Monday, October 26, 2015

A Day in Historic Arrowtown 1

Post 1

Our four-day stay in Queenstown in the South Island, New Zealand  includes a free day where we can do whatever looks interesting. So the night before we already agreed to have a short distance bus ride to Arrowtown. It is very near the Arrow River where it got its name. It has a historic background as a gold mining area, and today has a thriving community for tourism. They developed the buildings and structures simulating that of old days, a living historic settlement, which greatly contribute to the beauty of the place. A small community very near the river surrounded by not so tall peaks make it a lovely charming tourist destination. A lot of things can also be done in moderate ways. For example there are several tracks or hiking trails that entail at least 30 min to 6 hours. There is a museum, a gallery, golf course, bars and restaurants, and of course shopping areas. Everything is contained in a small place, everything so close that can be reached by just walking.

I immediately feel the awe the moment i stepped down the bus. And we spent the whole day full of memories, wanting to one day return and try some more hiking tracks.

The museum presents authentic picture  of early Maori life in the Southern Lakes district,
 the conditions of the difficult pioneering days most specially during the gold rush 
era of the mid to late 1800s. The Information Center or 
Tourism Office is also housed here. 

 my sister and I inside the museum

the restaurant, where i had a wonderful lunch

the small place didn't deter it to make a lovely lush pocket garden outside

 because we are so contented in the area the food seem so delicious and special

the clam chowder is too big for my sister's tummy

another restaurant called The Stables, depicting the stables of olden days

clothing and decor store

The Post Office with a fruit stand in front. The generic names of the establishments
 add charm to everything.  The Restaurant, The Museum, The Clothing Store,
The Stables; aren't they cute?

After filling our eyes and our tummies, we sat on the ground and watched the birds.
 There are many species waiting for the pieces of bread we shared from inside our bags.
 All of us were happy. 

Please tune-in for the escapade after feeding the birds.

Nature Notes

Our World Tuesday

Outdoor Wednesday

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Day in Waiheke Island

One Sunday after a few days of my arrival as a tourist in New Zealand, we ventured to visit Waiheke Island, a famous tourist island 17.7 km from Auckland. It is the most accessible island in that gulf with regular ferries coming to and from Auckland. It is also considered the 3rd most populated island in New Zealand next to the North and South Islands, with population of 93 people per square kilometer. There's a lot of activities we can do there, circle the island, visit the vineyards and winetasting, do swimming at Palm Beach, the museum, a lot of trekking paths, etc.

We purchased an online early bookings to cover more grounds, but we haven't decided yet the activities to do the whole day when we get there. I know one sure thing for myself, i will take a lot of photos. We decided when we got there, at least we got a pass for the Get On-get Off bus. We can ride anywhere and stop anywhere to, that was real fun. However, the first thing we did was to follow a trek path, the signs and arrows are so tourist friendly that we ventured into one comfortably.

Note: if you have Hover Application just mouse over the photos to enlarge them for a better view. 

 Auckland and the Sky Tower when we were leaving for Waiheke Island

The roof deck of the boat is full of tourists, the lower deck is full as well. Many change locations from both decks hoping to see better views.

There are a few islands on both sides on the way there. This is just one of them, with a small private yacht going to the island too.

This is the beautiful and colorful vegetation of the island as we are fast approaching. 

 the port at Waiheke Island, Matiatia, always teeming with tourists

 Lugging our backpacks with food, water, and a change of clothes we immediately see this signs. It looks so friendly and helpful, so we chose the middle sign "Coastal Walk with Views". We specifically noticed the particular mention for Kauri, an endemic species that they really want to grow and multiply. It is said that it grows very slowly, so focused maintenance is a must.

This is a bridge we passed through at the early part of our walk. This is to the right facing the island. We don't know what to see along this trek, but it promised "with views". That is good enough for us. Those red flowers are the pohotukawa trees, the NZ Christmas trees endemic to NZ.

 There are low bushes, grasses and then these tall but small trees. It was a bit hot and humid, but being from the hot and tropical climate of the Philippines, these conditions here in Waiheke is much better, colder.

 We saw lots of birds, flowers, different unusual plants and a lot more. But i didn't see any reptile or lizard at all, not even insects. Maybe we were just so engrossed with the unfamiliar plants that we didn't focus on the insects. Oh but yes, we saw a few forest butterflies.


 blooming wild carrots or Queen Anne's Lace

wild carrot buds before blooming

i don't know this

 a very prolific cactus at the beach

 Pohotukawa are found anywhere, because it is a protected endemic species. 

 After coming out of the forest, we walked throught the streets and entered a local museum. These Maori-sculpted posts are part of the museum and planted outside.

 The two beaches at Palm Beach

We would still want to take another leg in the bus to another area, but it is already 4 oçlock in the afternoon. We would like to return home earlier so we can still rest longer that night, my sister still has to work the following day. 

It was a day very well spent. I just noticed my tired feet and legs when already in the boat going back to Auckland. This time i am not looking at the outside islands anymore; i now have time people watching, more specifically tourist watching! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Tourist's Afternoon Walk at Albert Park

Albert Park is the most accessible park near central Auckland. Its location at the heart of the Central Business District, its long history and distinctive character made it an important destination for visitors. It is reached through many routes from the Queen Street. While my sister was attending their office Christmas Party near Queen St, i allowed myself to wander at this park. I approached via the Wellesly Street East to Bowen Ave and Kitchener St. Here is the Auckland Art Gallery, which i didn't enter because it is about to close, and i need half day at the least to appreciate the things inside. This route leads to a steep, wide cemented stairway then through native trees to the large flat area at the summit, where formal layout of paths and flower gardens encircle a fountain, Albert Park.

The Physical Structures

one of the oldest trees planted in this area

 the Clock Tower of the old Government House, now the University of Auckland

 the Sky Tower is very visible from Albert Park


 The Auckland Art Gallery
the front of the Auckland Art Gallery, where there was light show display that week

Auckland Art Gallery is located next to Auckland University and shares its outdoor space with Albert Park. 

Plants and Flowers

I was so thrilled with the numerous flowering plants in this park. It provides wonderful subjects to plant photography hobbyists like me. I didn't stop shooting until it is already dusk and time for me to leave. The plants though are not labeled, so i have to content myself with their beauty. They are all temperate plants, and i am only familiar with very few of them. A lot are the blues and the violets, the colors of most temperate climes, in contrast with the tropics for having mostly the warm colors. If only i have a few more days, i will surely be entertained and not get bored by these plants at Albert Park.

 bed of yellow dahlia

                                                         another bed of orange dahlia

 dahlia, aren't those leaves amazing

i don't know this

 violet salvia

butterfly bush

I wish i will know every species i found here. I have the personal inclination or attraction to the blues and violets. Probably, that is because of its lack in numbers here in the tropics. We have a few, but really very few. There are lots more flowers and plants in the park, i just cannot put them all there. 

I didn't also put wide angle shots, as they are very much available also in the internet. I placed here just what really thrilled my, and those that attracted me the most. 

I hope some of my commenters will tell me the identities of these plants. Thank you so much.

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