Thursday 30 December 2021

Browsing the shops

One from Paihia showing some of the shops on the left hand side of one of the side roads. A very busy street with the Rip Curl surf shop on the left. As you can see there is a rack of what we call jandals, you may know them as thongs or flip flops - most kiwis wear these in Summer. 

Linking up with Skywatch Friday, All Seasons and Tom's Signs.

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Bay of Islands Vintage Railway

Earlier this week we were in Kawakawa where we decided to finally have a ride on the old vintage train at the railway station. 

The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust is a heritage railway. It is the only working railway in New Zealand where the trains travel down a state highway and through the main street in town.

The railway is a volunteer run not for profit charity and the most northern railway in New Zealand. It is now celebrating 150 years of rail in the north island. This station was built in 1911 to replace the first one that was destroyed by fire and is recognized by the Rail Heritage Trust and Far North District Council as being of heritage significance.

This plaque says "To commemorate the centenary of this, the first use of railway transport on any part of the New Zealand Railways North Island System". Erected by The railway enthusiasts society (Inc) and unveiled on 2nd March 1968 by Hon JB Gordon, minister of railways.

We sat in the front carriage just behind the engine and this is our guide Dennis. He travels 5 days a week from his home in Whangarei to Kawakawa just so he can tell people all about the railway and trains. All of the people who work here are volunteers.

The above 3 photos show some of the scenery we drove past and through. 

At one point we had to stop and get off the train so that the main engine could turn around on the tracks and join up to the opposite end so we could go back the way we came.

And this is why. This is the Opua bridge - normally in the old days the train would've travelled across this all the way to Opua with coal and passengers but now the bridge is classed as being unsafe so the railway society has been trying for the last few years to get council approval and funding so that it can be fixed and made safe. The bridge is believed to be the oldest surviving curved rail bridge in the Southern Hemisphere.

The back carriage which then became the front on the way back.

This is the middle cart which connected the front and back carriages which was built in the 1950s.

And back through the main street of Kawakawa to the station again.

Linking up with Our World TuesdayThrough my lensTuesday TreasuresTravel TuesdayMy corner of the world and Wordless Wednesday.

Sunday 26 December 2021

Biggie Bagels

The week before Christmas we were in Whangarei so after getting B to drop me off I wandered around taking photos of various murals. This one is on the wall outside "Biggie Bagels" and was painted by Rodrigo Rozas who also painted this one in Hikurangi. The number 7 refers to their street address which is at 7 Bank Street.

Linking up with Mural Monday.

Saturday 25 December 2021

Merry Christmas 2021

 For us in the Southern Hemisphere today is Christmas day. 2 of my 3 children are in Auckland visiting family for lunch but for B and myself we will be enjoying a very quiet day just the 2 of us. This photo above is of a rather large decorated Christmas tree I saw in Whangarei last weekend in among some shops. Linking up with Weekend Reflections and The Weekend Roundup.

Wherever you are have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday 23 December 2021

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Christmas tree competition

So my town every year has a pallet tree decorating competition, each business buys a Christmas tree cutout made of wood to decorate and put in their windows. The public is encouraged to vote for their favourite and although there are literally hundreds of trees this year I've only photographed a portion that I've seen. 

These ones are outside one of the local cafes where one of the organisations "Bald Angels" is run from. There is more information about their worthy cause here but basically they support children and youth throughout the region.

This one decorated with tinsel  and poinsettia is in the window of one of the shoe shops called Shoe Styles

We have 2 health shops in town, this is one of them called Hardy's but it looks like they have 2 trees in their window.

This one clearly advertises what business it belongs to - one of the two optometrists in town.

Yes we have bagels here, not my thing but this one shows a fun side to Santa, his elf and a reindeer outside a shop that makes and sells them.

They also have this grinch Christmas pallet in their front window.

This one covered in shoes, jandals and sandals is in the window of one of the many clothing shops. This one is calle eKo.

Last one seen by me is covered in kiwiana icons that are loved by many New Zealanders such as onion soup (we use it to make dip for chips), marmite and pineapple lumps in the window of Swift Conveyancing.

Sunday 19 December 2021

Purple everywhere

Summer is the season when all of the Jacaranda trees around town are out in full flower. At the moment there is purple everywhere. This one is outside the vet centre.

 And this one is on the corner of one of the main roads in town outside an engineering business. Aren't they pretty?

Linking up with All Seasons.

Saturday 18 December 2021


Our town is once again holding a Christmas competition involving local businesses. This one is a real estate's office which has decorated it's frontage to look like candy canes, snow and lights.

 Linking up with Weekend Reflections and The Weekend Roundup.

Thursday 16 December 2021

Santa has been seen


Santa has been spotted around town. First 2 photos are of him in one of the local supermarkets and the one above was of him lying on top of the sign in the carpark - he sure does get around.

And here he is in our local post shop guarding the presents.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Thank you Hospice

 In one of our local supermarkets every year Hospice puts up 2 Christmas trees in the foyer and encourages people to not just make a donation and also decorate both of them with cards dedicated to loved ones who have passed on.

If you don't know who they are, Hospice NZ are a very worthy organization who support people who are not just struggling with family and friends who have life limiting illnesses but they also care for people who are dying. 

Linking up with Our World TuesdayThrough my lensTuesday TreasuresTravel TuesdayMy corner of the world and Wordless Wednesday.

Sunday 12 December 2021

Oh Christmas tree...


Nice to see the main Christmas tree in our town up and decorated again. This one is outisde the Harcourts Real Estate office. 

Last year's one was covered in different coloured lights so it was extra special to see at night. 

Linking up with All Seasons

Saturday 11 December 2021

An eXtreme Christmas window

One of the local businesses in town has decorated their main window for Christmas but with a slightly different theme than Santa, elves and tinsel etc. This one shows a skeleton dressed up in a black tutu with a small Santa and a tree next to it. It's something unusual anyway...

Linking up with Weekend Reflections and The Weekend Roundup.

Thursday 9 December 2021



This one taken recently in Opua of one of the local ferries taking people to see different islands etc. So far since 2020 businesse have been very quiet with only local customers so shortly with everyone allowed out again hopefully they will be busy again. 

Linking up with Skywatch Friday and Tom's Signs.

Monday 6 December 2021

Please scan in

After living here for over 2 years we've only just visited our local farmer's market for the first time. At the entrance we saw this table with a QR code on it for people to scan, all businesses have this now in their windows so if there are any positive cases in our town they can trace it back to where people have been.

We are now in Summer so we've had some very dry days and humid nights. As of this month those who have been vaccinated will need to scan their vaccination passports if they choose to travel or enter into businesses (except essentials like supermarkets). So far for me the process downloading it online was quite easy but there are bound to be many people out there who don't have internet access so they can phone an 0800 number to get theirs posted out to them. Auckland borders will be opening for Summer and people will be driving around on holiday to different areas so those who aren't vaccinated will be in Covid's firing line except for those travelling by plane which you have to scan your passport for. 

Linking up with Our World TuesdayThrough my lensTuesday Treasures, Travel TuesdayMy corner of the world and Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday 4 December 2021


Since we are now into December I thought I'd share some of the Christmas shop windows I took photos of last year when all of the local businesses took part in a decorating contest. This year they are again doing the same thing. 

 Each window is very different, there's a men's shop, women's lingerie and clothing shop along with specialty shops. I'll be interested to see what everyone does this time around.

Linking up with Weekend Reflections and The Weekend Roundup.

Thursday 2 December 2021

Maori Rock Carvings

One from when we were in Taupo earlier this year is this Maori Rock Carving which is only accessible via water on a boat. We booked a charter with other tourists and headed out to Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay.

 This is not classed as historical as it was carved in the late 1970s by master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell after he had completed his 10 year training with Maori elders. He then came to his grandmother's land at Lake Taupo to mark the occasion. He decided to carve a likeness of Ngatoroirangi (who was an early explorer to the area over a thousand years ago) and also carved 2 smaller celtic figures on either side (you might just be able to spot them) which depict the south wind.

The main carving is over 10 metres high and took 4 Summers to complete. The artwork is is Matahi's gift to Taupo. He and 4 assistants Te Miringa Hohaia, Steve Myhre, Dave Hegglun, and cousin Jono Randell took no payment other than small change donations from local bar patrons to cover the cost of scaffolding.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday and All Seasons


It's not often I get to Devonport on Auckland's North Shore as there are 2 ways to get there. One is by ferry from the opposite side...