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.

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.

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).

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).

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.

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

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.