Tuesday, 18 March 2014

NZ 3 Off to the farm... There be sheep!

Continuing the blogs about our recent trip to Australia and then New Zealand, where we were lucky enough to be invited to visit friends at their farm, just in time to see them shearing some of their sheep.  
Here they are in the pen waiting their turn. 

I was very impressed with the speed and dexterity of the sheep shearers.

And the quantity of wool they were producing that all had to be swept aside and collected in large canvas sacks that were compressed before being closed.  

This is a tally sheet from 27th Dec 1952! 

Then it was time for a trip around the farm. Those look like Hobbitses hills!

After the farm we headed up to Lake Taupo. 

If you are looking for a way to entertain your kids why not stop at McDonald's and let them look inside their plane.

But I think I prefer the lakeside, and the peace and quiet down at Oruatua

But soon we were heading back to Auckland where the view from our hotel made me a trifle dizzy at times!

We took a ferry trip, and went for walks, and found some quite amazing trees

While we were in Auckland we met up with the lovely Trevor and Diane who were on holiday there, too. They run the Kids Lit Quiz in Newcastle. 
 And we also had a lovely evening and a delicious meal with Wayne Mills, the quiz master himself, who was touching base at home in between his international travels to bring the quiz to even more countries than ever before.  I have no idea where he gets the energy!   Hope to see you all later in the year when the UK heats are on.

Before we knew it time had come to catch our big white bird and take to the skies on the way home.

Friday, 14 March 2014

NZ 2 The arrival of the 'City of Adelaide'

We were on our way to Adelaide when I discovered that an old friend who lives close to us at home was due to sail into the port while we were there.

Rita Brad is a writer from East Lothian in Scotland who had been researching the story of the cutter 'The Carrick' other wise known as 'The City of Adelaide'.  

This is Rita, with Peter Christopher who was director in charge of getting the clipper back to Australia

This old lady of the sea had been in Glasgow but funds were raised to return it to Adelaide.  Rita  travelled on the container ship transporting the cutter, all the way from Rotterdam, across to the USA and then on to Australia.

They had been due in the same day as we arrived there but due to a quite dangerous storm just off Port Hedland Australia, they were delayed.

But thankfully they arrived safely into Adelaide Port.

It was lovely to catch up with Rita and hear all about her amazing journey and also to see the clipper up close.

Sadly it was all too soon time to leave Adelaide and head off to New Zealand, where it was a little cooler!

IN Auckland the skies were blue and the weather was a very pleasant 25-26degrees.  Perfect!  

We went to stay with friends in their lovely house in the north 

 and arrived just in time to help celebrate their little one's second birthday!  She just loves Elmo!

We had a great time there and also went a little further up the coast and had a walk along wide deserted beaches.

After a bit we headed off towards Mount Maunganui, but on the way there I was interested to see this decoration of what could so easily have been just an eyesore!

and then we arrived at Mt Maunganui, sparkling water and beautiful scenery.

Austalia 1 - There and back again.....

It's only been two weeks (OK so a busy- around World Book Day events- 2 weeks) but already it seems as if we've been back for ages!

 Our trip to Australia and New Zealand began as such things often do, with a series of fairly long flights.

We usually like to fly through Singapore, and even if, as this time we don't get out of the airport, it is in my opinion the best airport in the world - not that I've seen quite that many but it would take something to beat Changi Airport.  Last time we were there a chap was playing a grand piano in the middle of a seating area and this time there were these amazing flower displays

 and places where large goldfish swim in tranquil waters. there is even a butterfly enclosure.

 This was a very GREEN leaning tower of Pisa!

The airport also has an outdoor swimming pool on the roof of one of the terminals.

But if you get the chance it is also well worth getting out of the airport and taking a trip into Singapore.

We stopped in Adelaide, South Australia,  first but in what has become a bit of a habit we arrived jsut as they were about to experience their hottest weather for 100 years!!  (We'd had a similar experience last time we visited Melbourne a few years ago!)

Adelaide (what we saw of it when not trying to avoid the heat) was lovely. Wide open streets, some thankfully had overhanging shelter so you can walk about even when ti is so very hot!I loved this small park area with its sculptures.

And the giant cockroach seemed to be quite happy with the temperature, or was that the easy reach of the shops and arcades around it, perhaps?

There are a lot of parks and green areas, and this is the view at dusk,(or was it dawn?) from our cool air-conditioned hotel room. (oops forgot to put it in!!  (Updated now!) 

We met up with the lovely 'catdownunder' a blogger and writer who lives in Adelaide and sweetly kept on apologising for the uncomfortable weather, as if she could have done something to change it!! We had a lovely afternoon chatting under a very large tree in the botanical gardens and on another day she took us to visit the migration Museum and discovered what life was like for the early migrants to South Australia

 We found a lovely little coffee shop where everything was home made and the morning coffee was very good,

 and enjoyed wandering around the old style arcades, too.

I am often amazed by the juxtaposition of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern. Is this sacrilege or beauty? I can't decide!