• Above: The quaint Ohakune Railway Station which is still in use Left: On the old viaduct and appreciating the new one beyond

A Great Ride – A Ride in the Park

November 11th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

So it was that on a cool autumn day my wife and I headed to the centre of the North Island. We were conscious of an ex-tropical weather system that was bearing down on the region, threatening to thwart our plan. Our plan was to have an easy ride together on day one, riding the [...]

  • Bronze statue of a mare and her foal outside the Town Hall in Cambridge was unveiled in March 2004

Cambridge Connections

November 11th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Cambridge is way more than a one-horse town. As the centre of New Zealand’s equine industry, the Waikato town is surrounded by prosperous-looking stud farms, a number of training tracks and arenas, and the Cambridge raceway. There’s a life-size sculpture of a mare and foal outside the town hall, and the town’s pavements feature an [...]

  • Model ships trace the history of naval vessels

Torpedo Bay Navy Museum

November 11th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

Who knew that a string of mines once stretched across Auckland Harbour to protect the city from invasion? I certainly did not. This startling gem was just one of the facts imparted during the time it took to enjoy a cup of coffee with Jane Cotty, Communications Manager for the National Museum of the Royal [...]

  • Misty sunrise at Kawakawa

‘On Yer Bike’ – Northland Rail Trail Holiday

November 11th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

We’re just recreational riders knocking on in years, using everyday bikes and no fancy equipment, so we plan our rides accordingly, with daily stage lengths of 40km or less, and a relaxed timeframe that allows rest and sightseeing time en route. We use our campervan as home base for each night. It’s a two-berth Toyota [...]

Weekend in the Capital

September 10th, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

We are perched in a high-rise building with a glimpse of the sea. Through the binoculars I see people in the building across the way, with headphones on, talking – people in cubicles, staring at screens. I notice one of the computer screens looks like the colour of my tax return. That’s interesting. “We are [...]

  • Mission station house

Waimate North, Bay of Islands – Placed by an Enchanter’s Wand

September 10th, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

While returning to England from a trip to the Galapagos Islands in 1835, naturalist Charles Darwin – who had broken his journey at Paihia in the Bay of Islands – was invited to visit the Waimate North mission station by missionary William Williams. The property’s English-style rural landscape, laid out in the nature of a [...]

  • Devonport Museum is housed in a re-sited church building adjacent to Mount Cambria reserve off Vauxhall Road

Behind the Scenes at the Museum(s)

September 10th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

Behind every small museum across the country is an army of talented volunteers contributing to the national heritage through the protection and promotion of images, artefacts and taonga in their care. I was reminded of this when I visited two very different museums at Devonport recently: Devonport Historic Museum and Torpedo Bay Navy Museum. At [...]

  • Cornish pumphouse – a well-photographed building

Windows into Waihi

July 9th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

It takes about 2.5 hours to hike the steep mountain track to the summit of Mount Karangahake from the carpark. It took me a little more than that, sweating and grumbling, but the view from the peak was worth it, and at least I can now look up from the road and say I’ve been [...]

Last of the Summer Wine

July 8th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

It’s five days before the Mangonui waterfront festival, and there’s a hole in the road just north of the venue. Well, to be accurate, big tides have underscored the footpath and part of the road, and repairs are underway. Obviously, repairs to a tidal area are tide-dependent, especially when using heavy machinery, and it’s not [...]

  • Chemicals produce a vivid emerald sludge in the thermal stream

A Thermal Extravaganza

May 5th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , |

I’m standing on the café terrace at Waimangu Volcanic Valley looking over a steaming, seething, geothermal landscape under the menacing bulk of Mt Tarawera and might well be on an alien planet. Remarkably, before that fateful day of June 10, 1886 when Tarawera erupted, this entire scene comprised rolling hills softened by a gentle cloak of [...]