Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas in New Zealand

Pohutakawa flowers, our New Zealand Christmas tree is the Pohutakawa around this time it bursts out into a bright red display of cheery blooms.

Christmas in New Zealand is celebrated with blues skies and warm sunny days, a time for families to gather to exchange gifts and good wishes, to attend a Church service for many, to celebrate Christ, the reason for the season,then to over indulge in great feasts of food. For many generations Christmas dinner was an exact copy of English dinners with roast turkey or chicken with all the trimmings, plus a ham, followed by hot heavy Christmas puddings and Christmas cake, but now days many head to the beach for a barbecue or picnic, a much more relaxed meal, but, I shall be taking my old Mother along with us to Springlands Tavern to a Christmas Dinner buffet, as we have for the last 10 years. so we shall be having a big feast of the old style Christmas dinner. This way I don't have to prepare all that food and nor do I have to clear up afterwards, instead we can just rest up and 'enjoy' the feel of an over full tummy, and remember Christmas's gone by.

Christmas lilies; a sure sign that it is Christmas, although many people suffer from allergies still lots of us Kiwis have a big bunch of these beautiful lilies in-doors, bringing a fragrance that is rather over powering but very Christmasy to us.

This is My World at Christmas time.

A warm Merry Christmas to you all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cruise Ship in Picton Harbour

This is the ninth posting for the My World meme . It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar,Sandy, Wren, Louise and fishing guy. Last week there were 101 people showing their worlds to us. Here is part of 'My World'.
Many cruise ships call into Picton on their cruises around New Zealand, because of the natural beauty of the Marlborough Sounds, of this small town and the fact that there is plenty to see and do within walking distance and the great weather, makes Picton a very popular visiting place. The Voltarne is about the largest ship that can actually dock beside the wharf, though some larger ships anchor out in the channel and land the people on shore with long boats, when beside the wharf they can easily stroll into the town and along the foreshore.

The Cruise Ship Voltarne at the Picton wharf, it is framed by the Coat Hanger Bridge a local feature, the gracefully curved bridge gives walking access to Shelly Beach and the Marina, because big yachts sail through this stretch of water it has to be rather high to allow the tall masts to get through.

.">The Foreshorehad many small stalls selling high quality hand craft goods to the tourists, there was wonderful turned woodwork, paintings, quilting, many types of jewelery, hand blown glass goods and lots of other interesting items all being kept very busy with sales.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hanmer Springs

This is the ninth posting for the My World meme . It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar,Sandy, Wren, Louise and fishing guy. Last week there were 101 people showing their worlds to us. Here is part of 'My World'.
These are just a tiny piece of the shopping centre at hanmer Springs, there are lots of cafes with outside seating with shady trees, a pretty small town.

We had three days in Hanmer staying at The Pines Motor Camp which is quite close to the township where the Thermal Springs pools are so it was very handy to go for lovely long soaks in the many pools. There is also Sauna's and a Spa with massages available too as well as a small cafe with meals to enjoy around the pools.

The reason Hanmer Springs even exsists is the wonderful Hot thermal mineral Springs that bubble up rather smelly but very benificial waters that most people enjoy soaking in. The Thermal pools have been operating for 125 years in one form or another. There are many different size and shape pools of many different temperatures, the hottest being 42 degrees, and man alive is it hot, you can't stay in for very long or you end up partly cooked! Everyone sits in total silence soaking up the warmth, til I get into a pool! Then I imediately ask everyone where they are from, what Country only to find every pool I was in was full of 6 - 8 differnt Nationalities really multi-cultural, soon everyone is talking and laughing and having fun while they soak! So much better I think.
When you get out you feel so relaxed you just want to go to sleep, very good for you.

There are some great forest and woodland walks in the hills around the town that are very popular, we enjoyed a pleasant walk, and watched the ducks being fed at the Hanmer Pools.

Young tourists enjoy riding these quad bicycles all around the township of Hanmer, with four fit pedalers they go really fast too. That yellow one actually passed our car!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Waiau Bridge, Bungy Jumping Capital of the world.

The Bungy Jumping bridge and the wide river valley beyond.

The Waiau River Bridge, South Canterbury NZ, is where the man L.J.Hackett runs his world famous Bungy Jumping, the young trill seeking tourists throw themselves of this high bridge tied only by their ankles to an elastic cable so they just dip their heads into the river way below. Not my thing at all, I wouldn't consider bungy jumping for an instant. no one was jumping while we were there.
http://www.newzealandnz.co.nz/bungy-jump-sites/thrillseekers-canyon.html For more information go to this site.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Overnighting at Kekerengu.

Kekerengu Beach is quite an isolated area of the East coast of the South Island, right off the main highway, we often stop overnight here when journeying further a feild. It is 'freedom camping' there is no charge to stay there, but also there is no facilities at all, no water, no toilets; nothing, but we can easily cope with this as we have a gas cooker in our caravan and also we have solar lighting, so we can camp in comfort pretty well.
There is lots of birds on the beach like the Oyster catchers and Black Back gulls, but also the more elusive Black fronted Dotterels and other types of Dotterel too, most of them are very tame seeing there is not a lot of people round most of the time. The only thing of note at Kererengu is 'The Store,' a wonderful Cafe built to take in the best veiw of the coast and the rocks, selling the very best of muffins, quiche and other goodies. One of the first things we always do is walk up to The Store to buy a Muffin for afternoon tea and some kind of wonderfully fattening goodie for our dessert, this time it was Irish Whisky Cake, a sensational taste treat that we enjoyed very much.
We enjoyed strolling along the beach and among the pine trees, where I collected a big bag of pine cones for my Mother who still has an open fire, sadly we don't any more, in this new house it is all aircon heated and cooled.
After we had cooked our meal and eaten the Irish whisky cake we were surprised to find a number of people arriving and setting up small tents under the trees along the beach, we asked some what they were all doing in such a place. They told us it was the Great Moa Hunt Bike and Running races tomorrow and that many more people would be coming along by morning. We were not kept awake with noise from the athletes, it was early to bed for them in readiness for the big events the next morning. But we were awakened early by the great throng of excited folk that arrived early in the morning, literally thousands of cars and people suddenly descended on this small beach in the middle of nowhere! So many that we had real difficulty in driving out with our caravan, dodging walkers and bikers and running people all warming up for their big moment. But we didn't stay to watch the races, most of it was up into the hills and along the cliffs.
very sad side note here is to tell you that one of these top athletes biked over the side of a cliff and fell to his death during the big race, fortunately we were miles away by then and knew nothing about it til the newspaper report the following day.