Perfection on the TranzAlpine

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

The conversation behind me made my Kiwi heart swell with pride, especially when I detected the broad Aussie accents of the middle-aged couple. “I never expected the trip to be quite so spectacular,” the woman said. “Bloody bonzer,” was the reply from her husband. We were disembarking from the TranzAlpine train in Greymouth after a [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • The historic gold-mining ghost town of Macetown, 15km from Arrowtown, Otago, New Zealand. Autumn turns the poplar trees to gold. Picture by Mike Langford

Walking to Macetown

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

The walk up the Arrow River to the gold-mining ghost town of Macetown was a much-loved summer pilgrimage in my youth when we had a holiday cottage in Arrowtown. Macetown was first settled in the early 1860s as a result of the discovery of gold in the Arrow River. At first the rush was for [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • It’s no wonder Tour Aotearoa riders found the Von a real highlight

A Great Ride – Coming Around the Mountains

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

Can there be a better start to a trail than farewelling the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ and plying across a pristine lake on a 100-year-old steamship, with a backdrop of the most remarkable mountains? Well if there is, I want to find it! Leaving Queenstown (or should that be ‘Queenopolis’ given the recent population [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • Narrow entrance to Constant Bay

Tales of Long Ago and a Hidden Valley on the West Coast

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

Plenty of people have drowned here.” Mickey Ryan of Outwest Tours was showing us Constant Bay, a small rocky bay where a huge sea crashes on the rocks beyond its extremely narrow entrance. Constant Bay, west of Charleston near Westport, is named after the first ship to enter its small confines. Charleston, where gold was [...]

  • The famous Bluff signpost

Race track RV Roadie

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

Howden Ganley is a Kiwi, an ex-Formula One and Formula 5000 motor racing driver of some repute, and is also a regular contributor to NZ Classic Driver magazine. Howden joined the RV movement when on holiday in New Zealand recently, travelling from Auckland to Invercargill on his first RV tour of New Zealand, weaving between [...]

  • 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 [...]