Antipodean Antics

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Where I stayed
Beverley and Richards

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, February 10, 2011

From Puerto Vallarta we flew to Los Angeles with Alaska Air to take the Air New Zealand flight to Auckland. We only had one full day in LA and so we wandered down to the nearest beach, Redondo Beach and Marina. As it is out of season everything was very quiet but we had a tasty fish and chip lunch on the pier. We realised that in LA without a car and phone (ours doesn't work in the US) it was difficult to function. The bus took us to the beach and back with one change each way but they were infrequent, although very cheap. Nearly everyone using the buses was black or hispanic, so it seems that only poorer people use them. The boardwalk by the marina is interesting with huge numbers of live crabs and lobsters for sale.


The flight to Auckland was uneventful but long, 12 hours of sea, and nothing but sea. Disconcerting to see nothing but blue on the flight map for that length of time. Richard was there to meet us and drive us to his home in Hamilton, where he and Beverley have put up with us since. It is a luxury to be in such a comfortable home after our travels, complete with (to Jim's delight) hot showers!


Richard and Beverley live on what is called in New Zealand, a lifestyle section. This is a piece of land big enough to be more or less self sufficient. They have a vegetable garden, fruit trees, chickens, ducks, a bee hive and 16 beef cattle as well as both having full time jobs. One cow is due to calf shortly and when I spotted a small calf (well it looked very small to me) I thought the new arrival had made an appearance, until I realised that they are not born with a yellow tag in their ears. We are still awaiting for the birth.


There were some unexpected arrivals, 2 ducks have each produced 3 ducklings each. Two wild ducks had taken up residence with the domestic ones so they were taken to a pond and released to join their relatives.


Hamilton is in the Waikato region, a farming area. The town has a river running through the centre with lakes, so plenty of attractive walks as well as Hamilton Gardens, where Beverley and I called in to look at a Dahlia show.


For the last 3 days Jim and I took a trip up to the Bay of Islands. We went there 3 years ago when we visited but did not get chance to see Russell which was the capital at one time. In the 1800's it was called the “Hell hole of the Pacific” as ships called in for provisions and sailors celebrated being on land. Now it is as genteel as it is possible to imagine and the idea of it being a hell hole as likely as Miss Marple running a brothel.


The whole area is covered with bays and estuaries where people sail, swim, fish and generally potter around the water. I could happily live here apart from one thing – the ground seems to consist of sand covered with vegetation. In many places on the road there are landslips or washouts as they are called here. Then, above the landslips, there are hills with houses on them. I would feel very insecure living up there.


The next few weeks are going to be busy as we are going to the Art Deco Festival in Napier, down to Wellington and then to criss cross the south Island. Not sure if we will be able to go online so the next blog might be some time.
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Comments

Aranza on

It seems a very nice place. The weather also seems beatiful.
Glad you are having such a nice time!

Love
Aranza

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