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Houhora, last stop before Australia

I rank respect for others and matters of courtesy very highly. As many folks in cyberspace know, I find Kiwi manners a bit lacking when I compare them to an American counterpart. Any time I express this philosophy in the house, the family is always there to suggest that maybe it's just Taranaki folk and not everybody in the country. Well, they just might be right.

I mentioned at the onset of this set of posts that we had a wee bit of car trouble during the trip. It was in the form of the clamp on the transmission fluid hose not being put back properly when we had the car serviced before we took off for parts northern.

The trouble happened just outside the quaint place of Hourhora on our way up the most-northern leg to Cape Reinga. After all those miles from home, the hose came completely off and, of course, spewed all over the hot motor causing smoke in addition to the mist from the damp road.

A wonderfully nice couple was travelling behind us and noticed the smoke coming from beneath our car. They slowed down and stayed behind us until we pulled over when the transmission decided to quit engaging. Then they offered Hubby a ride to the next town, Houhora, where it only took a few minutes for him to return with a tow truck. All in all our trip was delayed only two hours in total because of the fine people in this quiet place and they definitely changed my mind about Kiwis--in a good way.

Although Houhora seems like only a gas station and restaurant as you drive past, it is very historical, I found out later. Sadly, we didn't have time to explore it at the time.







So I want to take this opportunity to thank the nameless couple that was nice enough to help us out. Also, thanks to the tow truck driver and mechanic who could have taken advantage of tourists, but didn't.  Maybe it is just the area we live in whose population is too worried about themselves to notice other folks.

Thanks Houhora!

ancient kauri kingdom (holiday part6)

Kauri trees are native to NZ and grow at an incredibly slow rate.  That's why they  are now protected from harvesting. We visited Ancient Kauri Kingdom in Awanui where they carve kauri that has been pulled from the nearby swamps.
They are, of course, one-of-a-kind pieces that are truly beautiful.



Here is the bottom entrance of a staircase carved from a kauri trunk. The chair in the photo above is behind the staircase.

This shot of the top entrance gives you an idea of it's size.

Russell (holiday part5)


We got there by ferry from Opua.


Historic Christ Church in Russell was built in 1836.




Maori names for the Trinity.

A shot on the waterfront.

Pompallier Mission is the first French Catholic mission in NZ. This is the only remaining building. It serves it's original purpose of printer's shop.


There is also a museum there, but I didn't take any photos.

Whangarei (holiday part3)

Whangarei Falls are a short walk from the carpark.



This canopy walk is part of the A H Reed Memorial Park.

This is one of the oldest kauri trees in NZ

We found an unexpected character as we were leaving.

I never thought much about clocks until we wandered into Claphams Clocks National Museum.

John Harrison made this fake 'dog' over 100 years ago. It still makes noises like a dog and still rolls to amuse and/or scare visitors.

This is the clock that 'hickory dickory dock' was written about! A mouse climbs up the clock to the extra '1' and then falls back to the bottom.

Kawakawa, Kerikeri, Kohekohe (holiday, part2)


Yes, the names of towns here are quite confusing and I am blessed to have Hubby to help me keep all the town names straight!


I guess living in America keeps you out of the loop on some 'world famous' things...


I have no words to add here...just click here and read the story for yourself!



These little train cars were set in the sidewalk footpath outside a small museum in Kawakawa.

Kerekeri has a lot to offer in the form of chocolate delicacies.Get fudged has a great selection of great fudge and you can order online.


Makana chocolates were just down the road from the fudge shop, but I didn't get any pictures to share. Click here for their website.

Pete's Pioneer and Transport museum is a quaint, small place that is tucked away in Kerikeri but worth a look for some nostalgia.
This is an old dental chair that was displayed in a classroom. Dental care is free here in NZ for children until they get to high school.



Some other sights to see in Kerikeri include St James Church.




According to hubby's research,  this bell was given to the church when the 'Black Prince' was decommissioned in 1960.
This is the Stone Store as it stands today, the oldest existing building in the country.




And, last but not least, Hubby was sweet enough to find this little church in Kohekohe for me. It is situated on the side of the road with nothing else around except a gorgeous view behind it.


Virtual tour, part one of....lots

It's good to get away, but always good to get home! Sorting the photos is the hardest part.

We covered just over 1100km (that's about 700 miles in American) 2100 km (that's 1300miles in American) in seven days and had such a great time doing it. The weather was fabulous and we only had one little setback--more on that later--and we couldn't have asked for more exciting things to see and do. Kudos to Hubby, who is the greatest organizer of trips!

I will post the 'touristy' stuff on this blog, along with links to their websites, and the great scenery on my photoblog (click here for that link).

To get from Stratford (which is to the right of the green circle-which is Mount Taranaki-in the 'bump' on the left side) to anywhere, there is a lot of driving involved, as you can see from th is map. Click for larger view.




To go north, we have to travel across Mount Messenger, which is one of many winding mountain roads in NZ. After getting across there, we always stop at Mokau for a rest and the kids get to play in the sand. Otterboy enjoys digging trenches and 're-routing' the water from a run-off drain there and that's where he always ends up. This trip, we got a bit a a surprise as several other 'boys' had the same idea and brought their own pipes and things to 'play in the water'.


To Otterboy's utter disappointment, we didn't have time for him to 'help'.


Before we left, we let the kids look through a bunch of brochures and asked them for things that interested them and they both agreed that 'the luge' would be fun, so that was one of the first stops. It's a great idea for kids entertainment. They get pulled up to the top of the hill in a go-cart on a conveyor belt and then choose one of the paths (slow, medium or fast) to cruise down.



I know I don't like rambling posts, no matter how interesting they are, so that's the first installment of....[tv announcer voice] Our...northern...holiday...(trailing off) [/tv announcer voice]




I'm back!

I am back from holiday and am exhausted!  Now I have to sift through over 1000 photos that I took (just my contribution to over 2400 photos from all 4 of us!)! But, we had a blast and I will be posting photos soon...not all of them, of course! Aren't you glad!!

See ya later!

We are off on holiday for a while to places we haven't see before! We are going waaaaay up north and I plan to take lots of photos! I'm sure I will have a few tales to tell, too, so see ya later!!

Paddy, the wanderer

While waiting at the doctor's office today, I read an article about a dog in Wellington in the 1930's called Paddy, whose memorial is pictured below.






Paddy, a ginger and brown Airedale terrier, achieved national celebrity status due to his exploits on the Wellington waterfront (and beyond) during the 1930s. He was remembered as a 'little light in the dark days of the Depression'.
Paddy probably began life as Dash, the pet of a young girl who died in 1928. The girl's father was a seaman and the dog spent a lot of time on the Wellington wharves when the family came to meet the father's ships. When the little girl died, Paddy, as he became known, began to wander the wharves. Some say Paddy wandered in search of his lost playmate.
Paddy became a much-loved identity on the Wellington waterfront during the Depression years. Watersiders and harbour board workers, seamen and taxi drivers took turns at paying his annual dog licence. Wellingtonians got to know him well as he travelled throughout the city on trams and taxis. His national fame grew as he journeyed by sea to other New Zealand ports, as well as Australia. In December 1935 he took to the air in a Gypsy Moth biplane. All of these adventures saw Paddy achieve extensive media attention and his popularity with the public grew.
The Wellington City Council awarded Paddy the 'Freedom of the City'. The Harbour Board made him 'Assistant Night Watchman responsible for pirates, smugglers and rodents'.
As he aged Paddy wandered less. He was usually to be found on the Tally Clerks' stand inside the Queen's Wharf gates. As his health deteriorated he was given a sickbed in a shed on the wharves; many people called by to enquire about his health.
When Paddy died on 17 July 1939, obituary notices were placed in the local papers. A fleet of black taxis formed a funeral cortege to escort his coffin from Queen's Wharf to the city council yards for cremation.  It was a scene more in keeping with the death of a high-profile public figure. A drinking fountain near the Queen's Wharf gates commemorates Paddy's life. It was built in 1945 using stones taken from Waterloo Bridge in London and paid for with funds raised by the many friends of Paddy the Wanderer.





Another 'new' experience

Since I arrived in NZ, I have had many experiences that would never have been possible if I had stayed in Topeka. Some, because of the nature of a different country in a different hemisphere. Some, because of having a ready-made family. Some, simply because it never crossed my mind before.

The latest experience is a combination of reasons, and I learned some new things--like:

  • squirted whipped cream smells like over-ripe yogurt when not eaten immediately
  • it's nearly impossible to take good photos when you are laughing your guts out
  • sometimes, it's ok to smack your dad in the forehead with a cookie
  • you should wash cream-covered clothes shortly after they are taken off