Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31 'Trip Home'

It has been a wet blustery trip home. One of the State Highways (State Highway 5) we had been travelling on a few hours ago has been shut, so we were lucky to get through!
I wanted to take a photo of Mt Ruapehu from Lake Taupo, but it had disappeared!
The photo on the right is one I took last year!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 30 'Aunty's Garden'

My Aunt and Uncle have a most fabulous garden and this was the setting for my cousin's wedding yesterday. The photo of the luscious grapes had to be my number one pick today!

Day 29 'Family Wedding'

Today is the reason we are down in Hawkes Bay... a family wedding. My cousin got married today. The service was held in Woodford House School Chapel and the reception at the bride's family home in the country.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 28 'Art Deco Napier'

A lot of the architecture in Napier is in the 'Art Deco' style. This is due to the 1931 7.8 earthquake that decimated much of the buildings.
They are beautifully restored and are an essential part of the culture of Napier.
This is a photo of the fountain which is also the home of the infamous statue 'Pania of the Reef'.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27 Te Awa 'Hawkes Bay'

We went to Te Awa Estate today. The restaurant is outstanding and we had a wonderful lunch. The surroundings are serene with views through tree cover to the vineyards. Favourite wine of the day was the 2007 Chardonnay.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26 'Elephant Hill' Hawkes Bay

We visited a couple vineyards today, Elephant Hill and Clearview. Clearview has been around a while, and I am particularly fond of their 'Old Olive Block' and Beachhead Chardonnay.
Elephant Hill on the the other hand is a fairly new vineyard, it has been open since 2007. I enjoyed their Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. The restaurant is superb and the setting and ambiance of the surroundings were outstanding.

Model of the Endeavour at Clearview.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 25 Gisborne to Hawkes Bay

The weather is not so good today, lots of rain on the journey.
This is a view back towards Wairoa at the top of a very windy road.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24 En route to Hawkes Bay, stop over in Gisborne

Views of Gisborne

Today has been all about vineyards. Gisborne was the place to visit in the mid nineties to the early 2000s for wine tastings and exceptional food. There has been a lull for the last few years but Gisborne is back! There are boutique wineries with passionate owners who want to talk to you about their wines, and vineyards are marrying this with food that compliments and improves the wine tasting experience.
We visited 3 wineries today. The first winery Bushmere is fairly new (around 4-5 years old for cellar door, meals and music) the owner David Egan did an awesome tasting session combining food with the wine. The wine was excellent particularly the chardonnays.

Millton was next. It is renowned for its bio-dynamic wines, which is a method of growing where there is no fungicide, herbicide or soluble fertilisers used. It is totally organic. My favourites were the Chenin Blanc and the Opou Chardonnay.

The 3rd vineyard was Matawhero, this was a place I used to visit regularly in the nineties, it was a very rustic and wild setting (as was the owner Denis Irwin). Matawhero's claim to fame was the pioneering of Gewurztraminer in the 70's. which gave them international acclaim and it was reported that the Queen even drank it.
The vineyard and winery was taken over by the Searle family in 2008 and has been revitalised.

This photo shows the old cellar where a lot of the earlier wine is stored.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 23 Day Two of Road Trip to Hawkes Bay

En route to Gisborne
Today's photo is of the Waioeka Gorge. This is my most favourite drive in the North Island, the scenery is spectacular, peaceful and if it is raining it is spooky and mystical.
It is a great tourist destination as it has kayak trips, track and home stays. There are plenty of rest stops on the way and fantastic photo opportunities of the river and bush clad hills. There were so many photos to choose from, so I have added several today.

This photo caused me some concern as I did not notice the object in the bottom left hand corner when I took the photo, when zoomed upon it was obvious by general consensus that the car had been there for quite a while judging by the amount of rust.

Two of the estimated 40 million sheep in New Zealand

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22 Road Trip to Hawkes Bay

Day One: First Stop 'Ohiwa Beach'

On route between the showers and the gloomy skies I managed to catch a reasonable glimpse of the 'Hauraki Plains'. Its claim to fame is that it is incredibly flat (for New Zealand landscape), it is a big dairy producing area and has large peat bogs supplying Hauraki peat growing medium.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21 'White on White'

These figurines were on a white table. The light was pouring in through the windows creating great shadows and different shades of white.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 20 Last Days

This is a close up of the last days of my Poinsettia.
Christmas is really over...sigh!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 19 'Where are the rabbits?'

Our German Shepherd's favourite pastime is to go looking for rabbits. I caught him posed here ready to leap into action just in case there happened to be some in this garden!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18 'Wine Time'

Today was my first day back in the office after a month's holiday. It was hot and humid and I needed to clear a path to my computer, and I really needed to clean up the office.
Conclusion: I can get to the computer now but I only cleared a 1/4 of the office. I did manage to write a new blog post on one of my other blogs, answered some emails, posted on twitter, printed some of my at 6 O'clock I decided it was 'Wine Time'.

This is one of Villa Maria's everyday easy drinking Chardonnays. Villa Maria is my most favourite vineyard and is bound to appear in many more posts to this 365 blog.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 17 'Fresh Pickings'

Today's photo of the day is all about the produce from our garden. The yellow button squash is rife in our garden and we are harvesting this amount every two to three days.
It is also known as pattypan squash, scalloped squash, scallop, custard squash and sunburst squash.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 16 Coromandel Oysters

Yesterday we bought some oysters from the Coromandel Oyster Company (1611 SH25, Tiki Road, Coromandel). Here they grow, harvest and process the oysters all year round. These were the cheapest oysters I have seen in a long time ($13.50 NZ for a dozen big ones or $10.50 for a dozen small ones).
These oysters tasted amazing, they were very creamy.  At the height of the season which is July to September they are apparently more 'fleshy'! So we had a dozen yesterday and a dozen today!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15 Long Line fishing at Matarangi

Matarangi is 24.4 kms from Coromandel or 25.9 kms from Whitianga. It is famous for its glorious 4.5 km white sandy beach, safe swimming, golf course and airfield.

The Photo of the day is the boys getting ready to take the long line out.

And I had to include this one as it was so darn cute!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14 Road Trip to Matarangi

I took many photos today on our road trip to Matarangi. Matarangi is 2 hours 26 minutes from our place, but the first beaches you hit on the Coromandel are about an hour and a half away from Manukau, Auckland.
There is a lot to see and do in the Coromandel and photo opportunities are many.

The scenery is spectacular and I had a hard job choosing photos, so I have put in two of my best and a photo slideshow.

What is most outstanding about all these beaches are how unpopulated they were. You could almost have a beach solely to yourself.

All these photos are of different beaches along the Coromandel.

Road Trip to Matarangi on PhotoPeach. Click on the Full mode button down on the Slideshow toolbar to see all of the photos in full screen.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day Thirteen 'Horse and Trap'

We had lunch today at the Horse and Trap in Mt Eden. This is another of Auckland's historical buildings. It was built in 1914 as a store for Winstones coal and carrier merchants. It has been damaged by fire twice and was converted into a bar and restaurant in the early 1990s.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day Twelve' Aggies Pants'

This is the view of our driveway. The Agapanthus line our driveway for at least 3 months. Agapanthus were declared a noxious weed a couple of years ago, but have had a reprieve in recent times. They grow like a weed but are great for stabilising the ground against erosion.

Day Twelve' Aggies Pants' (nickname courtesy of Margaret Miller)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day Eleven 'Old but Young'

New Zealand is a very young country in terms of European discovery and  migration. Our oldest building is reportedly Kemp House built in 1821. In Auckland we have some fine examples of early architecture. Auckland was first settled by the indigenous Maori circa 1350. It became New Zealand's capital in 1841 (the title of capital was moved to Wellington in 1865).
Today's photo of the day is of Custom House in Auckland City. It was built in 1889 as a Public Building.

Day Eleven 'Old but Young'

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day Ten 'Coming Home'

Our daughters have been away on a wonderful trip to the States. In the sixteen days they were away they went to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Fransico. The photo of the day is their Air New Zealand flight coming into Auckland International Airport.

Day Ten 'Coming Home'

Day Nine: Quintessential Kiwi Barbeque

We kiwis are very fond of our barbeques. A typical menu that has stood the test of time would consist of
  • snarlers (sausages, usually in bread with tomato sauce)
  • steak (of all varying sizes, shapes and marinades)
  • lamb chops
  • iceberg lettuce salad with sweet mayonnaise 
  • new potatoes with mint or roasted potatoes with rosemary
  • and for dessert Pavlova or trifle or Aunties sponge cake with cream and strawberries
But sometimes we can be very creative, if we can get our hands on seafood then we are likely to do something like this.

Today we had a barbeque for family and friends who are not still away on holiday. Here we have a variety of meat and vege kebabs