There was an advertisement on T V in New Zealand in the 1990s that had the headline “Don’t leave town until you’ve seen the country”. It was to encourage Kiwis to visit their own country before venturing overseas (we are surrounded by ocean down here at the bottom of the world).
Well, it seems that the world has come to New Zealand. A week ago we visited the Hamilton Gardens in the Waikato city of Hamilton. The garden there are quite unlike most other municipal gardens in New Zealand. Instead of the usual beds of plants and flowers laid out in the traditional English or European fashion, these gardens are set out in distinct themed country areas.
With only two weeks to go before our on trip “overseas” the visit to the gardens was timely. We would like to share images of our visit with you.
With our pending three month journey to Europe and North America about to begin in just under two weeks, my wife Valerie and I have established an companion blog to this one called Go North Turn Left. In this blog we will relate tales of our travels (hopefully not travails) as we venture forth on the various legs of our journey.
So, where did the blog name come from?
We have a very dear friend who believes that everything in the world is up and to the left of New Zealand. Her view of the geography of the world dates back to primary school days when she first looked at a map of the world. On that map New Zealand was at the bottom right corner. This view of the world has always intrigued us, especially Valerie who was a former geography teacher. So, to honour this unusual view we have named the blog “Go North Turn Left”
Our travels this year start at the end of July 2013. We trust you will enjoy the journey with us.
Posts will also continue here as time and internet connections permit.
The last six weeks have been a trial. In February we sold our home of the last 32 years. We built it then to replace the home that my wife grew up in until we were married 44 years ago. Thirty two years of raising three sons and accumulating life’s possessions, plus those possessions that flowed out of the old house, have made the last few weeks difficult at times as decisions needed to be made on to what to keep and what to re-house elsewhere. Yesterday we left the house with just three small cartons to top-up and close. Our life is now housed in a storage facility awaiting rediscovery when we find a new home some time in the next year. Finding a view of the end over the last two weeks has been difficult, but yesterday it emerged.
In two weeks we leave for a three month holiday that will take us to China, Europe, the USA and Canada. Needless to say, we are really looking forward to the adventure. Just like the last few weeks, transmission over the next three months may be a bit patchy as we search for internet connections and time to update posts. Every attempt will be made to create a regular stream of posts and express views on what we discover.
If ever I am called to go to another town or city for pleasure of for business I try to get out for an early morning walk. For me, it’s the best time of the day. It’s the time before most people begin to move, and the time when the light is clear, the sun is still low, and the air is fresh.
It was on such a morning that I took my morning walk along the coastal walkway at New Plymouth in the Taranaki region of New Zealand. Taranaki occupies that area of the large western cape of the North Island of New Zealand. Its central feature is Mt Taranaki, a Fuji look-alike that dominates the landscape throughout the region. The coastal walkway stretches 11 km from the Port Taranaki, past the New Plymouth CBD, then on around the cliffs and beaches in a northerly direction. It’s popular with walkers, runners and cyclists.
On this particular morning there was a lovely piebald sky that added to the enjoyment of the walk.
I love street markets, no matter where in the world they are. Its the combinations of colors, activity and people that make them so fascinating. Here is a selection of images taken at the Matakana Market, a farmers’ market held during the summer at Matakana Village, an hour’s drive north of Auckland.
Well, that’s what the sign said! Clearly this wasn’t the case on the day of our visit to the Matakana Market. Perhaps the sign had been turned around?
How about some organic beans, or spray-free tomatoes? This is a farmers’ market afterall, and we have t cater for all tastes.
Baby Royal Gala apples as well, you know, the ones on the bike! Or is the man on the bike chasing the apple? But, I’ll take some special capsicums, please. And is that pumpkin $4, or is it Number 84?
Because I haven’t had much time lately to get out and photograph anything, because of packing our house full of belongings into a storage unit, so I have revisited my library of images to get inspiration for posts. The next few posts will contain images taken at the Matakana Market located about an hour’s drive north of Auckland. The farmers’ market runs on Saturdays through the summer months and attracts large numbers of visitors from Auckland and the surrounding district, especially from the holiday homes at the nearby beaches.
One of the features of the market is the small group of musicians who play there during the opening hours to entertain shoppers. Occasionally they leave their “stand” and wander through the market. Here are a couple of images of the market minstrels.