maandag 30 november 2009

The Watiki Glow-worm Caves


This is a picture of the rocks in which the glow-worm caves are situated.
You can see the rocks in the middle/top of the picture.
The animals in the middle are cows and we didn't see any sheep today.
Lots of sheep farmers have cows now because they can earn more with cows.

Saint Michael's Anglican Church


This is the church which was built on the spot where the English were slain by the maori's in 1845.

The famous toilet of Hundertwasser in Kawakawa

This is the front of the colourful toilet of the famous artist Hundertwasser in Kawakawa.

Look at the roof (Hundertwasser was a ecologist as well) and the people of the city of Kawakawa remember him well, beacause he planted thousands of trees but...........the people don't like the trees because they are pinetrees and they have lots of those already.

Hundertwasser and the Kawiti Glow-worm Caves

Today is December 1st 2009 and we are still on the North Island of New Zealand.
Like the last days the day began with a few drops of rain. After that it became less and less clierwdy and the rest of the day was rather sunny and warm.

To have something to do we first went to a city called Kawakawa.
Not too far from Paihia.
Kawakawa is famous throughout the North Island because of the fact that a rather famous Austrian artist (his name was Hundertwasser) lived in Kawakawa for a long time and got the order from the town council to design the city toilet.
Large signs on the side of the road announce the toilet of Hundertwasser.

So we visited that toilet and Ankie even went inside and she told me that the toilet was clean.
Two years ago Ankie and I visited an exhibition of Hundertwasser in our famous and well known city (or village) Valkenburg in Limburg.
So we were of course very excited that we could visit the town where Hundertwasser built a very luxurious outhouse/bathroom/toilet/loo.

On the other side of the street we visited the Hundertwasser Museum which showed lots of copies of paintings of the painter and lots of photographs of the guy, together with all sorts of other people.
In this museum they showed also all the stuff the older people of the town of Kawakawa donated to the museum and so it just looked like all the other town and village museums which show:
- old photographs,
- old chairs,
- old kitchen utensils (like form 50 years back, they think it is really old),
- old books (millions of them),
- old telephones,
- old pots and pans and china and earthenware household things,
- old toys,
- old other things.

In the museum I found the copy of the report of an eyewitness of the battle of Ohaeawai in 1845, 1st of July. The eyewitness was a medical doctor who travelled around and was just there when the battle raged.
Funny to read what happened exactly during the days around the battle.

The second experience of this day was our visit to the Kawiti Glow-worm Caves of Kawiti.
The caves were discovered by a Maori tribe and one of the attendants we were told is a member of the mentioned tribe.
The caves are not very large but “impressive”. Beautiful massive pillars of pure white stalactites, stalagmites galore.
In the caves you can see millions of glow-worms (Arachnocampa Luminosa) and with the Maori name of Pura Toke (So that you know this as well).
This transparent larva of the Fungus Gnat, which has a life cycle of about eleven months, from the egg to the adult fly, aluminates the caves (a little).
The glow-worm grows from 2 mm to 40 mm long. It is as thin as a needle with a blue/green taillight.
It lives of mosquitoes, flies, moths which are attracted by the light and are caught in small chainlike webs the worms grow.

Our tour guide told us these glow-worms only live in caves in New Zealand and Australia.
The visit to these caves was really nice.

We are now camping in the city of Whangarei and we have internet so, we’ll do some updates now.
All is well in New Zealand and till the next time.

The Ngawa Hot Springs

Aone is more grey.

Another tub of the Ngawa Hot Springs and the colour of this tub is almost black where the other is more grey-like. The water in both tubs is warm and if you wanted to, you can sit in them. We didn't dare because everything looked very dirty and since we are healthy (we think) we wanted it to stay that way.

Ngawa hot springs tub

One of the about ten "tubs" of the Ngawa Hot Springs near the village of (you guessed already) Ngawa.

It looks very exciting (and superb) when you click on the arrow of the video. You can see the hot water bubbling. Maybe you have to click twice.

Opononi, Paihia and Ngawa

Today is the last day of November 2009 (Monday 30th.)

Today we drove from Opononi to a place called Paihia. The weather this morning was not very promising (there were lots of clierwds) but, as the last days, the farther we got the better got the weather.
Sitting now in the van, the weather is very nice, the sun shines and the temperature is good, it’s nice and warm.

The journey was uneventful apart from two very interesting visits we made.
After breakfast we left Opononi and drove to Ngawa Hot Springs.
Our tour guide tells us these springs are a thing that can’t be missed, so we went totally for these hot springs.
And, of course there were other people as well (there was a bus full of youngsters/students) to visit this magnificent landmark on the North Island of New Zealand.

We went in and we saw about ten square pools of 3 x 3 meters in which you can sit and enjoy the hot or warm water.
We didn’t go in because the place looked like a dump with foul water pools but, somewhere in a corner a woman was enjoying the warm water.
As a souvenir of this awesome place I made a few small video’s.
We’ll always remember Ngawa Hot Springs!!

After another hour or so we bought the necessary groceries for today and after that we came along another landmark, Te Whare Karakia O Mikaera,
Saint Michael’s Anglican Church of 1871, built on the site of Pene Taui’s Pa (Pa means stronghold), at which was fought the Battle of Ohaeawai, July 1st. 1845.
The battle was fought between the English (who lost) and the resisting Maori’s.

Since there is not much else to tell I’ll inform you about this battle.

During Heke’s war (the English trying to put another gem* in the British crown, the gem being the North Island of nowadays New Zealand) the British troops under colonel H. Despard suffered very heavy casualties in their assault on Pene Taui’s Pa at Ohaeawai.
The assault was a follow up action after two earlier engagements between the English and Hone Heke and Kawiti (Maori chiefs and their warriors) in which the English couldn’t defeat the Maori’s.
The Maori’s had withdrawn to the place where the church later was built being a heavy stronghold with three rows of palisade’s, a deep trench and other earthworks (the architect of the stronghold being the Maori Kawiti). Amongst the stronghold were heavy timbered hidden rifle pits and in all the stronghold would prove to be impregnable to artillery and musket fire.

The force of the British consisted of 565 men amongst which Maori allies, blue jacks of the HMS Hazard and men of two English regiments together with Auckland volunteers.
They had two 6 pounder brass guns and two 12 pounder carronades from a man of war called HMS Hazard. The force was disembarked from the ship on June 23rd. and the colonel marched up to the Maori stronghold and camped about 500 meters down from it.

On June 24th. the first gunshot was fired and although the four guns kept up a barrage the whole day, the shots had no real effect on the stronghold and the colonel ordered a heavier gun (a 32 pounder) from the ship.
This gun arrived on June 30th. in the morning and right away the 32 pounder opened fire together with the 4 lighter pieces of artillery.

During the bombardment a Maori sortie slipped out of the Pa and circling through the forest surprised the Maori allies and the British piquet protecting a 6 pounder gun on a nearby hill.
The Maori’s shot one soldier, seized the 6 pounder and hauled down the flag of the English there on the hill.

Colonels Despards embarrassment turned into fury when he saw the captured British ensign run up on the Pa’s flagstaff and he determined to storm the Pa the same day.

Colonel Despard imagined that four shot - apparently the soldiers brought only four shot from the ship - of the 32 pounder would have loosened the timber palisades sufficiently to enable his troops to storm the stronghold with success and bring down the Maori force.
Remonstrations of his fellow officers against such a useless attack failed to move the obstinate colonel.
He ordered a storming party to parade directly after the bombardment in the afternoon of the 1st. of July and the troops given a midday meal which for many of the troops was their last.

The troops formed up in the valley beyond the Pa about 100 meters from the stronghold. Now came the awful interval of waiting between bombardment and storming the Pa, the parties taking their appointed places while the rear of them still were throwing shot and shell into the Pa.
Than out blared the bugle “advance”.
There as a quick fire of commandments of the column officers and the troops dashed over the ferny slopes towards the Pa.
The troops were within 50 yards of the palisades and the defenders opened fire. It was a one sided fight.
Gun flashes spurted from the base of the stronghold and from loopholes higher up, with gun smoke hiding the palisades and the attackers stopped deadly in their tracks.
Not a single Maori could be seen since they were safely hidden in their trenches between their strong palisades. And although English troops managed to reach the palisades they were not able to break through.
The Maori fire completely commanded the angle which was the centre of the attack and the Maori gun (the seized 6 pounder) killed and maimed many of the attackers.
Through the din of yelling and musketry the notes of the bugle were heard: “retire” and many British soldiers were gunned down in the withdrawal by Maori fire.
The whole action took only five minutes and within that time more than 40 English soldiers lost their lives and more than 100 were wounded, some mortally and others maimed for life. Almost one third of the English force was out of action in those few minutes.
Many a deed of gallantry and devotion illumined the tragedy of that retreat, several men returned through hot fire to carry off wounded comrades.

The total of Maori losses are not known but couldn’t have exceeded ten killed.

After this defeat the English remained camped near the Pa, keeping up a intermittent bombardment during 10 days with the 32 pounder and the other lighter guns, for which new shot was hauled from the ship.

It was Maori custom to leave a Pa when blood was spilled and after the ten day bombardment, when the English dared another attack, the Maori force had withdrawn during one of the nights after the battle.

In January 1846 there was a last decisive battle where the remaining Maori’s lost their independence to the English.

If you like this story I can make others up. There still is Gallipoli, Balaclava, Modderspruyt, Dunkerque, the Boxers of Peking, Trafalgar, etc.

After this bloodbath of 150 years ago (somewhat totally different from bathing in hot springs) we are now at Paihia.

Tomorrow we will go south again, direction Auckland.

The largest Kauri tree ever


You just saw Ankie standing for the largest (left) Kauri tree here in New Zealnd.
This is an old photgraph of an old man standing in front of a large Kauri tree, about a hundred years ago.
That was a big one but, alas, not here anymore.

The biggest Kauri tree in New Zealand


Here you can see Ankie near the biggest Kauri tree in New Zealand called "Tane Mahuta" which means in Maori "Old Father".
The tree is more than 50 meters high, but you can't see that because I couldn't back up more because of other large trees around the largest one.

Majestic Forest Giants (Majestueuse Woudreuzen)

This day we visited Waipua forest because of the largest Kauri trees to be found on the North Island.

Look at the large trunk of the tree!!


As I wrote we had lunch near a big piece of stone called Maungaraho Rock Scenic Reserve.

You can see how big the rock is, compared to our campervan.

Majestic Forest Giants (Majestueuse Woudreuzen)

It’s November 29th. 2009 and we have rather nice weather.
Being on a holiday requires good weather and although we started this morning with rain (in a place called Red Beach on the West Coast of the North Island) the rain stopped somewhere during the morning and since than it is nice and warm.

So we left Red Beach (didn’t see any beach because it started raining just after we left the boat from Tiri Tiri Mangati and the rain stopped as I wrote, somewhere during the trip in the morning) and went up north.

This day was all about the Kauri.
The Kauri is one of the most well known native trees of New Zealand and probably the oldest living here.
If the New Zealanders wouldn’t have had the Kiwi, they would have chosen the name Kauri’s for their rugby team (or maybe another name, I don’t know of course).

In the morning we stopped at a place called Matakohe.
Tomorrow I won’t remember the name anymore; it’s every day the same.
In Matakohe there is the Kauri Museum.
Our guide tells us that this museum is one of the “Must See” exhibitions of New Zealand and so we went visiting it.

The museum provides “a stimulating insight into the Kauri theme”.
As I wrote before every village and town has at least one museum so there are lots of museums in New Zealand and every one is awesome, stimulating, magnificent, breathtaking, beautiful, very cool, enthralling, superb and so but about these later on.
This one is “stimulating”.

What do you see:
All kinds of old photographs of men cutting down Kauri trees,
transporting parts of Kauri trees, etc.
You must know that Kauri wood has been used by the settlers and boat builders** and house builders since the islands were discovered by Captain Cook, and remained to do so till almost no Kauri tree was left standing in the woods.

There is, as far as we know, only one forest (Waipoua Forest) in which a few large Kauri trees still stand.

** The boat building business was the most killing for the Kauri trees
because its wood could be very well used for building wooden ships.
So a large part of the English fleet at that time was built from English
oak (there is almost no oak tree left in England more than a 100 years
old) and New Zealand Kauri wood. And, as we all know, the English
fleet was very big around 1800. As a matter of fact the English fleet
was the largest and the mightiest at that time.

In this Kauri museum you can see furthermore:
- all kinds of things made of Kauri wood like cupboards, utensils, statues,
pots, children’s toys, war clubs (Maori), etc.
- all kind of things made of Kauri gum (Kauri gum - or amber - is the
fluid which flows out of the tree when branches break off and hardens).
The Kauri tree is millions of years old (our guide tells us and so they
found amber/Kauri gum of million years ago and since the gum was
used for lots of purposes, there was a lot of “gum digging” around 1800,
again photographed around that time and with many, many dug up large
and small pieces of gum,
- china and earthenware from around the tree felling and gum digging
period (what else have they got?),
- books of those times, murals, tables, wine barrels (of Kauri wood of
course), stairs of Kauri wood, photographs of Kauri built racing yachts,
- the inevitable blacksmith’s workshop with tools (of course) with
lifelike models and realistic scenes,
- a quality six room (?) of a 1900 home, fully furnished with original
decor, dressed models giving “a fascinating insight”!!!,
- an original school giving a glimpse of early education in New Zealand,
complete with desks, pens, maps, books again, etc.
- “Magnificent” timber panels (Kauri wood), carvings, horse racing
Trophies,
- souvenir shop with beautiful Kauri souvenirs, books (again), postcards,
clocks (didn’t see any), Kauri gum jewelry, etc. and caps, hats, shawls,
mittens, gloves, sweaters, socks, etc. made of merino, alpaca and
possum wool,
- the old post office with realistic models, old equipment and old
postcards,
- the Pioneer Church built in 1867,
- the cemetery,
- and much, much more.

After lunch near a very big rock ( the name I forgot already) we went to visit Waipoua Forest because of the biggest Kauri trees left in New Zealand.
And, I must admit, the biggest one (Tane Mahuta which means something like “old father” in Maori), was very big. Our guide tells us that the tree is probably 2000 years old and that is old, I can tell you readers.

After these exciting undertakings we landed in Opononi, a small village on the west coast of the North Island. We have a nice place on the camping ground and I think we will walk the beach after dinner.
We just had some cheese and some drinks and Ankie is now preparing dinner.
Since I did my chores this morning (taking in fresh water and dumping the grey water and the garbage) I don’t have to do anything anymore today.
When you read this, it’ll be Monday because today there is no internet.
I hope tomorrow we’ll find a place with wireless.

All is well and the holiday is very nice till now.
Nothing about sheep because we almost saw none today.

Tiri Tiri Matangi

Today is Saturday, 28th November 2009.
Yesterday we camped on the seaside near an Island called Tiri Tiri Matangi. It was not a camping (just on the side of the road near the harbour) and we didn’t have to pay to stay overnight. There was water so we had everything we needed.
The reason why here was that we wanted to visit this island because there are very beautiful birds over there, but first I’ll write about our experiences on Friday 27th.

Since we are going north on the North island of New Zealand we passed a bay in which lies the Cathedral Cove. This cove is well known around here because there is a kind of big and rocky arch on the beach which looks like a cathedral and you guessed that already.
The weather was nice and warm and we took the hike to this beach and it was fun because of the good weather and the sandy beaches.
There were big signs next to the arch to be very careful because a part of it caved in lately. But we walked under it and nothing happened.

I must say that the country here is beautiful. Around - almost – every corner you can see something different and driving around here is nice. There are mountains, streams, beautiful forests, rocky coasts and white and black beaches, birds, cows and of course sheep although there are more sheep on the South Island and you knew that already as well.

I wrote a few times that the South Island seems to have much more sheep than here on the North Island.
Ankie read somewhere that there are 22 different kinds of sheep.
I can’t remember them all but here we go:
- black sheep,
- white sheep,
- black and white sheep,
- Merino sheep (the wool is very soft),
- dead sheep,
- live ones,
- small ones (lambs they call ‘m over here),
- big ones (they are called sheep),
- flat sheep,
- cooked sheep,
- steamed sheep,
- boiled sheep,
- grilled sheep,
- burned sheep (you don’t see these very much),
- and others of which I don’t now the names anymore.


For people who love sheep, New Zealand must be heaven (really).

There are lots of Possums too. The “Opossum” is a pest here in New Zealand and - if you wanted to - you could buy a gun and shoot as much possums as you can and they would love you for it.
There are two kinds of possums:
- flat and dead ones (you can see these on every road),
- live ones (you usually see these only at night).

Wildlife in New Zealand is very exciting and there are lots of other animals in New Zealand like:
- deer,
- cats (sometimes flat),
- cows,
- dogs,
- rats,
- mice,
- Alpaca’s (the wool of Alpaca’s is very soft and THE thing to buy here
in New Zealand is something of Alpaca wool in combination with
Merino wool and/or possum hair/wool. This is very soft material and of
course really expensive. I can understand this very well. Imagine you
have to drive along lots of roads, find the flat possums, skin them, mix
their hair with Merino and Alpaca wool and weave it into what you
want like:
- caps,
- sweaters,
- shawls,
- socks,
- etc.

We saw also a few Llama’s.
Ankie saw a shop with the name “Chipmunks” so they probably have those here as well.

Today we went visiting Tiri Tiri Matangi Island.
In Maori language this means: “tossed by the wind”. Luckily there was not much wind, the temperature was OK and now and than we even had a little sun, when walking on the island.
We went by boat (the name of the boat is “Tiri Kat”) and it took about half an hour to get to the island.
It is a bird sanctuary and they have kiwi’s (the grey spotted kiwi and since they are night animals we didn’t see any of course), penguins (we found a dead one and Ankie made a picture of that bird because it was only the third penguin we have seen!! After two live ones on the South Island a few weeks ago) and they have other birds like:
- Whiteheads (we saw one),
- Kakariki (a green parakeet with a read head and I made a picture of two),
- Stitchbird (as far as I know we saw none and the Maori name is “hihi”),
- Takahe and when used to people it picks the food out of your backpack,
- and lots of other birds of which I don’t remember the names anymore.
It was a nice day on the island, we saw both sides of the island, we sat a few times on a beach here and there and we saw lots of native trees (brought back to the island after the old ones were cut down hundreds of
years ago by farmers, boat builders, etc.).

So today was a nice day and tomorrow we will be going north again.
About that I’ll tell more tomorrow or the day after.

Golf.
Practically every village and town has a golf course.
If there are 5 houses in a row you can bet your ass that there is a golf course around.

Traffic.
We have been in traffic twice. Once when we got off the boat in Wellington (Friday evening around 5 o’clock in the afternoon) and yesterday (around three in the afternoon, passing Auckland up north).

Meat.
The best meat we bought till now was porterhouse steak.
You can get sirloin steak too, but the porterhouse was nicer.
In general (I think) meat here is cheap and I know why; lot’s of cows and big steers around (and sheep).

Houses.
Most houses in New Zealand are one story houses (only ground floor).
Most are built of wood with corrugated iron roofs.
Houses with two floors you don’t see often (maybe this has to do with:
- lots of building ground available,
- the possibility of an earthquake and a one floor house is more stable?
I don’t know.


You can buy a house in a packet (they are advertised everywhere).
We looked in to that (My wife’s third name is Aagje) and found out that you can buy a four bedroom house, with dining room and living room and all the garages and bathrooms and whatever, for lets say Euris 150.000,-- or 175.000,--. (this is apart from the land of course to build on).
And I think (apart from all kind of building regulations which apply in Holland) such a house in Holland would cost at least double the price.

Police
Not many police around and (we think) not much crime.

Shoes
Apparently a lot of New Zealanders are poor because lots of people don’t wear shoes or they don’t like ‘m.

Well this is it for today.
Tomorrow is another day.

vrijdag 27 november 2009

The Pohutukawa


The Pohutukawa is one of New Zealands most beautiful trees when blossoming.
Look at the red blossoms.
It is called the New Zealand Christmas tree beacuse it blossoms d uring the X-mas season.
It is strange to drive around a country with lots of green and flowers and hear christmas ads on the radio and see x-mas trees in the shopwindows.
Merry Christmas everybody and a happy new year. In stead of Christmas cards.

The Takahe.

The takahe is a rare bird the New Zealanders thought to be extinct but..........luckily for these people here there are a few left and I made a picture of one and that is a miracle (or maybe it's a miracle, I don't know).
The Takahe is close family of the Pukeko.
So, that you know.

Two Kakariki's on Tiri Tiri Matangi island

Here you see two Kakariki's (red headed green parakeet).
These birds can be heard by their loud chatter "kikikikikikikiikkiikiki"as they fly speedily above the forst canopy.

in Amsterdam and Rotterdam you have family of these birds flying around. There they are a little bigger.

Cathedral Cove


Another picture of the beach near Cathedral Cove.
A beach like this in your backyard would be something, wouldn'it?

Cathedral Cove

My picture of Cathedral Cove.
In the left you see Ankie walking through the arch.
As you can see the weather was nice and warm and the beach was white.

Working on the road near Hahei


When driving around in New Zealand you see a lot of "working on the road".
Lots of new "seal" on the road.
You are only allowed to drive 30 KM's an hour (and that is slow) and everything is very relaxed.
Look at the workmen. Not to busy, it seems.

Near Hahei

I wrote about the beach with the name "Hot Water Beach".
This picture was made around 7 in the evening.
It is low tide and when you dig a hole warm water surfaces and you can sit/lie in it and, as you can see, lots of people were digging for warm water.

We walked around a little (it was not really warm outside) and we stood with our feet in little hot water pools to stay warm (or so). I almost burned my feet.

It was fun to see old and young digging for hot water to lie in.

"Old" hotel in Coromandel City


In New Zealand you don't find buildings older than 150 years or so. Before that people lived in wooden/reed houses (Maori).
This is an example of what the New Zealander calls a "historic site" and that's why I made a picture of it (had nothing else to do at the time).

Two days no internet

Today is Saturday, 28th November 2009.
Yesterday we camped on the seaside near an Island called Tiri Tiri Matangi. It was not a camping (just on the side of the road near the harbour) and we didn’t have to pay to stay overnight. There was water so we had everything we needed.
The reason why here was that we wanted to visit this island because there are very beautiful birds over there, but first I’ll write about our experiences on Friday 27th.

Since we are going north on the North island of New Zealand we passed a bay in which lies the Cathedral Cove. This cove is well known around here because there is a kind of big and rocky arch on the beach which looks like a cathedral and you guessed that already.
The weather was nice and warm and we took the hike to this beach and it was fun because of the good weather and the sandy beaches.
There were big signs next to the arch to be very careful because a part of it caved in lately. But we walked under it and nothing happened.

I must say that the country here is beautiful. Around - almost – every corner you can see something different and driving around here is nice. There are mountains, streams, beautiful forests, rocky coasts and white and black beaches, birds, cows and of course sheep although there are more sheep on the South Island and you knew that already as well.

I wrote a few times that the South Island seems to have much more sheep than here on the North Island.
Ankie read somewhere that there are 22 different kinds of sheep.
I can’t remember them all but here we go:
- black sheep,
- white sheep,
- black and white sheep,
- Merino sheep (the wool is very soft),
- dead sheep,
- live ones,
- small ones (lambs they call ‘m over here),
- big ones (they are called sheep),
- flat sheep,
- cooked sheep,
- steamed sheep,
- boiled sheep,
- grilled sheep,
- burned sheep (you don’t see these very much),
- and others of which I don’t now the names anymore.


For people who love sheep, New Zealand must be heaven (really).

There are lots of Possums too. The “Opossum” is a pest here in New Zealand and - if you wanted to - you could buy a gun and shoot as much possums as you can and they would love you for it.
There are two kinds of possums:
- flat and dead ones (you can see these on every road),
- live ones (you usually see these only at night).

Wildlife in New Zealand is very exciting and there are lots of other animals in New Zealand like:
- deer,
- cats (sometimes flat),
- cows,
- dogs,
- rats,
- mice,
- Alpaca’s (the wool of Alpaca’s is very soft and THE thing to buy here
in New Zealand is something of Alpaca wool in combination with
Merino wool and/or possum hair/wool. This is very soft material and of
course really expensive. I can understand this very well. Imagine you
have to drive along lots of roads, find the flat possums, skin them, mix
their hair with Merino and Alpaca wool and weave it into what you
want like:
- caps,
- sweaters,
- shawls,
- socks,
- etc.

We saw also a few Llama’s.
Ankie saw a shop with the name “Chipmunks” so they probably have those here as well.

Today we went visiting Tiri Tiri Matangi Island.
In Maori language this means: “tossed by the wind”. Luckily there was not much wind, the temperature was OK and now and than we even had a little sun, when walking on the island.
We went by boat (the name of the boat is “Tiri Kat”) and it took about half an hour to get to the island.
It is a bird sanctuary and they have kiwi’s ( the grey spotted kiwi and since they are night animals we didn’t see any of course), penguins (we found a dead one and Ankie made a picture of that bird because it was only the third penguin we have seen!! After two live ones on the South Island a few weeks ago) and they have other birds like:
- Whiteheads (we saw one),
- Kakariki (a green parakeet with a read head and I made a picture of two),
- Stitchbird (as far as I know we saw none and the Maori name is “hihi”),
- Takahe and when used to people it picks the food out of your backpack,
- and lots of other birds of which I don’t remember the names anymore.
It was a nice day on the island, we saw both sides of the island, we sat a few times on a beach here and there and we saw lots of native trees (brought back to the island after the old ones were cut down hundreds of
years ago by farmers, boat builders, etc.).

So today was a nice day and tomorrow we will be going north again.
About that I’ll tell more tomorrow or the day after.

Golf.
Practically every village and town has a golf course.
If there are 5 houses in a row you can bet your ass that there is a golf course around.

Traffic.
We have been in traffic twice. Once when we got off the boat in Wellington (Friday evening around 5 o’clock in the afternoon) and yesterday (around three in the afternoon, passing Auckland up north).

Meat.
The best meat we bought till now was porterhouse steak.
You can get sirloin steak too, but the porterhouse was nicer.
In general (I think) meat here is cheap and I know why; lot’s of cows and big steers around (and sheep).

Houses.
Most houses in New Zealand are one story houses (only ground floor).
Most are built of wood with corrugated iron roofs.
Houses with two floors you don’t see often (maybe this has to do with:
- lots of building ground available,
- the possibility of an earthquake and a one floor house is more stable?
I don’t know.


You can buy a house in a packet (they are advertised everywhere).
We looked in to that (My wife’s third name is Aagje) and found out that you can buy a four bedroom house, with dining room and living room and all the garages and bathrooms and whatever, for lets say Euris 150.000,-- or 175.000,--. (this is apart from the land of course to build on).
And I think (apart from all kind of building regulations which apply in Holland) such a house in Holland would cost at least double the price.

Police
Not many police around and (we think) not much crime.

Shoes
Apparently a lot of New Zealanders are poor because lots of people don’t wear shoes or they don’t like ‘m.

Well this is it for today.
Tomorrow is another day.

woensdag 25 november 2009

The last part of my blog was about the waterfall at the burried village.

Ankie in hotpool in Waitake

Tawahi falls

Visiting the three Volcano's we made a hike to the Tawahi falls. Here you can see Ankie near the water.

Waimangui Valley


In the Waimangui Valley there are all sorts of volcanic sights. Steaming holes, little geysers, bubbling mud pools.

Helicopter near Mount Rahapehu


When we visited the three volcano's on the North Island we arrived at a ski village called Iwikau.
A helicopter was moving all kinds of construction materials from one place to another.

Active volcano on North Island

This is one of the three active volcano's on the North Island of New Zealand.
The mountain is so high that it's summit is in the clouds (clierwds).

Kiwi with Egg

Here you see a Kiwi (with egg).
The Kiwi is New Zealand's best known bird and since it is a night bird, you can only see it at night and...................it can't fly and it's sight is very bad and that's why it can't fly in the dark because otherwise it would fly into anything at once.
That's why.

On the road

When we driving around the North Island you can see these kind of mountains; all rather young volcanic mountains.
Today is 26th. November 2009.
We are not sure whether it is Wednesday or Thursday. We have no newspaper or something else to look what is the exact day today (I am writing this off line).
I know now; it is Thursday. (Dat was even schrikken).

Yesterday we were in the neighborhood of Rotorua, a well known place for:
- its Lake
- thermal baths
- scenic lookouts (you’ll find these everywhere)
- hot water springs
- steaming cliffs
- the famous “White and Pink terraces” destroyed in 1886 as consequence
of an eruption of Mount Tarawera (height nowadays 1111 meters)
- the “Buried Village” about which more later.

We camped in a place called Waitake, a camping with hot pools.
The camping was a nonety but the pools were nice (mostly 38 degrees C) and we lay in them all. No swimming, just sitting around in the nice hot water. But I wrote that already yesterday.

The “buried village” (I called it yesterday “ the hidden village by mistake”) was called “Te Wairoa” and I don’t know the reason.
In the same eruption of Mount Tarawera of 1886, this village was smothered under lava, hot ashes, rocks, etc. and some people died.
Nowadays there is a small hike through the diggings of this buried village and it looked like the Chinese gold digging village we visited a week ago on the South Island.
The difference was that lots of artifacts and utensils were grey (from being buried for a long time under ashes of the eruption) in this village and in the other village they were just rusted.
There was a waterfall too and I filmed that one.
But very interesting, of course like most of the events, functions, reserves, lookouts, parks, views here in New Zealand, and we were very, very happy that we didn’t miss this very interesting site.
The New Zealanders know exactly how to attract tourists.

Last night we camped in a place called Whangamata.
It has a beach with rather large waves and some guys were surfing and now and then they succeeded in surfing and that was nice to see.
The beach was very clean and the weather really nice, so we stayed for a few hours on this beach but we didn’t swim (much to cold).

Today we would visited one of THE tourist attractions near the city of Coromandel (well known to the New Zealanders as a historic gold town). It concerns a railway (with a very small track like the rails are only 50 cm’s apart) of not less than 3 Km’s with lots of turns, tunnels (2 but 4 of you go back the same way!! which you have to, otherwise you have to walk down the mountain), bridges, wissels (I don’t know the English name, but I know the “wisselwachter” in German which is: Reichseisenbahnknotenpunkthinundherschieber) and lots of interesting things like:
- pottery along the track (the builder of the railway has a pottery as well),
- empty bottles as walls to keep the earth from burying the track,
- all kinds of rusted iron tools along the track,
- signs with names of trees (Kauri*, Muri, etc.)
- little station buildings built by the potter himself,
- a lookout tower which is called the “Eifeltower” and here too I don’t see
the reason and it does not look like the Eifeltower at all,
- etc.

* About the Kauri I could tell you some stories but I don’t.

After this awesome view in the life of a potter we set for the camping where we are now. We are in a place called Hot Water Beach near a place called Hahei. Hahei is well known for its Cathedral Cove, which we are going to visit tomorrow.
Well, you already understood that there is hot water on the beach.
When it is low tide and you dig holes in the beach near the waterline, water of about 60 degrees C erupts and mixing it with seawater, it should be:
- nice (if not to hot or to cold)
- very healthy because the water contains all sorts of very healthy
minerals like (salt, calcium and all other sorts of very healthy minerals).

The weather is nice today although we have lots of wind (I have never visited a country with so much wind and with so much sheep).
For people who love sheep this must be really heaven, especially the South Island.
Today is Tuesday, 24th. November.
We are in Waitike.
Waitike is well known for its thermal spring, the Waitike Thermal Spring.
But…….about this hotspring later.
First , when we were on the road from where we were the day before yesterday (that was in Wanganui, a dead holiday village on a beach with black sand en nothing more on the south west coast of the North Island of New Zealand; so that you understand where we were) to Motutere on Lake Taupo, there were some things I have to mention:
- no sheep (for people who love sheep, the North Island is certainly not
heaven, compared to the South Island which is really heaven for people
who do love sheep),
- three volcanos (still working) although the last eruption was - as far as
I know - in 1995 (the names of the volcano’s: Mount Ruapehu 2797
meter high, Mount Engauruhoe 2291 meter high - both with their
summits in the cliewrds – and another one of which I can’t remember
the name but not high enough to have its summit in the cliewrds)
- an iron train bridge - The Makatote Viaduct - (a bridge over the river
Kwai look a like) which collapsed during Christmas eve in 1953 during
an earthquake leaving about 150 people dead
- Iwikau village, a ski village, without snow (it’s supposed to be spring or
almost summer over here) and I must say, without much hope for snow
the next winter because of all the snow machines we saw.
This village lies in the Tongariro National Park (the first National park
in New Zealand).
Since there is no snow, the village was dead apart from a helicopter
which was moving construction materials from one place to another.
- the Grand Chateau (something like the large hotel near Lake Louise),
- a hike to a waterfall (Tawahi falls).

After this eventful journey we arrived in Motutere, a place on lake Taupo.
The weather was fine and we sat on the lakeside in the sun, drinking, eating and reading our books (after I did my chores, waste water, tanking water, etc. and cleaning the toilet). We also had a new roll of toiletpaper.

We slept well and this morning and we set for Waitike.
During our trip today we visited the Huka Waterfalls in Taupo, the Waimangui Thermal Valley (lots of hot springs and steam and the stink of rotten eggs), the Moon Crater National Scenic, Geothermal, wildlife and heritage Park (with steam out of fissures in the ground and a mud - bubbling - crater) and lots of other things like waterfalls, scenic lookouts, historic places and Maori whatever’s.

And in the end of the day (it was 15.00 hours) we found this camping with thermal pools, springs and spa.
The water is about 38 degrees and it’s nice to lay in the sun in such a pool.
Ankie did some laundry and we cleaned the campervan.

Now it is past nine and I am going to end this story of today and yesterday.
When you read this it will be Wednesday (no internet here in Waitike but they have sheep. (For people who love sheep, etc. etc).

All is well with us.
Tomorrow we will visit Rotorua with near by “the hidden city” a New Zealand Pompei but then here in New Zealand.
And after Rotorua (we will buy groceries there, I hope) we will drive to Waihi on the east coast of the North Island.

zondag 22 november 2009

Strand Wanganui

Ankie near a big treetrunk on the beach of Wanganui. The picture is a little dark, but that is because the sand is black.
This is a volcanic area and that's why there is black sand.
Sunday, 22nd. November 2009,
Castle Cliff Seaside Holiday Park Wanganui.
Wanganui is on the west coast of the North
Island.
It’s mostly flat country here and on the seaside
there are dunes (black sand).

This is the camping where we are now today.
As you understand we are near the seaside.
Only a two minute walk from the camping to
the sea.
The road from Wellington (as a matter of fact
it was a township near Wellington called
Lower Hutt) to Wanganui was uneventful,
although we had a piece of road of about
30 Km’s with only one lane, with lots of
hairpins and other corners. This was a tiring
piece of road……. and you never knew
whether somebody else was driving in the
opposite direction.
So I honked a lot as a sign that somebody was
coming: “us”.

We started with rain and after a while it
dried up, the sun showed now and than
(we bought groceries in a place called Levin)
and when we arrived we sat in the sun,
next to our campervan, reading our books.

We had lunch on the beach of Waitarere
(I will never remember these names because
of Alzheimer, Korsakov and the
unspeakable names of the places here).

About places with difficult names.
On the North Island is a village with a
name which has at least 100 letters or more.
I wonder whether people are able to pronounce
this name even if they live over there.
It starts like:
Taumatawhakatanghihangakoaauauotama
and so on.

This village lies near Porangahau, on the south
east coast of the northern island.
If you don’t believe it, look it up on the map.

We made a hike to the sea and on the beach
for a few hours this afternoon.
There was not much to see (besides the sea and
waves, black sand, all kinds of trunks on the
beach and not too many shells and the sky)
and almost no people on the beach.
And there are floating stones (If you don’t
believe this, ask Ankie) a sort of lime stones,
with lots of holes in them like cheese.

After we returned we drank something and
ate something like cheese and salmon on
toast and we swapped books with the camping
library.
In half an hour we’ll have dinner, Ankie will
do the dishes and we’ll read again for an hour
or so and go to bed.

Nothing much to remember but for us a good
day of our vacation.

About vacations.
Lots of motels and B & B’s have vacancies.
Must be lucky people to have their holiday
when we are here.
And then there is something else; when they
have no holiday they have a sign which says:
“no vacancy” which means they are at home.
Strange people those New Zealanders.

About cars.
On the southern island we mostly saw Toyota’s, Datsuns/Nissans and Fords. Almost no other car brands.
On the northern island you see the same but more other brands like VW, Saab and even, now and than, a Volvo.

About Supermarkets.
Most supermarkets are open on Sundays.


About sheep.
People who love sheep have to go to the
South Island of New Zealand.
As far as I can see on that island are the
most sheep.They also keep sheep on the
north island but there are much more sheep
on the South Island (as far as we can see in
two days).
For people who love sheep the South Island
must be really heaven.

So this is it for this Sunday.
I’ll try to get this on my blog tomorrow-
morning, which is then: today.

zaterdag 21 november 2009

Sheep

In Wellington there are no sheep (at least we saw none).
For people who love sheep, Wellington is certainly not heaven.
Today is Sunday.
We are on our way now north on the North Island, direction Upper Hutt (I think).

vrijdag 20 november 2009

Ankie doing her favorite chores

Ankie in the camper, doing her dayly favorite chores.

Wedding pictures near Te Papa, Wellington

Leaving the museum there was this couple having pictures taken in front of the museum.
This is certainly something else than seals or flowers.

Ankie by a large GREENSTONE in Te Papa


Ankie near a large piece of greenstone, the material of which the Maori made jewelry, weapens and utensils.
This picture was teken in the National Museum Te Papa in Wellington.

Wellington

On Saturday November 21st. we stayed in Wellington.
It rained almost the whole day (“We are going on a summer holiday” after Cliff Richard) and this was a good reason to visit the national museum of New Zealand, the Te Papa National Museum of New Zealand.
Ankie wanted to see this museum anyway, so we went.

The outside is OK but not as spectacular as, for instance, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (well known by some people as the Koekenhijm Mjoesieum).
I know one can differ about art. So I won’t indulge in the things lots of people call art in the Koekenhijm in Bilbao and, since we are in Wellington I’ll keep to the artifacts and art and all they show here in the Te Papa Museum.

I was a little bit skeptical about this museum and my expectations weren’t very high, I must admit (according to the museums every village and every town here boasts). But, I was really amazed about what we have seen here today.
If somebody writes (or says): “You have to go to the Te papa” than he is so right! I have seen some museums around the world and this one is in my top 5.
I have never seen a museum which is so informative about all kinds of different matters like:
- how New Zealand was created as the consequence of the coming
together of two tectonic plates accompanied with a virtual ride to a deep
sea volcano,
- the New Zealand treasure of the “Greenstone” of which the Maori made
beautiful artifacts like weapons but jewelry (lots of pendants) as well,
- the geological forces that shape New Zealand’s landscape (including a
visit to a house which shakes during an earthquake; it’s awesome),
- the amazing variety of New Zealand’s animals and plants (with
skeletons of all the animals and birds who live in and around New
Zealand and lots of dioramas about wildlife)
- lots about the Maori (how they lived, how they warred, how they
survived in the hostile environment on some coasts of New Zealand,
their houses and meeting places (nowadays we call ‘m community halls),
their ships, their tenacity in both world wars, etc.
- modern architecture with beautiful pieces of work (we have “Manhattan
on the Maas” but you should see Wellington),
- contemporary art (we even thought we saw one of Lex’s paintings but
there is apparently a painter who made “written paintings” as well),
- (They have Rembrandt’s too!!)

- a large exhibition about the Treaty between westerners and Maori to
create New Zealand as it is now (politically),
- Tapa (bark cloth), the traditional clothing of the Maori,
- lot’s of information for kids with workshops, etc etc.
- lot’s about the islands around New Zealand in the Pacific which we call
“Oceania” , the people and living over there, etc.
- an exhibition about people from all over the world who made New
Zealand their new homeland (Hungary, Scotland, Ireland, India,
Holland, China - of which we visited the remains of their
gold digging village on the South Island a week ago - and lots of other
countries),
- an exhibition about household utensils (like Boymans has too),
- an exhibition about modern silver and gold jewelry,
- an exhibition about the biggest squid ever caught in the sea with
beautiful movies about the catch, how they examined the beast, etc. etc.
- etc.etc.etc.

We were almost four hours at they museum and we didn’t have the time to see everything and all.
In short, it was worthwhile and really nice.
Now we are back at the camping.
I did my chores (clean water, getting rid of the grey and other water, etc.) and again I am hammering away.
It is still raining.

Our food.
If we don’t eat we will starve, so we buy groceries almost every day.
In larger towns, like Wellington, there are lots of supermarkets and big ones.
In smaller towns and villages sometimes there is only one shop (and this not seldom the local gas station as well).
In the big supermarkets you can get everything you want (they are bigger than Albert Heyn in Holland but about as big as the Sobey’s in Nova Scotia).
When we are in a bigger city we buy more and in ten villages we only (often) buy the things we really need.
What do we eat?
- In the morning: breakfast.
Bread with cheese and jam, honey, strawberries, cereal (Ankie), tea.
Ankie makes also coffee for “on the road”.




- Lunch around 13.oo ‘o clock.
If possible I try (we try) to find a nice place with a view (and often we
Succeed doing so).
We eat bread with cheese, some meat like salami, honey, ham, roast
Beef, salmon (tinned), tomatoes, honey.
We drink milk (usually).
- Before dinner.
We eat toast with cheese and smoked salmon and or soup.
We drink wine or some other spirit or so (whatever we have with
alcohol).
- Dinner.
Ankie always makes dinner.
Meat (Porterhouse or Sirloin steak or schnitzels – pork - or chicken but
Also salmon and, for instance tomorrow chicken liver, ha, ha, ha, ha)
and vegetables such as beans, broccoli, spinach, maize, carrots, etc. and
a salad of some kind.
And we drink a glass of wine (or two).
The day before we had a good wine called “Jacob’s Creek” from
New Zealand (Very good stuff).
For desert we often have yoghurt or fruit.
When we are driving we eat KitKat, fruit and other sweets.
In the evening we drink a glass of tea.

This is it for today.
It is still raining and we hope that the weather will be better tomorrow.
Tomorrow we will go somewhere else, but I don’t know where (Ankie will decide).

donderdag 19 november 2009

Seal in New Zealand



En om het af te leren nog een foto van de zeehond die we gisteren ontdekten aan de kust bij Foulwind Bay (of zoiets).

On the ferry from Picton to Wellington

When we arrived at the coast of the north island of New Zealand I made this picture of one of the capes near Wellington.

Flowers along the road to Picton


The road from Murchison to Picton


On our way to Picton we saw lots of beautiful orange flowers along the road.
I made a picture of those flowers.
On the left you see vinyards.
This is in the neighbourhood of the city of Blenheim and there are lots of vinyards there.


Seals on the coast of the South island.

Arrived at the North Island

Today is Friday 20th. November 2009.
We started this morning in Murchison, on the southern island.
We woke up at eight and an hour later we hit the road to Picton.
On the way to Picton nothing special happened. We crossed lots of one lane bridges (we allways seem to have to give right of way to the other side; it's the same in chosing a qeue in the supermarket, allways in the wrong lane) but, since there is not much traffic (we saw this morning even three cars and a bus in one row and this is a mircale) we could drive through almost every time we arrived at a bridge.
Those New Zealanders are not the most stupid people on earth. When you need a bridge, why build one with two lanes if one lane is enough?

The New Zealanders drink very much (I found out and I feel at home here; but alas no Ketel I)
We were on a campground and there were baskets for garbage (caarbits):
- one for rubbish (non recyclable stuff)
- one for paper
- one for plastic (bottles)
- one for carton
- one for metal (for cola tins, etc.) ....................................................
- and four for glass (beerbottles).
And the basket for carton was full of beercartons (they don't use crates for beer, only cartons).

Our trip to Picton was uneventfull and we could drive rather fast although now and than we had lots of wind.
When we arrived at Picton we bought ourselves the boatticket and one half hour later we were on the boat to Wellington.
Because there was (still) much wind we were mostly on one of the covered decks (the sundeck was to cold) and that was it.
In Wellington we had our first trafficjam (Friday evening around 18.00 hours did probably the trick) but soon enough we found a camping where I am right now, hammering away.
Ankie did some laundry and for a change (we do this every afternoon) we had:
- Port Salut (or something like that),
- blue cheese which is called: "Blue Vein" (Sharp with a bite)
- smoked (New Zealand) salmon,
everything on toast.
And this together with some drinks (of course).

So, this is it for today.
I have to correct something.
The New Zealander doesn't say "Cloudy" but (better than I wrote somewehere before) :
"Cliewdy". So you understand a little about the language here.

Greetings from Wellington and till the next time.

woensdag 18 november 2009

Beautiful views


Driving along the east coast of the souther island we saw lots of mountains.
The "Southern Alps" are beautiful.
So, this is it for today.
"Maybe tomorrow, maybe tonight,
It's a wonderfull feeling,
To see you back on my site"
(vrij naar een popnummer van 30 of 40
jaar geleden).

Weka


Since most animals in New Zealand are protected (except possums and rabbits as far as I know) you can see often signs on the side of the road to be carafull when driving.
We also saw lots of Possums, dead on the road.

The "Weka" a New Zealand wild chicken


On the west coast of the southern island you can often see the "Weka" (Most birds in New Zealand are called after the sound they make).
The Weka is a chickenlike bird which is not afraid of people at all. You can almost touch them.

Another seal at Cape Foulwind

After we filmed the first seal Ankie sat in the sun (the sun was shining later on the day) and I went to look for more seals. After some climbing on the rocky coast (I am a well known climber as most of you might know) I found another seal.

I was able to get very near this seal (about three meters distance only) and it ignored me (if I were the seal I would have done the same) and I made some ten small videos.

It is still different from the seals in Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam.

Seal at Cape Foulwind

The seal we saw at Cape Foulwind.

Cape Foulwind (maybe somebody farted?)

Ankie went looking for more gold but she couldn't find more so we both left for Cape Foulwind. First we had our lunch in a restaurant with a deck, from which we could look over the bay of Cape Foulwind. Was really nice and the chowder was very good.

After we finished lunch we hiked to the cape and, guess what, we saw a seal. So I made this little video.

Old goldmineshaft


To get the gold, the people at that time had to dig holes in the ground to reach the goldore. So they made lots of shafts in the hills around the coast. This is a picture of an old shaft; look at the rusted rails on which the trolleys, full of ore (coming out of the mine) were pushed to some sort of crushingmachine.
When they were emptied, the men had to push the empty trolley back, into the mine again (if they don't do that they run out of empty trolleys, ain't it?)
There is light on the end of the shaft, because they dug the whole mountain behind it, away.
Sorry, this is not a very exciting picture, but not all of my photos can be spectacular.

GOLD !!!!!

The whole westcoast of the southern island is well known for its goldmines. Our guide tells us that at the time they found gold in New Zealand it was one large pandimonium (the guide says that Klondike was nothing compared to what happened here on the south island around 1870).

So we vesited an ancient goldmine and guess what, Ankie found a nuggett of about EUR 500,-!

I left her there for looking for more gold and I went off to Cape Foulwind. The name has probably to do with ships that run aground on this rocky coast.

Punakaiki Pancake rocks and other rocks

Punakaiki Pancake rocks


This morning, November 19th. we left Greymouth and it rained (a little). We set for Murchison, in the middle of the southern island.
After an hour or so we reached Punakaiki, which is famous for its "pancake rocks" (see picture) and its blowholes (the guide told us).
The pancake rocks are special.
The blowholes we didn't see.
But all in all it was a nice stop apart from the drizzsle now and than.

Hokitaki


A picture of the centre of the big city of Hokitaki on the west coast of the southern island of New Zealand.
In the background you can see the "Southern Alps".
Hokitaki is famous for its New Zealand Jade.
Practically half of the shops in this town sell jade jewellery of typical New Zealand style (Maori style).

Franz Josef Glacier


The F J glacier again, but from a totally different angle and without clieds and with lots of sun and still very cold and uninviting (that's something else, don't you think?)

Franz Josef Glacier


The Franz Josef Glacier from another angle and..................look, no clouds (clieds).

Franz Josef Glacier


The Frans Josef Glacier lies moreless next to teh Fox Glacier. They are both:
- cold
- made of ice (pressed snow)
- of the same colour.
The diffrence between teh both glaciers is that the Fox glacier has lots of clouds (clieds; see the pictures) and the Franz Josef glacier has no clouds at all.

Fox Glacier


The end of the glacier (in 1750 the end of the glacier was at least a kilometer farther to the west and the glacier is still getting shorter and shorter (global warming and all).

Fox Glacier


The "mouth" of the glacier, morealess in the middle of the picture.
Lots of glaciers have a "mouth", a sort of cave at the end of the glacier.

Fox Glacier

Ankie near the Fox Glacier (It was not to cold but there was not much sun either).

dinsdag 17 november 2009

Fox Glacier



Fox Glacier from another point of view.

Fox Glacier


Fox Glacier.
This is one of the two or three glaciers on the west coast of the southern island of New Zealand.

Rainforest


A large part of the southern and western coast of the southern island of New Zealand consists of rainforest.
Interesting are the ferns on trunks like here almost in the middle of the picture.
They are everywhere.
Something totally different from our garden in Capelle aand en IJssel.


Haast Beach.

Beautiful but cold and the water is very cold too; no warm gulfstream on the coast of New Zealand.

Now in Greymouth

Today is Wednesday (or Tuesday) the 18th. November of the year of our lord of 2009 or so. I don’t know the exact day because I don’t keep track of the days.

I’ll start with yesterday.
We were at the Fox Glacier, mid western Southern Island.
Glaciers look more or less the same.
But still they are different and, since we don’t have a glacier at home, it’s always exciting to see one and look at it.
We saw a big glacier, some 20 years ago, in northern Pakistan near the Rakaposhi mountain, even walked on that glacier and it was awesome.
We saw glaciers in north west British Columbia (the southern part of Alaska near Stewart; three or four in a row) and we saw glaciers in the Rockies, like Edith Clavell (she was a sort of Canadian Florence Nightingale, shot by the Germans during the first world war somewhere in Flanders) and, well, this was beautiful again.

Today we were at Franz Josef (as I thought yesterday the late Emperor Franz Jozef of Austria), a little town called after the glacier next to this town.
Today the weather was fantastic. No clouds (they say here “clieds” or something like that – the New Zealanders speak a language which I only
can follow with difficulty I must admit, although I think I speak or at least understand English rather well ) and we had consequently lots of sun.

The glacier (Franz Josef) looked very good (as good as a glacier can look) and we had fun seeing the sites.

After visiting this glacier we went north to Hokitika where we lunched somewhere on the coast (with a sea view).
Those names here in New Zealand; they are so different that I can’t remember most of them (Korsakov plays a role maybe too).

We visited the gold town Ross and we saw real gold nuggets.
That’s something totally different from Chicken Nuggets and the latter taste much better.
In Ross they are still digging for gold nowadays.
After Ross we arrived in the city of Greymouth (on the mouth of the river Grey). The camping is OK and we will stay here for the night.
Tomorrow we will head north.


This evening/night we had dinner together with a Belgian couple whom we met already 4 or 5 times during our trip trough the southern part of New Zealand. Almost every 2nd day we meet them at some camping and it is nice to have conversations about:
- the federalization of Belgium
- “De Syphon” in Damme
- the weather in New Zealand
- Buys Ballot’s law (the wind should come from the east but comes from
the west)
- beer
- world politics (Bush and Obama)
- our kids and grandchildren
- food
- etc.

Driving around here in New Zealand means seeing lots and lots of sheep.
For people who love sheep, this must really be heaven (I am sure).

Greetings from Greymouth (New Zealand).
And till the next time.

Haast Beach


Ankie near driftwood (very large tree trunk) on Haast Beach.
We were the only ones on this beach at the time.

maandag 16 november 2009

From Manapouri to Haast and to Franz Jozef

Today is Tuesday.
I found an internet-cafe on the camping where we are staying right now.
It's difficult because:
- there is almost no space (everybody wants to do something on the internet it seems)
- there is no Wifi (so NO pictures today, alas)

The day before yesterday we were at Wanaka. At the lake.
Beautiful camping with a nice vista on the mountains we were going to.
The waether was still cold and very windy so there was not much to do than....take a hike, which we did.
Just next to our camping was avineyard and we went there.
They apperantly grow lots of diffrent wines like:
- caberne sauvignon,
- pinot noir,
- riesling ,
- gewurztraminer,
- and others.

We walked between the wines to the lake.
We saw some rabbits and the lake of course.

The next day, yesterday, we went to Haast (Haast beach).
We had a nice camping (with lots of fishermen having a party) and we took a walk on the beach.
It was still very windy but we had some sun and the walk was nice.
Didn't see any penguins or seals or something like that.
Made some beautiful pictures (we hope) but you'll have to wait till the next time or the time there-after.
Just when we came back to our van it started to rain again, so we kept ourselves dry.

Today, Tuesday, we drove form Haast to Fox-glacier. It was a "long and winding road" ** again but the views were nice.
** See/listen to : " The long and winding road" of the Beatles
Somewhere we made a stop and wanted to look at seals again but when we came to the place where they should be we were fucked (sorry) again (it appeared to take a walk of at least 3.5 hours over a pebbly beach) and we thought that was a little to much, considering that it was already later in the afternoon.
We walked however on this beach for a little and set for Fox Glacier after that.
Fox Glacier is one of the biggest glaciers on the west coast of South Island.
We drove to the car-park and walked, as far as we could, to the "mouth" of the glacier.
As you may know, lots of glaciers have a sort of cave at the end of the glacier.
We saw that for instance in Canada (Edith Clavell).
All in all it was a very nice hike and the vistas were awesome.
We had to cross some little streams (jumping from stone to stone) and I made pictures of Ankie, but she didn't fall in the water.
When we arrived back by our campervan it started raining again so we kept dry feet this time as well.

We are now in Franz Jozef (I still have to find out where the name comes from; probably an Austrian Prince who visited the glacier some 100 years ago or some other guy with the name).
Franz Jozef is only 25 Km's from Fox Glacier.
Tomorrow morning we will visit this Glacier (Franz Jozef) as well and we'll see what happens:
- will Ankie stay dry?
- will the weather be nice?
- will there be lots of tourists like Japanese (Japanese women who stick up their umbrellas when
the sun shines so they don't get coloured; I told one of them that it wasn't raining at the time
and she was looking at me with very big eyes) who walk right before you when you are taking
a picture?
- will there be sheep around as practicly allways (In New Zealand there are some 4.5/5 million
sheep; for people who love sheep, this must be heaven, really!!)?
- do we have to pay or not?

I gat a pain in my neck because the PC stands much higher than my little chair I sit on, so I am
ending this part of my blog soon.

Everything is OK out here.
We are both very much alive and enjoy our holiday to the max.

Tomorrow we are heading for Hokipika and Greymouth.
I wonder what we will see tomorrow but I'm sure there will be lots and lots of sheep around (and cows for that matter).
For people who like cows, New Zealand is heaven too (lots of cows around).

Till the next time.

vrijdag 13 november 2009

Complaint



This picture was made by Ankie.

What will happen if the sea runs dry to the left side of the picture? What will become of sealife? Where are we going to swim in summer? Where are we going to put the sailingboat which Manu is going to buy for me? How powerfull the ships engines must be to sail from left to right?

All serious questions to be answered soon and if not...........?

Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the 15th. November, we will drive from Manapouri to Queenstown and, depending on weather and the road (wet or dry), we will end up in Wanaka.
Wanaka is famous because of:
- lake Wanaka
- the river Clutha (which runs into Lake Wanaka),
- all sorts of outdoor recreation like hiking, mounteneering, fishing, paragliding, bungyjumping,
rafting, jetboating, etc. (all in summer),
- Mount Aspiring National Park,
- wintersports in the winter,
- sheep,
If you love sheep, Wanaka must be heaven on earth.
- retirees (the climate is apperently nice).

We'll find out tomorrow and I will inform you all in due course.

See you later.

Seals on the rocks


Another picture of seals near the sea on the Doubtful Sound. Luckily there was a spell of better weather so the picture is OK.
We are now back at our campground (it's late) and I going to stop for today.
It was a nice day of our vacation and although we had lots of rain (Ankie even got very wet on the boat, when she was up deck, when the boat was going through a big wave) I can advise everybody to visit this part of New Zealand, but you have to love rain and sandflies.
For people who love sandflies this is really heaven.

seals

When we reached the sea we saw seals on the rocks.
This made our (wet) day a little.
Seals like water so they don't mind whether it rains or not.