Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ohakune

I love the Queens Birthday. Every year by this point we always really need a break from the winter slog. This year was no exception, although this time we were lucky enough to get away for the long weekend to Okahune.


On the edge of Tongariro National Park, this lovely little town is clearly a busy mecca for skiers and snowboarders once the snow has fallen. This weekend it was bitterly cold at times but no snow appeared, so the town was full of walkers and families escaping the working week for a bit.


We were also lucky enough arrive on the weekend of the Ohakune Carrot Carnival. The town was full of food and craft stall plus live music and lots of carrots!


We took a walk up the "old coach road" which takes you to Hapuawhenua Viaduct. The old coach road winds up through beautiful countryside until you get to the old viaduct which was built over 100 years ago.


The old cobbles that made up the surface of the road are still visible in many places.


It took us about 1.5 hours to reach the viaduct and we travelled through farmland, forest and into an Alpine wetland.


The track must take a lot of maintenance as the wetland is clearly a fragile environment.


Being winter meant that by the time we headed back down the sun was low in the sky and the moon was out.


The lack of light made the landscape that much more stunning.


We also managed to find a bit of snow up at Turoa ski field. 


Just enough to have a snow ball fight :)



Saturday, May 20, 2017

Cold

It's been cold this week. We haven't seen snow in our area of Wellington, but it has covered some of the surrounding hills. I think we are just too near the coast for any of the white stuff to settle near here.


It has been bitterly cold though and I have been a  bit worried about our outdoor Guinea Pigs. Errol is over five years old, which is getting on a bit in Guinea Pig terms. He is well over pensionable age! So I have stuffed their hutches with hay and insulated them with cardboard and newspaper. They seem to be coping alright at the moment. 


I will start giving them hot water bottles when the temperature starts hitting minus numbers at night.


I have said many times before on these pages that New Zealand houses aren't really designed for winter weather. There is something in the Kiwi psychology that makes them unable to admit that it can get a bit chilly during the winter here. So many blokes over here still insist on wearing shorts and t-shirts when the temperature is not even hitting double digits. Maybe its a male thing. But then the houses aren't designed for cold weather either. We have just been to Mitre 10 again to purchase another heater to try and keep the downstairs of our house warm in the evening. Like most houses over here we do not have central heating and the heat from our wood burning stove unfortunately does not travel down stairs.


My eldest bravely played netball in the freezing hail on Saturday morning and understandably lost that game 23-1. However in the afternoon game (once the sun had come out) she won 37-nil. The rest of the weekend has been spent buying winter coats and thermals.



I also had a cold walk along the seafront withe the dog and had a wander around the garden to see if there was anything still alive after the cold nights we have been having!



Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mothers Day

Mothers day started with netball practice this morning, way too early as we had to be at the courts by 8.30. Thankfully the rest of the day was much more relaxing.


As it was Mothers day, I had the choice of activities this Sunday, and I chose to go to my favourite place for a stroll, Queen Elizabeth Park in Paekakariki.


It was chilly but still stunningly beautiful as always. 



The other half has decided to try and make a lamp shade out of the drift wood. Beautifully soft, white polished drift wood is found in abundance on this beach. So this morning we collected armfuls of suitably interestingly shaped wood to bring home and sculpt.


The coastline here is being eroded at quite a fast pace. The sand dunes have already moved back by at least a couple of metres in places since we have been in New Zealand. I should probably stop the kids from adding to the erosion by climbing them!


I was treated to lunch at my favourite cafe the Perching Parrot. The food here is always tasty and I love being able to sit outside and watch the world go by.


All in all, I have had a wonderful Mothers Day and we ended up with a very unusual new light fitting in our bedroom thanks to the drift wood!