Friday 30 August 2019

Give us a break...

We've had so much rain here lately that I'm actually wishing for a warm sunny day. Since moving back here I've realized how quiet it is in this town.

There is no supermarket, no mall - just a group of shops that includes a corner shop, a couple of restaurants, a local tavern, a museum, 2 takeaways, a sushi bar and a couple of clothing shops. It's a very seasonal town, over Winter it's dead but come labour weekend in October it will be mad with people wanting to escape the big cities, I'm almost dreading it. You can't drive to the local shops as there is no parking so best to walk.

My three children have all managed to find jobs, I'm still waiting for hear about mine. I originally went for an interview 2 weeks ago for a care-giving position which is when someone injures themselves they get accident compensation home help. So someone like me would come into their home for 2 hours a week and do some housework for them, it's good money. Apparently a police check is suppose to take a week or so, now I've heard it can take up a month. I have bills to pay so I can't wait to long, however I did put in an application to work at one of the local shops and because I have experience in that field I'm hoping they have something. Fingers crossed...

Until I hear anything further here's my photo for today's Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Devonport's Esplanade Hotel

In the early 1990s I worked here in Devonport on Auckland's North Shore for a couple of lawyers. In those days the town was even busier than it is now. After nearly 25 years we visited the town again so I should show the other half. The Esplanade hotel in the foreground was built around 1900/1901 by a builder named Archibald Grandison and because it overlooks the harbour it quickly became a popular summer seaside resort back in those days. Over the years it's become a place where bands played and workers enjoy a cold drink after work.

Devonport is filled with old Victorian wooden villas and historic buildings, as you can see in the photo. These days it's still a busy place and the buildings are filled with unique shops and businesses. The day we were here the rain gave us a brief reprieve so I was able to capture some blue sky but it didn't last for long.

Linking up with My corner of the world

Monday 26 August 2019

Just for the Tuis

On each of my morning walks around town this week I've seen something interesting. This particular day I was walking past one of the many tiny holiday homes down one of the side streets and spotted this water tank cheerfully decorated in shades of blue. This one has been painted with illustrations of a Tui sitting on what looks to be the flowers of a native flax bush.

Here in Mangawhai and in other small towns sometimes the houses can either be connected to town supply water or they will have 10,000 ltr water tanks so when it rains the water goes directly inside off the roof - usually there is a filter between the tank and the house so that it's safe to drink.

Linking up with Mural Monday and Our World Tuesday.

Saturday 24 August 2019

Return to Piroa Falls

Normally the 1st September is considering to be officially the first day of Spring but it feels very mild here, so much never-ending rain but on the one day last week it temporarily stopped we managed to visit a local spot.

Piroa Falls is a place I use to take my children to when we lived in Maungaturoto, a town about 15 minutes away. A popular spot over Summer, lots of local people cool down here.

Over Winter it's dead quiet, too cold to be swimming here - it's nice to see it so pristine and clean at this time of year. I'd forgotten the gravel road we drove on to get there and how beautiful the scenery is.

I hope it stays that way but I know as the weather warms up and more people come here it will be more and more used. Sometimes I wish places like this were never discovered so they could remain untouched.

Thursday 22 August 2019

The old Hikurangi Hotel

Last time we passed through Hikurangi I made a point of stopping outside the local historical hotel.  This baby is just outside Whangarei and is also known as "The Hika" and was established around 1882.

In 1862 about 12,000 acres of land was purchased for the Crown whose interest in the land was because of forests of totara, kauri, rimu etc on it's land. Transport roads were opened and the road to Whangarei in 1875 led to the start of the timber industry.

The hotel was built around this time when thirsty workers needed rest, food and lodgings. It's built from timber and has sash windows and originally there were other buildings also on the property such as a butcher's stop and stables. These days the hotel is privately owned and the only access that people have inside is in the public bar and bottle store.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Sunday 18 August 2019

Welcome home

I don't know if I've ever mentioned if but I was born and raised in Auckland but I consider this place, Mangawhai to be home. We first moved up in 1996 when my oldest son was 1 and over the years we've moved out and back in again.

We're pretty much settled in again and a few days ago 2 of my children and I got out once the rain cleared to enjoy a walk along our surf beach. Winter is the quietest time of the year here, it really is a holiday destination but once Summer comes it gets very busy and congested with visitors.

People are pretty good with their dogs over Winter and most use a doggy bag to pick up the poos but once in a while you get those who unfortunately just don't care and it's not nice stepping into something yucky. At the moment being August here it's feeling like there's a hint of Spring in the air.

I'm looking forward to showing my other half all of the special spots the kids and I have discovered over the years as it's his first time here, but he's enjoying it so far...

Have a good weekend :-)

Friday 16 August 2019

Morena Rangitoto!

When I was growing up as a child in the suburbs of Auckland my mother use to take my siblings and I up to the top of this mountain in Devonport. Mount Victoria, where I took this photo however it's the volcanic landscape in the distance that interests me more.

Rangitoto Island is volcanic and located in the Hauraki Gulf. It is 5.5km island and measures in height 260m. "Rangitoto" is maori for "bloody sky" and is the youngest and largest of around 50 volcanoes in the Auckland area. It erupted approx 600 years ago. It is not dead like most volcanoes but dormant (asleep) and could erupt again at any time. I've never been there, you have to get there by boat and it is now managed by the Department of Conservation, the Ngai Tai and Ngati Paoa tribes.

Visitors are not allowed to take dogs or other animals onto the island and after many years of trying to get rid of rats, stoats, mice, cats, goats, deer, wallaby and possums it is now pest free. North Island Saddlebacks are prevalent there after once being threatened into extinction and Kaka birds once lived there before colonization.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday 13 August 2019

Bay of Islands Vintage Railway

It's not often we drive through Kawakawa, but last Saturday as we passed through I stopped to take some photos of the vintage trains. Apparently the railway first began in 1864 when coal was discovered then a tramway was built 4 years later.

The old tram tracks, which still run through the town were replaced by the railway line now there and the first rails were opened in 1877. The link through to Opua was finished in 1884 and led to Opua becoming a deep sea port.

Apparently the last train pulled out of Opua in 1977 and although there were attempts to continue the rail service the tracks fell into disrepair and after 122 years it was threatened with closure.

In 1984 the railway was granted a reprieve and the Bay of Islands railway was born. There is a steam train named "Gabriel" (the green one above) - this one is currently under restoration.

There is also a diesel red engine named "Dewey" built in 1896, a blue one named "Timmy" built in 1959 and a green one named "Charlie" made in 1967.

4 trains are scheduled to run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday all year and the railway is a non-profit. It also includes a cafe and giftshop people can buy souvenirs from.

And here is one of the trains making it's way on it's journey around Kawakawa.

Linking up with My Corner of the World.

Sunday 11 August 2019

Rodrigo Rozas in Hikurangi

We are finally here back home, the house is a mess with unpacked boxes but we are getting there slowly. We have my 3 teenagers and my oldest son's girlfriend - we are no longer on town supply water, we have a large water tank behind the house that we rely on from the rain so we have had to implement a 5 minute shower timing system and each cycle someone does of the washing machine has to be limited to 30 minute eco wash. 3 of us are working full-time but myself and the other 2 will be job searching this week. I have an interview on Tuesday so fingers crossed.

On the 2 hour drive yesterday we stopped in Hikurangi, my 3 children now know that anytime they get in the car with me it turns into the "Camera Express" because I frequently stop to take photos. This one on the side of the one of the retro buildings is by Northland local artist Rodrigo Rozas. Now back to the unpacking...

Linking up with Monday Murals and Our World Tuesday.

Friday 9 August 2019

Welcome to Sigatoka Markets

On the day we took a taxi into Sigatoka, our driver David narrated all the scenery on the way. This is what Sigatoka looks like, it's quite a run down little town. It's alot tidier and cleaner than most of the roads are.

Through the little side roads people have stalls and tables set up. There is a mixture of products that they have from fabrics, weaving and clothing through to hot food, vegetables, baking, fruit etc.

This was one of the local shops that sold bread and had many people bustling about doing their business. The streets were dusty and not very well maintained.

This is the Sigatoka marketplace, quite small compared to the one we planned to visit in Suva but it was good to see the different fruit and veges people sold.

This one caught my eye, apparently it's a type of bitter melon and it's good for the digestive system.

More people outside on the footpaths and street selling other types of fruit and veges. I tried a type of Hawaiian papaya while I was there and loved it.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Back from Fiji...

So, the resort we stayed in was Warwick Resort. A very nice place however the first night we stayed we must've book into the family side of the place as we were kept awake by crying babies and a couple arguing in the hallway then woken up at 6am the next morning by more babies. Once we asked to be upgraded to the adult side it was just peace and quiet - this was the adult pool outside.

This area of Fiji is known as the Coral Coast unfortunately for us we didn't see alot of Coral - quite sad really. This Blue Star Coral looks like a starfish and is not recommended to be touched.

When we walked past the resort along the beach we could see quite a lot of rubbish strewn for quite  along distance. Fiji is quite a dirty country, you would think that with it being a tourist spot they would look after it.

At one end of the beach there were these shacks used for not just living in but also selling fresh fruit and massages - one of them was promoting safe tattoos by an artist.

In Fiji the cows, horses and dogs roam freely. Our taxi driver David was telling us that if you don't have your cow branded with your particular brand and it's found roaming they round up all the cattle at least twice a year and take them away, if you can't prove it's yours you don't get it back. With the dogs the locals feed and look after them, the ones we found on the beach looked very healthy and were so friendly, I didn't want to pat them so much as I had no idea what vaccinations they had had done, if any. Sometimes the locals round them up and take them pig hunting.

More to come...linking up with Our World Tuesday and My Corner of the World.

Friday 2 August 2019

The abode of happiness

2 days ago we took a taxi out to the nearby town of Sigatoka and while wandering some of the streets we spied this huge building sitting on the hillside. Apparently it is a Hare Krishna temple and although Fiji has a huge Christian population there are other religions here too such as this one.

Upon researching it I found their website says that this is "the abode of happiness", a place of worship and a refuge for those seeking inner peace plus inside is medical center, catering, counselling services, a justice of the peace, a gift shop and cultural learning on Sundays. Not my cup of tea but might be to others...

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.


  Westport, which is about 90 minutes north of Greymouth is one of those old coal/mining towns as I've previously mentioned. I spotted t...