In this last batch of holiday photographs we undertook the “Gould’s Circuit” walk in the Warrumbungle National Park. The walk is a 7 km circuit from Pincham carpark heading south to Febar Tor and Macha Tor. Both tors offer magnificent views into and across the valley containing the Breadknife, Belougery Spire and several other bluffs. The views are fine from Febar Tor, but even better a bit further south from Macha Tor.
Heading further north we spent a morning walking the Sandstone Caves track in the Pilliga Forest, and the afternoon between Coonabarabran and Barradine. Signs of regrowth The way in Some bizarre patterns A mighty big lump of sandstone Holes within holes The way out Grasstrees Siding Spring Observatory from the Barradine Road An abandonded farm?
Continuing the holiday trip we spent some time in the botanical gardens in Dubbo. The gardens are divided into a number of areas incuding Japanese, Indigenous, and an Adventure playground area.
On our recent holiday we visited the Japanese Gardens in Cowra. There is something of a link between the Japanese and the people of Cowra as a result of the breakout from the Cowra POW camp in 1944. Here is a selection of photos from the gardens. Sunshine appeared about half way through! Crepe Myrtle Weak sunshine From the teahouse A place to pond-er Spring and autumn probably look the best
Here are some photos in Christchurch converted to black & white, with contrast and noise boosted to partially emulate high speed film. Cranmer Square Armagh St, looking east Bowker Fountain, Victoria Square Victoria, Victoria Square Cathedral Junction from Gloucester Street New Regent Street The Christchurch Club, Latimer Square Transitional Cathedral across Latimer Square Transitional Cathedral Cashel Street 170 Cashel Street High Street Christchurch Cathedral Godley Statue, Cathedral Square Municipal Building, Oxford Terrace Crossing the Avon Great Scott.
Our final holi-day was spent looking around the coast north of Christchurch then winging our way to Sydney. At Waikuku Beach. Bizarrely here, at the beach, you could see snow-capped mountains in the distance Final view of the west coast of New Zealand - presumably around Greymouth or a little south of there
Our last full day in New Zealand was spent in Christchurch. It was fascinating to walk around and see how the city was recovering and rebuilding some seven years after the earthquakes. We visited Quake City which is a contemporary museum about the earthquake. There is video from some survivors and their stories of loss or escape. The buildings on the right form part of the Provincial Council Buildings which were damaged in 2011.
For day 15 we were staying in Christchurch but went for a drive to Lyttelton - a port town about 10km south-east of Christchurch. Lyttelton is a busy, active port but also had a selection of boutique and specialty shops that gave the town a really nice feel. We only spent a couple of hours here but could have stayed longer. Lyttelton is the port town that cruise ships used to dock in on stopovers for Christchurch, but that has ceased since the 2011 earthquake.
We left a very grey and rainy Akaroa for the 100+km trip to what would work out as a very sunny but cool Christchurch. Sun making a valiant effort to shine through near Lake Ellesmere Part of the view from our apartment. The interesting hand/face thing is part of the Art Gallery That's got to hurt! One view of the Anglican Cathedral damaged in the 2011 earthquake And a closer view
Akaroa, with limited comment What town is complete without a slightly unkemp pétanque/bocce terrain? Cloud coming over the mountains Still coming French influence More French Looking back down the main pier Apparently the lighthouse was relocated to its present position - here for show rather than safety Surely one of the creepiest children's toys? Akaroa from Childrens Bay
Day 12 - the three quarter mark through our holiday was the longest drive of our trip - from Murchison to Akaroa. We started in the mountains, with deep gorges, plantation pine forests and snowy peaks followed by a lunch stop in Culverden then through the outskirts of Christchurch and finally winding down to the east coast at Akaroa. In the Hurunui Region at St James Walkway The Waiau River approaching Culverden Culverden Coffee Akaroa
Day 11 was a relaxing one - spent in the town of Murchison in the central north region of the South Island. These days Murchison is something of a hub for white-water enthusiasts - being at the junction of a couple of rivers. In 1929 it was the scene of an earthquake that took 17 lives. Near the centre of town is a memorial comprised of some stones. Part of the plaque reads:
We awoke to a fairly grey and overcast day in Picton and headed south-east through Blenheim and St Arnaud to Murchison. A peaceful trip, not much traffic, and a great lunch at the Alpine Lodge in St Arnaud. Our grey morning in Picton Still grey - looking towards the main street. Pretty even when overcast The Anglican Community Church in Wairau Valley I was taken by the simplicity yet profound message of this headstone in the Community Church cemetery The Mount Richmond Forest Park just north of St Arnaud
The ferry trip from Wellington to Picton was fantastic. The scenery leaving Wellington was equally matched by the scenery entering Picton. Now that's a ferry! Picton from the ferry
Day 8 - the half way mark saw us spend much of the day wandering around Wellington. Here are some samples: Looking like something out of Star Wars Spiral Man (or is is a Woman?) Weird but cool art installation! Did someone say cake? 2013 redux
Day 7 saw us begin the day overlooking Napier from the Bluff Hill Lookout above Napier Port before heading south for Wellington. We opted for SH 2 through Waipukurau and Dannevirke before cutting across towards Palmerston North and down the west coast to Wellington on SH 57 and SH 1. Napier from Bluff Hill Lookout Napier Port from behind some spooky purple flowers Snow-capped peaks looking north over Hawks Bay Queen Elizabeth Park on the way to Wellington
Day 6 was spent in Napier and surrounds - from Cape Kidnappers to Hastings. Napier 'beach' from our motel balcony Cape Kidnappers cliffs from Clifton From Clifton looking north to Napier
A very pleasant drive through the centre of the north island from Rotorua to Napier. A good cup of coffee from a roadside caravan in Taupo, and then a stop at Waipunga Falls: Taupo on a grey morning And a stopover at the falls. The only hint was a roadsign saying “Scenic Lookout”. Somewhat understated:
Day 4 was spent in and around Rotorua. We visited two paid tourist sites of the half-a-dozen on offer. The first was the Wai-O-Tapu “Thermal Wonderland". The first site was the mud pool, followed by the Lady Knox Geyser, finishing with a walk around the site viewing such things as the Devils Inkpots, Champagne Pool and other geothermal phenomena. It was an amazing place – the colours, the features, the smells!
Day three saw us collect our hire car in Auckland and make our way down to Rotorua. The first photo is the view from our apartment – of a fairly grey cityscape, Auckland Harbour and bridge. Morning tea was in a very pleasant cafe called the Town Mouse in Pukekohe – although we did earn the mild ire of one of the waitresses because we ordered from the counter before sitting down.
Here are a few photos from my phone – resized – from our wanderings around Auckland on the second day of our holiday: The Rainbow Warrior
Day 1 saw us flying from Sydney to Auckland. The flight, although delayed, was uneventful. No photos to speak of for day 1. The only photos taken were of our opened luggage at the hotel in case there were subsequent disputes about ownership!
I called it to the local library this afternoon seeking something in particular – not so much a specific book as a type of book. And what may that type of book be? A travel guide. You know, like Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, DK and Michelin (close, but not the restaurant guides). But why, I don’t hear you ask? Because I need a holiday and I have too much annual leave accumulated (close to 10 weeks now).