Wednesday, 28 May 2014

continuing on the thermal super highway

hot pool

OH ( other half) is now directing this blog. Given that I have been writing it for over 3 years before he started reading it, this could be bad news. The freedom to use my own ideas and thoughts is being intercepted with advice and requests.

This week he would like

  • the bizarre

  • something pretty and scenic as well

  • me to get something on line despite the lack of adequate wifi and the fact that he keeps me busy from dawn to dusk; up hills, down dales, on boats, in bars, in the hot tub and more.

So I will oblige, as this may be the last post where he sits beside me directing my activities on-line. In a week we will be back home doing our usual thing; me on the computer working on my photography in one room, and him in another not doing anything remotely connected to photography. 

So here goes……..

starting with the scenic.

………………. the Tongariro crossing. Allegedly the best one day hike in New Zealand. 

But first, were we prepared?

STOP sign, Tongariro crossing

Yes we were. I am proud to say that we met all criteria (just) and the weather was perfect. Torch in pocket, food in rucksack and lots of spare clothes too.

Mount Ngauruhoe
The views are spectacular.

path on the Tongariro crossing

The climb was steep.

rest rooms on the Tongariro crossing

the rest rooms / loo / toilets were seriously unpleasant, but much appreciated none the less

the top was freezing and all spare clothes were used.

mosses and alpine plants
the vegetation was tiny

and the people were too as they crossed the plateau

Tongariro crossing plateau

It was one of the highlights of my trip down under.

Next the bizarre.

One rainy day in Rotorua we stopped to look in a shop full of outdoor clothing.

This is New Zealand, and hunting is BIG. 

We resisted the temptation to buy boots, thermal underwear, fishing clothes, hunting clothes, guns and knives. 

But this magazine took us by surprise.

Not bad for a first pig

Girl Power takes on a whole new meaning.

I don't think I'll be subscribing though.

I have learnt this week that the Maori language only contains 20 letters. Which may help to explain why all the place names sound very similar.

This letterbox outside a farm wins the prize for the most challenging address.

Not an easy one to teach to a child.

The backpackers hotel in Rotorua was different from the bland buildings around it.

here is the bland


Here is the 'backpackers'

Cactus Jacks, Rotorua

and here is 'the spirit' of Rotorua not really being felt . Perhaps it was the rain.

Rotorua - feel the spirit

We were in Rotorua for a bit of culture, and we duly visited the museum and a Maori village.

The museum is really very good.

The village experience was busy and wet. Plastic macs at $2.50 were selling well.

tourists in Rotorua looking chic

Unfortunately for our village guide, most of our group didn't speak the best English. So the commentary went along like this…….

guide to group " this pool is very hot and we use the water to cook our food. It is 104 degrees centigrade"

group to guide " can we swim in there?"

But I was happy as I got to see some bubbling mud which can keep me amused for hours.

bubbling mud

Where was this?


Another that rolls off the tongue.

We continued north to Coromandel, where we experienced the incredibly ingenuity of Barry Brickell, one of New Zealand's most revered potters. He is a biologist, engineer, potter and writer. He built is own railway( mostly by his own hand)  up a hill through forest to enable clay collection from his land. Eventually his bank manager insisted that he allow tourists to ride in order to fund his activities, so we took the ride to his Eyefull tower at the top of the hill.

Eyeful Tower

The view is pretty scenic (OH please note; another request granted).

view from the Eyefull tower

I got to meet Barry as I mentioned that  had just seen his exhibition in Rotorua museum. He was suitably unimpressed with my banal comments about his work and wandered back to his studio fairly smartly.

Barry Brickell sculpture

Time to hit the road again.

does what it says on the tin

Luckily we are not camping as the nights are frosty now.

Coromandel shower block

I think that's enough bizarre for now.

Here's a bit of scenic to finish off.

majestic Kauri tree trunks

And to finish, a sunset

everybody loves a sunset - Russell - Bay of islands


  1. Caroline

    Thanks for the reminder about the Tongariro crossing, as I remember it it was pretty magical.

    Look forward to seeing you back at Beckenham sometime (although you may well not share my enthusiasm!)


  2. Hi Fred. Good to hear from you. How could you forget it?! I'm home next week. Caroline