Archive for the ‘whangarei’ Category

Farewell Matai Bay and Northland hello Shakespear

November 30, 2015

It’s time to leave the warm sunny north to start our journey south to Shakespear Regional Park which will be our home for the summer.  But first our last few days at Matai were spent reasonably quietly, mainly catching up with friends and fitting in the odd spell of fishing, although Puheke Beach (along from Rangiputa) is on my no-go list for the rest of the summer after again getting attacked by some sort of biting insect.  On doing a bit of research I discovered that this nasty little bug is colloquially known as the Mount Mauler, and inflicts its nasty bites, surreptitiously, until many hours later when they start to erupt and itch, not nice.

It was at least three days of incredibly intense itching soothed only by cool damp flannels, and yes, I tried just about every over the counter treatment as well as plenty of alternative treatments, although I can recommend a cold used tea bag daubed carefully onto the affected areas to garner a few moments of relief!!!  

Back to the fishing, we did try our luck off Tokerau Beach whilst also catching up with Pat & Steve who were parked at the Ramp Road freedom camping area.  Our fishing success was moderate but some snapper and gurnard has made it to the freezer for later. 

Back at Matai Bay, good friends Brian & Marj came to join us for our last week there, and along with Craig & Glennis and Jo, we had many an enjoyable afternoon happy hour righting the problems of the world and having a good laugh.  Someone in our travelling party  had a birthday in a few days time, but before we left Matai Bay Steve & Pat delivered some fish as a present, and Brian & Marj made me a lovely wee birthday cake complete with candle.  

We left Matai last Monday and made it to Kerikeri for a night before then continuing on to Uretiti for a couple of nights.  My birthday was on Wednesday and my bestest mate Jacky & Chris invited us to their place at Whakapirau for dinner and to stay the night which we duly did.  Earlier in the year both Roy & Chris had had noughty birthdays without much fanfare, so combined with my birthday it seemed like a good excuse to break it the decent wine.  We have been carting around a bottle of 2000 Church Road Tom for some time so it seemed appropriate to share it at this time, and we can report that as well as a lovely meal, with great company, the wine was pretty good too.

We arrived at Shakespear last Friday and ts good to be back and to see everyone here.  We shall be here for the summer so if you are in the area give us a call.  

Uretiti and a bother!

October 6, 2015

We have been at Uretiti just over a week now, and it’s just about time to move o and we will move tomorrow, initially to Whangarei where we ned to get a COF (Certificate of Fitness) for the van.   But back here at Uretiti we have tried our hand at fishing again and the weather was just perfect on Sunday for a day on the beach.

   
A glorious day

Time to send out the kite, this was our newly reskinned kite that we had only just got back from the kite maker after our previous mishap of shredding it to pieces, the pictures of that are here.  Whilst waiting for the kite to take our line out, I noticed something rolling around in the surf…

  
On closer inspection, it was a baby seal having a nice snooze in the shallows.  We just hoped that it was not scaring away all the fish.

We set the line out about 1.5km and settled back to await the snapper that was bound to be taking all the bait on the line.  Roy even went for a bit of a paddle

  
However, things don’t always go to plan and today was not going to be any different.  All of a sudden the line became very taut and the reel was pulled forward, oh dear, what was going on here, have we caught something really big….yes indeed, we certainly had caught something big – a speeding boat!!! Although it did not seem to slow the boat down, all of a sudden, the line went slack and the kite disappeared from view.  It seems the boat caught the line twisted it a zillion time before the line broke, releasing the kite, the dropper rig, the baited traces (and any fish that just happened to be on there).  Bother, or words that effect.

We hauled in what remained of the line with the last 500m of it coming back very twisted, stretched and abraded. 

  
The ruined line looking very pale and the worse for wear. Now we just have to set about sorting out replacing it all. Heavy sigh, what a nuisance!

Kerikeri & Whangarei

October 17, 2014

Phew, four blog posts and another couple to come.  Hope you are not bored yet!

Time to move on again, this time we were off to Kerikeri for a couple of nights primarily to meet up with Roy’s cousin Stuart to discuss genealogy.  We said farewell to Brian & Marj as well as Gail who were staying on at Maitai Bay and finally Reg & Rima who were returning to Auckland.

During the drive down Bernice received a text suggesting a stop for coffee on the way south.  As we were having difficulty getting consistent  communications we finally got Reg and Rima to join us at Kerikeri for morning tea.  This we did at the stopover in front of the RSA. We were joined by Jim & Judy when they arrived some little time later.  Suffice to say Reg & Rima took little persuasion to stay for the night and join us in dinner at the RSA, so their trip home was again postponed for a further day. 

It was whilst we were having a cuppa that Bernice received a phone call  asking if she remembered entering a competition a couple of weeks prior through a neck tag on a wine bottle.  Yes, she did, and yes she still had the neck tag.  Guess what?  She had won a trip for two to Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne! a quick scurry and a hunt through the rubbish bin uncovered the said wine tag – phew!  So now we have to plan a trip to Oz sometime in the next year.

While dining at the RSA Roy went off to the toilet and failed to return for some time.   It transpired that he had met up with Fairfax Williams a school friend he had not seen since 1966.  They had a discussion about various people and places and agreed to keep in touch.  So now there is another reason to overnight at Kerikeri.

Roy had arranged to see Stuart after lunch the next day so having said farewell  (finally?, well at least for now) to Reg & Rima, off he went. 

The main thing discussed was the latest information Stuart had uncovered through communication with a Swiss genealogist.  Finally the origin of Cosmo Damiano Vannini, Roy’s great-grandfather, has been found.  He was born in Mendrisio, Canton Ticino, Switzerland  on the 2nd of April 1836.  At this time he was named Damiano Santino Vanini.  Also identified were his parents and his grandparents so now we are back to his grandfather Guiseppe Vanini’s birthdate of 1743. (NB A change in spelling of surname). 

Hopefully we will be able to find more details regarding the family in Mendrisio.  The information that we have at present names Damiano’s brothers and sisters and his uncles and aunties on his father’s side of the family.

After having spent time with Stuart we went to have a look at the new NZMCA parking area in Kerikeri.  They have now erected the building for registration.  It takes the form of a lighthouse which is the area’s badge.   A unique building in a very presentable, but very wet, new parking area.

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The next morning we went to the Kerikeri Farmer’s Market to stock up on fruit, vegetables and cheese and then we were off to Whangarei

On the way we passed the area where the main road had collapsed in the rain storm which we experienced when we were at Whananaki.  Repairs have ben made by creating parallel road alongside the old part of the road.  This was the reason we had to go through Dargaville on our way north.

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Finally we arrived at Whangarei and instead of staying at the town basin or at Uretiti this time we stayed at an area alongside the Hatea Bridge.  The Bridge is officially called Te Matau a Pohe – translated as ‘The fishhook of Pohe’ the Maori chief who welcomed the first English settlers to Whangarei.  Pohe  was very skilled in manufacturing fish hooks using traditional materials and styles. His hooks were so practical, many of the settlers used his hooks in preference to the standard English hooks made of steel. He was also instrumental in building bridges between the two cultures during the first years of English settlement amongst Maori. Pohe used his ranking to protect many of the first settlers from being killed.

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The bridge is raised by hydraulic rams under the bridge.  These roll back the toward the counterweights which raise the road.  The shots below showing the bridge raised to allow yachts to enter the town basin.

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This shows the cogged trackway that the counterbalances follow as they fall and raise the bridge.

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And here we are at the western end of the bridge alongside Jim & Judy.

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At night the bridge is illuminated and presents a striking sight.

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There is a walking path from the parking area that crosses the bridge goes up to the town basin and then back down to the bridge.  Along the way there are a number of boat sheds, old wharves, boats, information boards and sculptures.

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This striking sculpture of a canoe and waves is only one of many interesting pieces.

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And of course we have the mandatory bird photos

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It is always very difficult to get photos of Welcome Swallows but these two were resting in the right place at the right time.

Whilst the ducks below just sailed away.

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This is the (d)awning of …..

June 30, 2014

The new awning is in place plus new side and front windbreaks, as well as a ‘skirt’ which provide us with a nice breeze free area in which to sit especially when the weather is a little inclement. We have been waiting to have the awning replaced for over a year now, observing all sorts of designs and options as well as manufacturers. We kept hearing about a Whangarei business that came highly recommended from a number of people so we were happy to wait until we headed north again.

We took the van into Palmer canvas in Whangarei last Wednesday morning and left it there for two days whilst we took ourselves off to Whakapirau to stay with Jacky & Chris.

We spent a lovely couple of days with them in Whakapirau having a few laughs and the odd rum or two before we headed back into Whangarei on Friday to pick up the van. We were given a demonstration by the lovely staff at Palmers of how everything works and goes together before we headed on our way, hoping that we would remember everything. First stop was at the dump station to empty the waste tanks and fill up with fresh water, that task completed, we headed further out of town before stopping at the petrol station in Tikipunga. We had previously done a recce around Whangarei to find a service station that has auto LPG as well as being easily accessible. But just our luck, a fuel tanker truck complete with large trailer was filling up the stations tanks as we arrived, blocking the entrance/exit for the LPG fill. Oh well, no hurry, we shall wait for him to finish. 15 minutes was all it took before we were on our way again – but not too far though as we needed to hook on the car, a stop at the first convenient rest area was required to enable us to hitch the car to the A-frame and onto the back of the van. We were greeted at the rest area by a flock/herd/brood of chickens.

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We were heading to Whananaki, which is just 35kms from Whangarei and is a delightful DoC camping area right on Otamure Bay. The beach is lined with Pohutakawas which must look stunning at Christmas time when they are in full bloom.

By the time we got to the camp site, it was late afternoon, perfect timing for drinks though as it did not take long for us to set up and settle ourselves in. Saturday morning was time to test out the new awning and to see how easy it is to put together, first the awning – easy – it rolled out as you would expect. Next, we attached the skirts to the side of the van, this stops the wind from funneling through under the van. The skirt attaches very easily via domes which are attached to the base of the van. Next, we slide the front windbreak along the awning roll, we have had this made so it can be placed anywhere along the front. Next, attach the side windbreak, this necessitates sliding one edge up along a channel fitted on the side of the van and hooking the pole through a cleat at the top with the other end of the pole fitting into a holed drilled into the awning roll. This is much easier than it sounds, so much so that even the vertically challenged one can reach up and do this all by herself!!

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We have had just the one side made which can be used at either end in conjunction with the front piece so whichever way the wind is blowing we can quickly and easily move it from one end to the other. Zips join the pieces together and close up the corner, a few pegs along the ground and we are as snug as a bug. What a roaring success it is, we have put our outside table and chairs in one corner with plenty of room to move around.

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It will prove to be very useful throughout the year we are sure. We chose to have large clears put in each section, we had observed other variations where the add-on was very dark, we wanted a nice light area. We also wanted something that we would actually use as we have met a number of motorhomers who having had something made, subsequently rarely use it as it is either too bulky or too difficult to put together. Ours stores away nicely in a bag made for it all plus with materials we have chose it is not heavy or bulky but it is very strong. Who knows, in the winter with the sun streaming in we could grow tomatoes in there!

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What shall we call it…..Conservatory? Loggia? Porch? Enclosure? Verandah? Portico? Stoa? Lanai? Guest wing? Glass house?

Uretiti

August 6, 2013

With a view like this, is it any wonder that we have been a little slack in updating the blog.

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It’s been a week since we arrived here at Uretiti and we are relaxing into Northland life. The weather wasn’t the greatest for a couple of days last week, in fact it was wet, misty and downright dull. But never mind, it was still lovely to be here parked in the quiet.

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We did drag ourselves away from the beach for a few trips out and about. Friday we caught up with Di & Dave who used to have a fabulous restaurant in Oamaru, although we actually only caught up with Di as David is currently in the UK. It was great to meet up, and great to see where they live out on the Whangarei Heads at McLeods Bay. Saturday and we headed south this time through Waipu and Langs Beach

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Onto Mangawhai Heads where we again caught up with friends from a long time ago. This time we met up with Bruce & Heather Rogan. Roy knew them both from Uni days, and from when Roy & Bruce worked at IBM as well as the old NZFP days when Roy was DP Manager (in the days before it was called IT) and Bruce was at IBM. It was fantastic to see them after such a longtime, and we spent a lovely day reminiscing.

In between, we have managed to check out the towns of both Waipu and Ruakaka whilst replenishing stocks and adding to the local economy. The weather has been very warm, so much so we have removed the winter duvet from the bed and we are looking at the summer clothes thinking that they will be out of the cupboard soon. Although of course as soon as we removed the winter duvet off the bed, the night time temperature has been cool. But that’s what happens when there is no cloud cover to keep in the warmth.

The plan, if you can call it a plan, is to leave Uretiti today and head into Whangarei for two nights to attend to a few chores and stock up before heading to Kerikeri for a brief stop over to meet up with friends, then onto Kaitaia for any last minute purchases before heading up to Cape Reinga. From there we will spend the next few months slowly working our way back southwards toward Auckland. We are doing it this way so that Marjorie and Brian can accompany us to the Cape and to points south of there until they have to leave us and head off at the end of August.

And now, what you have all been eagerly awaiting, the answer to the guess-what-the-doofer-is game, here it is made up

20130806-103707.jpgNo Don, it is not a hoofer doofer, and John some of us don’t rush to google to work it out, so Alex gets the prize for correctly guessing that it is for placing your hamburger in to eat so that all the contents do not spill out. Another couple of guesses were a rocking cradle for a pet mouse or a chip holder. The prize is of course the doofer!

Reflections

August 1, 2013

Time to reflect on our extended time in Auckland particularly from the perspective of visitors to the city. Firstly, we must say that we like Auckland, it’s vibrant, colourful, and diverse with lots of lovely beaches, parks and trees, and we really do mean lost of trees everywhere, it is very evident when you look out over the city at just how lush and green it really is.

Of course we love Auckland for the opportunity to see family and friends. Two sons, Simon and Antony are in Auckland and it is always lovely to see them both and catch up with them and Simons wife Anita. Then there is family with brother Seve and his wife Leslie, their daughters and grandchildren to catch up on, cousins, nieces, nephews as well. Then there are friends, friends from Roy’s days of growing up in Auckland and friendships made over the years of us living and working in Auckland. What is really great about all these people is that it seems as though we only saw them a day or so ago. We didn’t manage to catch up with everyone, however….we will be back!

What we don’t particularly enjoy is the traffic, BUT, it is just a fact of life of being in a big city and you have to allow plenty of time to get from A to B. And just as well we know the roads very well as if we followed the GPS or the non existent signs, goodness knows where we would end up. We do have to say that from the perspective of a visitor to Auckland, the road signage is very poor, particularly if you need to get from the airport (or Ambury) into the city or onto the Harbour Bridge. The signs are either non existent, badly placed, very small or terribly worded. And when roads change names halfway along, it does not help. For example; Manukau Road (which is the main route from the northern motorway exit or city to the South west Motorway I.e. airport) changes its name to Pah Road, which then becomes Queenstown Road, and is signposted as Queenstown Road exit off the motorway. Unless you know that this is the road/exit you need, you could well drive on by. As I said, local knowledge is key, and knowing easier, shorter and better routes than the GPS is also helpful.

Then there is the food. The markets and shops with all ethnic variations catered for, we really really enjoy this part of Auckland. From the shops such as Sabato, Farro and Nosh through to the Chinese & Korean Supermarkets and all the fabulous farmers markets, we loved them all. And yes Jacky, that includes spending time with you in the kitchen cooking up a storm. Cooking/eating with Steve and Les is always a pleasure and this time it was great to be part of the great bacon making as well as sampling the salami and sausages.

Then there are the Regional Parks, what a huge asset to the city. Where else in the world can you camp in a Park, surrounded by farmland just 15 minutes from the centre of the city? The Parks are dotted all around the region and in some stunning locations. We have really enjoyed visiting a few more of the 26 Parks.

All in all a great time in Auckland. Thanx to everyone who made our extended time in the big smoke so pleasurable. See you next time!