Thursday Travels

Before Covid kicked off, we went up north for a family holiday. While we were based in Paihia, we stopped at Waipu on our way home. It is where my grandmother came from, and there’s quite a bit of Mackay family history in the local museum. It’s a beautiful spot, as is the nearby beach of Ruakaka. We went there for a wedding some years ago and have always intended to return.

I found this article on my newsfeed this morning and thought it would be nice to share a little more of our beautiful New Zealand countryside with you.

Wednesday in Wellington, New Zealand

Finally, here are some of the photos from our few days in Wellington last month. We travelled both ways by train which is an extremely relaxing way to travel. We didn’t get many photos on the way down as it rained quite heavily most of the way, but we were extremely lucky with the weather while we were there. It was raining again when we left Wellington, but cleared about an hour into our journey home.

This was the view from our hotel room balcony. We could see from Oriental Bay, to our right, the marina was immediately in front of us, and the port off to our left. So there was always something to watch as we sat on the balcony and and rested our weary feet in the late afternoon.

These are some of the lovely old homes that line Oriental Parade in Oriental Bay.

Situated on the hill above Oriental Bay, Saint Gerard’s Monastery and Church, built in 1932 and 1908 respectively, are considered a historic landmark. After 113 years, St Gerard’s Church held its final mass at the end of May. It closed over “safety concerns” but the fate of the buildings remains unclear.

The Wellington Cable Car is a funicular railway in Wellington, New Zealand, between Lambton Quay, the main shopping street, and Kelburn, a suburb in the hills overlooking the central city, rising 120 m (394 ft) over a length of 612 m (2,008 ft).

There are a number of viaducts spanning the rivers between Te Kuiti and Wellington. This photo was taken from one in the Manawatu.

New Zealand farmland.

Home to three active volcanic mountains, and iconic and majestic landscapes, Tongariro National Park has attracted adventurers of all ages since 1887. This is Mount Ruapehu.

The main reason for doing this train trip was to travel the Raurimu Spiral, which my grandfather worked on when he first came to Te Kuiti as a young man.

The only way of really appreciating the engineering excellence and sinuous beauty of the Raurimu spiral is to see it from the air. The spiral was devised by Department of Public Works engineer Robert Holmes in 1898. His design was a clever solution to a major problem – the land between between Raurimu and National Park dropped significantly and was too steep for a train to travel along directly. Holmes’s spiral increased the distance between these two locations to by employing sweeping curves and tunnels, which allowed the railway track to follow a manageable incline. It was constructed between 1905 and 1908. The Historic Places Trust registered the spiral as a category one historic place in 2005. (Te Ara, Govt. New Zealand)

My next mission is to view it from the air.

Thank you for sharing my journey.


This post complements my previous post today on Maori sacred sites in New Zealand.

Matariki is a special occasion in the New Zealand calendar which marks the start of the Māori New Year. Signified by the Matariki cluster of stars reappearing in our night sky, this is a time of celebration and reflection.

Traditionally, Matariki was used to determine the coming season’s crop. A warmer season, and therefore a more productive crop yield, was indicated by how bright the stars were. Matariki provides an ideal opportunity to explore the ways that people pass on and sustain aspects of their culture and heritage.

It has just been announced that Matariki celebrations will be held at the beautiful Waitomo Caves, which is twenty minutes from where we live. Click on following link to learn more about our Matariki celebrations and see a photo of our beautiful and world famous caves.

Waitomo is a village on the North Island of New Zealand. It’s known for its extensive underground cave systems. Thousands of glow-worms light up the Glowworm Caves. The vast Ruakuri Cave features waterfalls and limestone formations. West, Mangapohue Natural Bridge is a high limestone arch over Mangapohue Stream.


Mangapuhoe Natural Bridge

Tuesday Travels

Last year I posted when we drove to the small coastal settlement of Awakino for lunch, and spoke about it being the last time that I would pass through the Awakino tunnel. Although it is not a big tunnel, the children always loved the echo of the car horn as we passed through it.

I have attached a link to an article about the closure of the tunnel and the opening of the new bypass. There are some beautiful photos for those of you wanting some more New Zealand scenery.

Wandering Wednesday . . .

I had to go to Otorohanga, the next town north of here, today to pick colours for my kitchen. I was a little early for my appointment so I pulled into a small park on the bypass road. I have never stopped there before, I guess because it’s only 15 minutes from home, but it is quite pleasant.

As you can see the trees are starting to change colour.

The park pays homage to one of our swamp birds the Pukeko. It’s an ungainly bird, but quite beautiful in its own way.

There’s a large iron statue in the swamp on the far side of the lake.

These are the real things

Although their beautiful blue doesn’t show up well in these photos.

And this is Lake Huiputea in the park.

Otorohanga is also home to the Kiwi House, which is an excellent outing. I took Kayden there during the school holidays in 2019, and will have to find the photos to share with you.

Tuesday Travels

Actually this was a trip we took on Sunday to the gold mining town of Waihi in the North Island of New Zealand. Pete had bought a 1988 Nissan flat deck ute for his fishing trips and we went to pick it up. Waihi has a rich, in more ways than one, history.

Waihi is New Zealand’s ‘Heart of Gold’, with a gold mining history spanning three centuries and a local open-pit mine that is still fully operational. The Ohinemuri River flows through Waihi on its way to the ‘must-do’ Karangahake Gorge. In the gorge you can fish for trout, take walks through old mining tunnels and relics, or cycle the Hauraki Rail Trail. Waihi Beach, just 10km from Waihi, offers 9km of sweeping white sand and is one of the safest surf beaches in New Zealand.

Waihi offers plenty of opportunities to explore, with old wooden buildings, museums and history aplenty in town and a beautiful white sand beach just a short drive away where you can relax or enjoy fishing and collecting shellfish. And best of all – there’s not a shopping mall in sight!

Having said that, there’s not much open on a Sunday including the local museum which was rather disappointing.

There is a Heritage train that runs between Waihi and Waikino at the eastern end of the spectacular Karangahake Gorge. This is something we didn’t have time for as the train had just left as we arrived, but we are planning to book a bach (crib) for a weekend soon and take Luke on the train ride.

So here are the photos of places we visited in our brief visit:

The open cast Martha mine in the centre of town. Waihī began as a shanty town around a store and a hotel in the 1880s. When the invention of the cyanide process made mining profitable from 1889, the town boomed. Waihī housed a thriving electronics industry for half a century after a small radio-manufacturing and repair service opened in 1932. The first television transmission in New Zealand was made at Waihī in 1954. Underground mining finished at the Martha mine in 1952. However, rising gold prices and new, more economic mining methods rekindled interest in gold mining in the 1980s. The Martha mine re-opened in 1987, this time as an open pit mine.

And the spectacular Karangahake Gorge:

It was a lovely drive, the ute was in mint condition, so a great day. The only disappointment, other than the museum being closed, was the amount of roadside rubbish in the gorge. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves!