradually it emerged that we were each employing a different logic (no surprises there then). Irritatingly Jamie had a much sounder approach which Ellie spotted long before I did. It's only natural I suppose...... I undid most of my efforts and followed Jamie's guidance, trying hard to be humble and appreciative. ... read more
A very competitive game of perudo in the hut
Jamie and Ellie by the campfire.....aahhhh...

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Hanmer Springs March 9th 2023

"Into the fray" After Jordie's rather alarming words we had further anxious deliberations. There would be no one else on the very isolated river for three days at least and there was no road access for 5 days. We did have a satellite phone to summon a helicopter if we needed it but the thought of flipping the raft and losing contact with each other was a bit alarming. It occurred to me later that in all our joint 188 years we had never been as far away from another soul as we were on the 5 day journey. We had 2 barrels of food and 2 dry bags containing our clothes, tents and sleeping bags. We had a tool box, a pump and a satellite phone. And a shovel. For digging a toilet or possibly ... read more
An action photo!
Our hut mates transporting our raft to the hut

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Hanmer Springs March 8th 2023

So just to recap the 9 days since our arrival on the South Island and our emotional reunion with Jamie and Ellie....We have completed a 3 day tramp to Angelus hut, a 4 day tramp of the Queen Charlotte track and a 2 day seakayak camping expedition in the Marborough sound. We have had our first 3 nights in a tramping hut, camped in 3 campsites and had our first wilderness camping experience on the shores of Marborough sound. We had forgotten how exhausting it is to be with Jamie! And then it was straight on to the Big One …rafting down the Clarence River with Jamie and Ellie. Apparently the Clarence river is the least explored of all NZ rivers and it just sounded rather exciting to explore it! We set off in Ellie and ... read more
We'll deffo be alright now Jamie's got his specs on....
We're not going until Jamie and Ellie have got their helmets on....

Tramping the Queen Charlotte Track, and sea kayaking with Jamie Monday morning bright and early saw us on the bus to Picton. The bus driver did a running commentary en route to stop him getting bored. Tales of gold rushes and frost protection windmills in the vineyards as we passed through Blenheim. Great afternoon in Picton visiting the oldest surviving boat that took convicts to Australia. Fascinating construction, amazing what you can do with string and caulk! We were off early on the 0800 boat on Tuesday to start 4 days tramping on the Queen Charlotte track. We felt very intrepid but one of us was a bit nervous! Our backpacks were shuttled daily between campsites by the coastal boat, what luxury (we thought).... Beautiful countryside, all shades of blue and green in the Sounds. Quite ... read more
You can just see the Queen Charlotte sound
Three up in Notso Tiny Tim
Hand picked mussels for tea!

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