Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Last Day in Auckland

After visiting the Hunua Falls, we hurriedly went to the Auckland Botanic Gardens. Of course i am curious about the plants in temperate and subtropical climate. Besides, i know that it is very wide, we must hurry up to cover more grounds.

I don't normally ask photos of myself in my walks, but this time i felt it is a must. So an entrance shot with the name is obligatory, hmmm i uploaded it too! Sorry about this folks, now you already see me.

At the back of the administration building the lines of Pohotukawa trees are what will immediately attract the visitors' attention. They are what they call NZ Christmas trees because it flowers in time for Christmas. 

 Next are the vegetables and fruit trees gardens. I had more time taking close-up shots of the flowers that are not familiar to me. Above i am confused if this is blue salvia or lavender. Janneke provided me with the names of some. This one is Salvia uliginosa. 

L-R: foxgove, aloe


 Rows and rows of golden flowers that look like marigolds, but not marigolds. All the plants are labeled, but i don't have enough time to record them. According to Janneke this large patch are Achilleas

This is the first time for me to see clivia. I remember once a FB friend telling us it is not pronounced as kleee-vya, rather klay-vya, the namesake is her friend. Oh so this is not clivia? Janneke said it is Sisyrinchium striatum

this one i don't know too. Janneke said this is also an Achilea.

There are lots and lots of flowering ornamental plants, everything is beautiful, but we lack more time.  I guess it is their summer, so the plants are all blooming. Summer at the south of the Equator is opposite that of countries above. At the back far end of the ornamental gardens is the arboretum

another angle of the ornamental gardens with the arboretum at the back

Aside from the normal arboretum, there is also the Gondwana Arboretum. Gondwana is the prehistoric land mass before Asia, NZ and Australia divide into what they are now. The plants and trees there are samples of what was existing centuries and eons ago. 

 Another big area of the botanic gardens is devoted to endemic plants. Many of them are like these, seemingly very chaotic in arrangement, as if they are all stems without leaves. Or they look like prehistoric plants too. There is some truth in that because the species are very old. "The term "divaricating", indicating branching at a right angle, is used in New Zealand to describe the many species of small-leaved woody shrubs that have closely interlaced branches."

 another endemic fern

You will be surprised why i included the above here. Being in a tropical country like the Philippines, sad to say, or a shame to admit, i haven't seen an apple tree in real life. I have seen them very often in pictures, and have eaten a lot of fruits, but young fruits i've seen just now. I hope i will still have the experience of harvesting them. 

I have seen flowering apple and plum trees in Sweden and Turkey, but saw trees with immature fruits just here. I even touched the still rough fruits, saying "öh how i waited years just to touch you"!!!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Visited a Waterfalls in Auckland

On my last couple of days in Auckland, my sister's friends took their time to bring me to see some nature parks and the gardens. They learned i love plants and nature, so the first thing that they thought of is the Auckland Botanic Gardens. We only have one day to have a round of the gardens and everything touristy within their vicinity. So the first we visited is the Hunua waterfalls.

It was a pleasant half hour drive from our friend's house in Takanini, where we slept for 2 days. The roads are very nice on a circuitous path to the mountains. Hunua Falls is nestled deep in the Hunua Ranges, with a 30 meter plunge. We found a few cars and tourists already there ahead of us, some kids already swimming in the falls pool.

The angle at the approach from the car park

directly at the front of the falls near the pool edge 

There is a long bridge traversing the river where the water flows and we climbed that bridge, apparently it was made for tourists to see the falls in another angle. And yes, it was a spectacular sight to see its reflection on the water below it.

 A wide angle of the Hunua Falls and landscape taken at the middle of the bridge

Those bushes with white flowers are the Manuka trees, where the bees get the nectar to produce the Manuka honey, an expensive honey because it is believed to be medicinal.

 another angle of the river taken at the left side of the bridge

A very distinct structure while approaching the falls is this metal frame, purposely to frame the Hunua Falls. However, a lot of people are always roaming there masking the bottom of the falls, and we didn't have much time to wait for the space to clear. I was not able to take a photo of this for its real intention, so what we did was to climb it and take a touristy shot. The angle was not even made to show the falls more favorably. 

I am so happy i was able to see at least one waterfalls in Auckland, as i know there's a lot of falls in NZ. This nature photo capped my visit. 

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